By Capt. Steve--
The mission of the 277 SSX is to combine luxury features with sportboat handling. With a wide assortment of upscale features and innovations we think the 277 SSX makes an excellent day boat for entertaining large groups of people, with bragging rights included. Perhaps equally as important, she simply looks cool.
Dual Sole Storage Compartments.
There's no shortage of storage on the 277 SSX and one example of how well Chaparral utilizes available space is by having two sole storage compartments… the usual in between the helm and observer bucket seats, and a second one at the bow.•
Storage within Storage.
The sole storage compartment in the cockpit is not only deep, but also offers drawers to either side that are large enough to accommodate the standard cockpit table.•
Unusual Seating Arrangement.
Bench seats ahead of stern quarters seats form U-shaped seating. The starboard seat is inserted as a module and can be removed to accommodate an optional wet bar.•
Extended V-Plane Running Surface.
This extends the running surface well out past the outdrive collar and our tests have shown that this not only provides improved planing times, but lower planing speeds.•
This carries the beam well forward providing more room to the bow while keeping the seats farther apart.
The Chaparral 277 SSX has a LOA of 27'6" (8.38 m), a beam of 9' (2.74 m) and a draft of 39” (99 cm). With an empty weight of 6,500 lbs (2948 kg), 105 gallons (397 L) of fuel and two people on board we had a test weight of 7,550 lbs (3425 kg).
With the 380-hp MerCruiser 8.2 MAG engine turning a B-III outdrive we reached a top speed at 4940 rpm of 50 mph. At that speed fuel burn was 33.95 gph giving us a range of 139 miles. Best cruise came in at 3000 rpm and 25.8 mph. That reduced the fuel burn to 10.55 gph which the 270 SSX could keep up for 9 hours and 231 miles while still maintaining a 10% reserve. We had a time to plane of 4 seconds, reached 20 mph in 6.1 seconds and accelerated through 30 mph in 9.7 seconds.
The 277 SSX really is an excellent boat to drive. Once on plane just a couple of shots of up trim will move the spray back to the stern quarters and you'll feel a boost in speed. Additional trim will cause the propellers to ventilate. She has a very stable ride and solid feel to her handling and in turns she showed no signs of falling off the turn or chine walking. When taking off speed she settles back into the water stern first with no loss of visibility to the horizon.
Standard Equipment We Like
The Chaparral 277 SSX has a number of important amenities and features that are sometimes included in boats of this class and sometimes not. Here is my list of noteworthy items--*Solid surface counter top in the head with sink and pull-put sprayer and pressure water.*The cockpit is self-bailing which means rainwater will not sink the boat. So, let her sit on a mooring and don't worry.*Cockpit table with side mound both fore and aft*Emergency engine shut-down plunger at the helm*Real walnut wood panels at the helm*100% Perma Panel Marine coring -- lifetime warranty*Dual battery set-up with crossover switch. Every boat should have two batteries and the boat is ready for the second one.*Electric engine compartment hatch*Emergency jump start system*Hull band available in four standard colors
Let's face it, if sportboats don't look cool on the water and are strictly utilitarian they just don't cut the mustard with most people willing to part with $100k or more. It is here that Chaparral has excelled for years -- exterior styling. The folks at Chaparral have a refined eye when it comes to sportboats, and the 277 SSX is no exception.
In addition to the bow overhang, the rake of the windshield, and the ratio of the boat's length to its freeboard height the 277 has a few other important details: *
, is the rounded reverse transom that is at once classic and modern; *
, are the vessel's three signature engine room air vents that hark back to classic cars of the 1920s and '30s, on cars like the Dusenberg, Cord, Packard and others. *
are two stainless steel exhaust vents tucked under leading edge of the swim platform in the stern quarters; *
, is what Chaparral calls its "powerline" hull contours. This molded-in flourish reflects light and makes the freeboard appear lower than it actually is. It can be outlined in a contrasting color as an option. *
, I like the proud engine boxes in the stern that actually extend beyond the sloping transom. This has a retro look and permits a center walkthough design which I find a welcome relief from the starboard, asymmetrical of virtually every other sportboat on the market. The fact is that here is storage on the top of these boxes and Chaparral's design could have lowered them had they chosen to do so.
Designed for Big Water.
This is a 27' which makes her one of the larger bowriders on the market. As such she is appropriate for both freshwater and saltwater applications. Her relatively high freeboard helps keep occupants dry and her 22.5-degree deadrise at the transom will make the ride almost as smooth as possible in a rough chop at speed.
The full beam swim platform comes out 2’7” (.78 m) from the transom and our test boat featured the optional logo mat in the center of the platform. A stainless grab handle makes a convenient place to hold onto while waiting your turn at the four-step reboarding ladder. The platform also features storage to the port side, a hot/cold transom shower ($405) and the stereo remote ($315) with two aft facing speakers. Pull-up cleats are in the corner of the platform as well as just outside the caprails.
There are two large pads just aft of the cockpit that allow for sunning and relaxing. The cushions open gull wing style to reveal storage underneath. The port cushion also accommodates a flip out filler cushion that joins the two to create a single sun pad measuring 35" x 6' 9” (88.9 cm x 2.06 m). A 13” (33 cm) wide walkthrough allows access to the cockpit, which is a 12” (30.5 cm) step down.
A switch at the helm activates the electric lift hatch raising the aft seats to expose the engine compartment. The installation is quite roomy allowing for access to all three sides of the engine with room to spare.
Chaparral has gone with the EPA compliant aluminum fuel tank with diurnal vent filters. Batteries and holding tank are located on the port hand side. The optional automatic fire extinguisher system ($638) was mounted to starboard. Our test boat was also fitted with a Quick and Quiet thru-hull exhaust ($3,832).
The cockpit of the 277 SSX features dual bench seats measuring 21" x 3' 10” (53.4 cm x 1.17 m) to either side creating opposing seating and a comfortable conversational atmosphere. The benches are 3'6" (1.07 m) apart and are just ahead of wraparound corner seats so they double as add-ons to the aft loungers.
A side-mount pedestal base will accommodate the standard cockpit table. Under the starboard seat are the battery switches and an optional water toy inflator ($120). The seat cushion is held open with articulating hinges. Open storage is under the port seat.
Our test boat was fitted with the optional arch tower. It's fabricated from aluminum, includes a color-coordinated Bimini top and three color LED lights. However, these LED lights have an interesting twist. The switch at the dash cycles them through red, white and blue. An alternate switch position will cycle through them automatically, and continually. And after selecting the color, holding the switch will dim the lights.
The helm is efficient with a SmartCraft gauge to port and a three-in-1 gauge to starboard. Between the two is a space that can be occupied by either the optional Garmin 720 GPS or a multifunction display with cruise, speed control, GPS speed, and preloaded maps for the chartplotter.
The bucket seats have a clever set of adjustment controls right next to the legs where they belong. They are in clear sight and clearly labeled which requires no hunting around under the seats for hidden controls. Why we don't see something like this for more manufacturers is a mystery. Trim tabs are offered as an option ($1,146), but I found no need for them on my test.
Between the captain and observer seats is a sole storage compartment measuring 6'5" (1.96 m) fore and aft and 2’ (.6 m) deep. The hatch is hinged from the front making it accessible from either side. A gas assist strut holds the hatch in the open position. The opening is guttered all the way around and drains overboard. Padding is under the hatch and at the bottom of the compartment.
The most notable aspect of the sole storage compartment is the addition of drawers to either side of the compartment just under the deck. They are large enough to accommodate the standard cockpit table and represent a remarkably clever use of space that I expect we will be seeing from other manufacturers.
The port console is a dark tone to minimalize glare from the windshield. The top of the panel is a basket-weave vinyl, double stitched and the glove box is deep with aluminum backed door.
Inside the console is a head compartment, completely fiberglass lined and offering 3'11" (1.19 m) of headroom. To port is a solid surface counter with sink and pullout sprayer mounted above the storage cabinet. An opening portlight provides ventilation. The Porta-Potti is standard, and options include a pump out Porta-Potti ($351), a VacuFlush system ($1,503) and a VacuFlush system with macerator ($2,294).
The walkthrough windshield is held in the open position by a magnetic catch. A door, which also serves as an air dam below the windshield, lies flush against the helm console. When open, an access door to the console storage is revealed with the stereo just above. Note that there is a second door to protect gear below the console with the air dam actuated.
Thanks to the Wide-Tech bow design, which carries the beam so far forward, the 277 SSX has one of the roomiest bows I've seen with 2'3" (.68 m) distance between the seats. The seats are nicely contoured with flip up armrests. A removable cushion to starboard turns the lounge into a forward facing seat and exposes the side mount pedestal base for the cocktail table. There's storage under the two side seats, insulated cooler under the forward cushion and here, there is a second sole storage in the deck -- the first boat I've seen with this storage. Optional filler cushions ($855) turn the bow into a sun pad.
Fully forward there is a hatch concealing the optional windlass with the anchor mounted through the stem. The hatch is held open by a gas struts. To the right are two switches for controlling the windlass and pull up cleats are to either side. There's a small space next to the windlass to allow access underneath for managing tangles. I'd like to see a cleat underneath this hatch for securing the anchor rode. At the stem is a stainless steel plate that flips over to reveal the combined nav light.
The Chaparral 277 SSX has a base price of $119,712 when packaged with the 380-hp catalyzed 8.2 L MAG engine. Seven other power options are available up to 430-hp with the price topping out at $164,849 with a Mercury 8.2L 525-hp engine. A well-equipped boat with the Volvo Penta V8-380 will run at $117,309.A Premium Package upgrade ($432) includes docking lights, a pair of pull up cleats for the swim platform and a bow scuff plate. Snap-in carpet is available ($792). Underwater lights are always a cool feature to add ($1,200).
I think the Chaparral 277 SSX is an exceedingly well-executed boat where the builder has thought of most everything needed plus baked-in a number of amenities. I should point out that a Volvo Penta 6.0L 380-hp V8 is also available for $117,309. All engine options have dual props.Regular readers know I like colored hulls and the wide band with color is standard. A liquid silver graphic accent in the molded-on relief only costs $1,146 more. That is less than 1% of the cost of the boat, but makes her look like a $1 million. I'd say go for it!
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Chaparral 277 SSX (2013-) is 50.0 mph (80.5 kph), burning 33.95 gallons per hour (gph) or 128.5 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Chaparral 277 SSX (2013-) is 25.8 mph (41.5 kph), and the boat gets 2.45 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.04 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 231 miles (371.76 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 380-hp MerCruiser 8.2 MAG.
Standard and Optional Features
|Carpet: Cockpit||Optional snap-in|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
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