Captain's ReportFamily Deckboat with Room for TwelveBy Capt. Bob SmithThe 215 I/O is a new sterndrive offering from Tahoe. This deckboat is not the company’s largest model, but it certainly has the type of room usually reserved for larger sportboats. The 215 I/O is a family-fun boat ready for an array of water activities, as it can handle 12 passengers plus all the gear they’ve brought aboard. Bow Fishing PlatformThe non-skid bow has many convenient fishing features and this model is even pre-wired for an optional trolling motor. This deck is huge, with two fishing seat bases located on the bow, and an anchor locker between them. Inside the locker, the anchor rests vertically with keepers to firmly hold a Danforth-style anchor in place. The stainless steel anchor cleat is pop-up style creating a smooth surface when not in use. Over on the starboard corner is a handy concealed beach boarding ladder, which really is a cinch to deploy. Stepping into the bow seating area, the step is actually an aerated livewell so the bait is close to the fishing crew. Bow SeatingThe bow has two large bench seats to comfortably accommodate several adults. Beneath the seats is plenty of room to store large gear and anything you want out of the way. With a family on board, you’ll need privacy to change, so Tahoe has incorporated a handy pop-up changing room in the sole of the boat, which virtually takes seconds to set up, and tucks out of the way when not needed. There is also a second hatch in the sole, which is large enough to stash skis, wakeboards, and even the optional trolling motor. While it’s simple to slip the boards in, the lid could be a bit larger to easily accommodate items like a trolling motor without too much maneuvering. Storage and Wet BarTo port is a handy refreshment center with drinkholders, and a sink with pull- out sprayer. With the sink cover closed, you’ve got a good area to set up the snacks or beverages. A removable table can be placed here, and it easily stores below the wraparound bench seat in the aft cockpit. Below the port side bench seat are dedicated posts for the fishing seats to be stored, clips for the seat posts, and the table leg. The fire extinguisher is also mounted in here. I really appreciate the fact that Tahoe created a space to hold the fishing seats so that they don’t bounce around, or get torn up in a locker. Below the L-shaped aft bench seat is a carry-on cooler. Beneath the starboard cushion of the wraparound bench is a removable garbage pail, which comes in handy especially with kids aboard. The engine cover doubles as a small space to relax in the sun, and the hatch lifts easily on twin pneumatic shocks for good access to the engine package.At the Helm The standard helm seat is an adjustable bucket seat with swivel and flip-up bolster. The low profile smoked Plexiglass windshield provides some protection to the driver. The dash and wheel have simulated burlwood accents that really dress up the dash, and it’s complete with analog gauges and a digital Lowrance Depthfinder across the top. Another great feature is the rod holder for three rods which is conveniently stored in the side of the boat, just next to the helm chair.Stern FeaturesWhere the bow is packed with fishing features, the stern is designed for watersports. Back here is the standard color-matched Bimini top great for getting out of the sun. Just past the step-through transom door is a wide walkway leading to the spacious aft swim platform. Over on the starboard side is a concealed ladder with two very sturdy handles, so just about anyone can pull themselves aboard after a swim. Located in the center of the transom is a stainless steel ski tow ring to pull your water toys, and located on the port side is another base for a fishing seat. There is handy locker in the deck of the swim platform to stow away ski tow ropes. What’s neat is that it can double as a swim platform cooler. Why not? Swimmers get thirsty too. SpecificationsThis new model measures 21’6” length overall on a trailerable 102” beam. She weighed in at approximately 3,425 pounds dry without the engine, and carries 45 gallons of fuel. The 215 is loaded with standard features, but there are still upgrades you can add on, like a wakeboard tower, or tower with racks. I can imagine the kids will love it with a tower. Other popular options will likely be the tandem trailer package, snap-in carpet, bow filler cushion, and trolling motor.Performance and Test RideI tested this model late in the day with minimal chop and a full tank. I was satisfied with the handling throughout the test run. The boat was able to cut ski-style turns without effort, and pick-up was right on. I was initially concerned about the 4.3L engine not being enough power for this boat, but it proved to be plenty of power with a plane time of 3.9 seconds and 0-30 mph time of only 8.1 seconds. If you really like skiing, I can only imagine how this model will perform with the optional 260-hp package. The 215 I/O cruised most economically around 3000 rpm doing 26 mph, which will give you a full tank range of 180 miles at this speed. At top end she topped out at 48.5mph turning 4800 rpm and giving us a range of around 122 miles. If you have a large family or like to take a lot of friends out for skiing and fishing enjoyment, the 215 I/O is a sharp choice with its roominess, amenities, and truly family-oriented design.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Tahoe 215 I/O (2006-) is 48.5 mph (78.1 kph), burning 16.1 gallons per hour (gph) or 60.94 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Tahoe 215 I/O (2006-) is 26.0 mph (41.8 kph), and the boat gets 4.44 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.89 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 180 miles (289.68 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 190-hp MerCruiser 4.3L Sterndrive.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|