Chaparral 224 Sunesta (2013-)
(w/ 1 x 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0 L MPI Catalyst)

Text Size: AAA
There are deckboats, and there are bowriders, and Chaparral's 224 Sunesta blurs the line somewhat between the two. Her Wide Tech bow has a pickle-fork design which creates more room forward, but beneath the rail there is much more freeboard than found on the typical deckboat, and she's all V-bottom with an 18-degree deadrise at the transom. There is no need to question her watersports abilities as can be seen in the image above -- her stern is open and ready for action.

Key Features

  • Dura-Flex suspension pedestal seats with flip-up bolster
  • Premium vinyl cockpit upholstery with nano-block technology
  • U-slide platform seat with lounge position
  • Wetbar with solid surface countertop, sink, trash receptacle and storage below
  • Wraparound aluminum walk-through windshield
  • Accessory panels with illuminated switches and water resistant DC breakers
  • Custom molded dash
  • Bow stainless steel four-step boarding ladder, concealed under hatch
  • Integral swim platform
  • Color-coordinated Bimini top with windscreen and logo boot

Specifications

Chaparral 224 Sunesta (2013-) Specifications
Length Overall 22' 4''
6.81 m
Dry Weight 4,000 lbs.
1,814 kg
Beam 8' 6''
2.59 m
Tested Weight 4,600 lbs.
2,087 kg
Draft 35''
89 cm
Fuel Cap 49 gal.
185 L
Deadrise/Transom 18 deg. Water Cap 10 gal.
38 L
Max Headroom open Bridge Clearance 9' 5''
2.90 m (with tower)
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.

Engine Options

Chaparral 224 Sunesta (2013-) Engine options
Std. Power Not Available
Tested Power 1 x 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0 L MPI Catalyst
Opt. Power 1 x 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0 L MPI Catalyst

Chaparral 224 Sunesta (2013-) Captain's Report

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

The Chaparral 224 Sunesta is built on the same hull as Chaparral's Pro-level Xtreme towboats.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Chaparral 224 Sunesta is to create a bowrider with the agility and ride of a sportboat and the spaciousness of a deckboat. She might be considered entry level by some people because of her size, but not in terms of features, which are numerous.

Chaparral 224 Sunesta floor plan

Chaparral 224 Sunesta floor plan.

Distinguishing Features

Wide Tech Bow. This adds roominess to the bow, comparable to a deckboat, while still keeping the hull of a sportboat which is drier and more comfortable than many deckboats.

Solid Forward Bimini Supports. This is a feature we've never seen before, as virtually all Bimini tops are supported at their forward ends by straps. Straps can be problematic and the solid stainless steel brace has an added advantage of supporting an optional isinglass windscreen. See below. And the Bimini top itself is standard.

Water channels. Ever hose down the boat at the end of the day only to have water collect under the cushions? So have we, but not so on the 224 Sunesta. There are molded channels under the cushions that route water away from them. This not only eliminates mold and mildew, it also keeps the boat cleaner.

Head Doorstop. Too often we've seen port console doors that slam into the starboard console when opening. Typically a rubber bumper is used to prevent this from doing any damage, but it gets knocked off after the first month. On the 224 Sunesta the hinges have a built-in stop to prevent the door from hitting any obstruction.

Extended V-Plane Running Surface. This extends the running surface well past the outdrive collar and our tests have shown pretty conclusively that this design provides quicker times to plane, and lower planing speeds. It may also reduce bow rise on take off by several degrees.

Kevlar Re-enforced Keel. Chaparral is one of the few builders which protects its boats' keels with a strip of Kevlar in the keel laminate.

Choice of Interior Colors. The 224 Sunesta comes with a choice of black, blue, red, or yellow interior packages.

Port and Starboard Fuel Fills. This feature reminds us of the classic Jaguar sedan built in the 1960s and '70s that had saddle tanks and port and starboard fuel caps. But Chaparral has done the old car company one better by having both fuel fills drain into a single tank. Skippers can tie up to either side and fill up.

Other Major Features

Enclosed Head. This is typically a feature that isn't seen until we start getting into the 24’ (7.3 m) range and above.

Cockpit Wet Bar. Another feature that usually doesn't get utilized until the design gets larger.

Aft Seats Convert Easily to Sun Pad. The front/back seating at the stern easily converts to a sun pad, which is not unusual nowadays. What is unusual is how easily these seats make the transition between the two.

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

The docking lights and bow scuff plate are part of the optional Premium Package that also includes pull-up cleats and stainless steel speaker covers.

Recommended Options

Since every boat owner has a slightly different mission in mind, Chaparral has wisely installed as standard all of the equipment needed without including things that not everyone will need. Two items that are not "needed" until they are needed are: 1) a second battery with a crossover switch; and, 2) an automatic engine room fire extinguishing system. We would make sure these two systems are on any boat we buy.

Other optional gear depends on one's intended use. We recommend that buyers consider the isinglass windscreen package that neatly fits onto the solid braces for the standard Bimini top. We very much like this set-up as it extends the use of the boat into the shoulder seasons as well as when a summer shower is passing over.

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

While catching some air, the full length lifting strakes can easily be seen. Notice how the bow transitions from a pickle-fork to a full V-bow.

Owners wishing to entertain aboard should think about the table with side mount bases that can be used in the bow or the main cockpit. A gas grill can be mounted on the stern. Everyone should also consider the pump out Porta-Potti with opening portlight.

Those using the boat for towing sports should consider the bow and stern shower (pressure water is standard) and the wakeboard tower.

Specifications

Our Chaparral 224 Sunesta had a LOA of 22'4" (6.81 m), a beam of 8'6" (2.59 m) and a draft of 20” (51 cm). With an empty weight of 4,000 lbs. (1,814 kg), 30 gallons (113.6 L) of fuel and two people on board we had a test weight of 4,600 lbs (2,087 kg). She holds 10 gallons (38 L) of water and total fuel capacity is 49 gallons (185 L). She is designed to hold 12 persons or 1,750 lbs. (794 kg).

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

Notice how the bowrise has no effect on visibility during acceleration.

Performance

With a 260-hp catalyzed MerCruiser 5.0 L MPI engine turning a 17'' pitch Mercury Enertia prop, we reached a top speed at 5120 RPM of 46.9 mph. At that speed fuel burn was 23.2 GPH giving us a range of 89 miles. Best cruise came in at 3000 RPM and 23.4 mph. That reduced the fuel burn to only 6.1 GPH which the 224 Sunesta could keep up for seven hours and 18 minutes and 169 miles while still maintaining a 10% reserve.

Thanks to the extended V-Plane hull, we had a quick time to plane of only 3.8 seconds. We accelerated to 20 mph in 6.6 seconds and continued accelerating through 30 mph in 9.5 seconds. Click on the "Test Results" tab at the top of the page for all of the testing details.

Handling

With a 16-degree bow rise on acceleration, the 224 Sunesta causes no loss of visibility to the horizon. Visibility is also good through the windshield from both the cruise and no-wake speeds. Bringing the outdrive trim to the ¼ mark on the gauge will get her into a 5-degree bow high attitude where she runs best. Any further trim will produce operator induced oscillation. Also, the prop will ventilate if anything other than a slight turn is initiated so be sure to bring the trim back down before turning hard. When taking power off, she’ll settle back into the water stern first, again with no loss of visibility ahead of the bow.

Turns are an area where I have sometimes found cause to pick on Chaparral boats, but not so with the 224 Sunesta. She turned as if on rails and showed no signs of chine walk or tendency to fall off the turn. With 2-½ turns from lock-to-lock, she’s quite responsive to the helm. Even with the 5.0L engine she was agile and showed the signs of an excellent watersports platform for the family. All in all she’s a pleasure to operate and comfortable to be in.

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

The Chaparral 224 Sunesta leans 14-degrees into the turn and remains very comfortable throughout.

Optional Power

Chaparral makes several engines available for the 224 from both MerCruiser and Volvo Penta. Those options range from a 225-hp Volvo Penta 5.0 L engine to a 320-hp 6.2 L engine from MerCruiser and a 320-hp 5.7 L engine from Volvo Penta. We tested the boat with a 260-hp 5.0 L MerCruiser, but a 270-hp 5.0 L engine is also available from Volvo Penta.

Features Inspection

Swim Platform

The full beam swim platform comes out 2’ (.6 m) from the transom. In the center of the transom is a stainless grab handle with the tow point in the middle. To the port side is the optional stereo remote that is integrated with the transom trim switch ($1,377, with Preferred Package). Just above is the optional transom shower ($405).

Fuel fills are to both port and starboard. There's an option for adding a swim platform logo mat ($338). To the starboard side is a recessed three-step reboarding ladder. Two pull-up cleats are in the corners of the swim platform as part of the Preferred Package upgrade ($1,377).

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

The swim platform is laid out for watersports activities or just relaxing. Notice how Chaparral integrates the stereo remote into a panel with the transom trim switch.

Back-To-Back Seats

There is an aft-facing rumble seat at the swim platform measuring 2'11" (.9 m) wide that makes an excellent spot to relax at any time the 224 Sunesta is not underway. It is a back-to-back seat, lined up against a forward facing seat in the cockpit. As we've come to expect, the seats convert to a sun pad but Chaparral has an interesting take on how this setup works. Simply pulling forward on the seat causes the two to lie flat. So far nothing new… but lift the strap in the center and gas assist struts take over to effortlessly and automatically return the sun pad to back-to-back seating. It's a very clever setup. Lift the forward seat and it turns into a chaise lounge.

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

Back-to-back seats are not a new feature on bowriders, but the way Chaparral’s function is definitely clever.

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

The back-to-back seats lie down to form a sun pad and also lift into the lounge position.

Cockpit

The cockpit is down a 10” (25.4 cm) step through a walkthrough measuring 14” (35.6 cm) wide. There is a white acrylic gate framed in stainless steel, and I'd like to see the gate be see-through so that the view of the swim platform isn't blocked from the helm. The deck on our test boat was fitted with the optional snap-in carpet ($672).

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

The roomy cockpit even includes a standard refreshment center to the starboard side. Notice the steps leading up to the nonskid caprail.

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

The refreshment center is standard and includes a sink and trash receptacle with storage underneath.

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

Inside the refreshment center is an optional air inflator ($132) and the battery switch.

Wet Bar. To the starboard side is a standard refreshment center with a single basin sink recessed into the hard surface counter. A pullout sprayer adds convenience. A trash receptacle is next to the sink. Below is a stainless grab handle and a door leading to the storage inside that includes a mount for the optional water toy inflator ($132) and the battery switch. Just behind the refreshment center is a step leading to the nonskid caprail for boarding the 224 Sunesta from a fixed pier.

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

Add a side-mount pedestal table ($417) for added functionality to the cockpit.

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

A 25 quart (23.6 L) cooler is under the L-shaped seating in the cockpit.

L-shaped seating is to port with storage under the corner seat and a standard 25 quart (23.6 L) cooler under the forward seat. A side-mount pedestal base will accommodate the optional pedestal table ($417) with a second base located at the bow.

Engine Compartment

The engine compartment is accessed by pulling a stainless steel grab handle to lift the aft seat. Two gas assist struts support the hatch in the open position. The installation was tight but still roomy enough to allow for servicing the engine and certainly for daily engine checks. Access to the cockpit remains open with the hatch lifted. While looking inside I noticed that Chaparral has gone to aluminum fuel tanks with a diurnal venting system to prevent fumes from entering the atmosphere.

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

Our test boat was fitted with a 260-hp catalyzed MerCruiser 5.0 L MPI engine turning a 17'' pitch Mercury Enertia prop.

Optional dual batteries ($431) are over to the port side. While secured properly they were missing terminal covers. Deck drains lead into the bilge, but on all models after this one, the drains will lead directly overboard. This means owners of the 224 Sunesta who keep their boat at a marina or on a mooring must opt for the canvas mooring cover ($1,015). Our test boat was also equipped with a fixed automatic fire extinguishing system ($500).

Head

The port console has a door shaded gray to reduce glare. The door is held closed, and kept from vibrating, by both a rubber latch and a stainless latch/handle. The head compartment has an opening portlight with a standard Porta-Potti. Options for this compartment include a cabinet sink and head upgrade ($511) or a pump-out Porta-Potti ($494).

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

The grey door cuts down on glare. The glove box is shallow but lockable and includes cargo net storage inside. Notice the white rubber latch just above the stainless latch.

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

The upgraded head compartment on our test boat.

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

Both the captain and the observer get comfortable bucket seats that swivel and slide and include flip-up bolsters. Premium bucket seats are available ($669). Premium vinyl upholstery with nano-block technology is standard.

Sole Storage

Sole storage is located between the two forward seats. The hatch is hinged from the front and opens from the rear. It’s held open by a gas assist strut and padding is underneath. The opening is guttered to channel water to a drain that leads into the bilge. The compartment is 1'8" (.5 m) deep and 6’ (1.8 m) long.

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

The sole storage features a rubber mat at the bottom to protect gear. The hatch is held open by a gas strut.

Helm

The helm console is gray and black, designed to reduce glare, and the layout is textbook Chaparral. Rocker switches are to either side of the black vinyl dash and gauges are square with chrome bezels. A large storage compartment is located in the center of the panel but access to the compartment is very limited. But to be fair to Chaparral, that storage compartment is only taking up space that some owners will fill with the optional Garmin Echo 70S GPS ($1,338) . I still think they could do a better job with that filler panel, temporary as it may be.

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

Our test boat was fitted with the upgraded three-spoke leather steering wheel ($491) that really added to the good looks of the helm and even included a logo in the hub that stays upright while the wheel turns.

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

Two thoughtful features that I only see on Chaparral boats are dual lights just above the ignition to alert when the blower is active, and a rheostat to dim the panel lights.

To Top It Off

The standard Bimini top comes with forward isinglass windows that add another level of protection against the elements. This is a huge benefit, and one that does not require you to buy side and aft curtains. It also offers the benefit of being able to operate from the standing position in inclement weather.

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

We like the windscreen option as it keeps the cockpit cozy on a chilly morning. This package also includes side curtains so when its rainy all the guests can stay dry.

Walkthrough

The walkthrough to the bow measures 19” (48.3 cm) across. A door leading into the helm console also serves as a lower air dam under the closed windshield. The stereo is just above the console access and Chaparral went with a premium sound system as standard with an upgraded system that includes an amp and subwoofer offered as an option ($1,380).

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

The door to the helm console also serves as an air dam. The stereo has a remote at the helm and the transom.

Bow

The bow is quite roomy thanks to the Wide Tech technology that incorporates a pickle-fork bow and deck. It features comfortable contoured seats with storage underneath. The forward seat cushion lifts to reveal a built-in insulated cooler that drains overboard, and a flip out stainless support for the optional bow filler cushion ($308). Just below is the second side-mount base for the optional pedestal table ($417).

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

Notice how the seats are contoured for comfort. Stainless steel speakers are part of the Premium Package upgrade ($602).

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

Under the forward cushion is a self draining insulated cooler.

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

Add a bow filler cushion ($308) or the optional pedestal table ($417) to increase the functionality of the Wide Tech bow.

Fully forward, the second optional shower ($405 for bow and transom) is located in the port deck right next to the four step concealed beach reboarding ladder. Forward of the ladder is a stainless plate that rotates to expose the combined nav light.

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

The optional shower is part of a set of two, one located here and the other at the transom ($405). Notice the stainless plate fully forward that will rotate to reveal the nav light.

Chaparral 224 Sunesta

The docking lights and bow scuff plate are part of the Preferred Package upgrade ($1,377). Notice the drains for the anchor locker and insulated bow cooler just below the scuff plate.

Pricing

Base price for the Chaparral 224 Sunesta is $65,429 when powered by the 270-hp Volvo Penta V-8. 14 additional engine choices are available from Mercury and Volvo Penta up to 320-hp. Additionally, three option packages are offered; the Preferred Package ($1,377) includes a digital depth gauge, transom tilt switch, stereo remote, docking lights, 8 pull-up cleats, stainless steel speaker covers, a bow scuff plate, and galvanized anchor. Additional packages include the Deluxe Package ($4,192) and the Elite Package ($7,109). Watersports enthusiasts may want to consider the tow arch with board racks ($1,462). Fully loaded with the base engine, the 224 Sunesta runs about $73,000.

Observations

I think that Chaparral has done a good job of capturing the best aspects of both deckboats and bowriders and incorporated them into the 224 Sunesta. She has a lot of quality features, as well as thoughtful touches that make the difference between enjoying a day on the water in a well-executed boat and trying to enjoy the day while putting up with little things not done right.

She has plenty of engine choices to dial in the performance that owners will be looking for, although I think that the standard engine package will serve most owners quite well.

Beauty, of course, is in the eye of the beholder but the design team at Chaparral is in the groove as far as my nautical eye is concerned. Attractive styling is more than just the icing on the cake. To a large degree it is the cake, and the folks at Chaparral know that.

Chaparral 224 Sunesta (2013-) Test Result Highlights

  • Top speed for the Chaparral 224 Sunesta (2013-) is 46.9 mph (75.5 kph), burning 23.20 gallons per hour (gph) or 87.81 liters per hour (lph).

  • Best cruise for the Chaparral 224 Sunesta (2013-) is 23.4 mph (37.7 kph), and the boat gets 3.83 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.63 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 169 miles (271.98 kilometers).

  • Tested power is 1 x 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0 L MPI Catalyst.
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels
go to our Test Results section.


Standard and Optional Equipment

Chaparral 224 Sunesta (2013-) Standard and Optional Equipment
Marine Electronics
GPS/Chart Optional
Systems
CD Stereo Standard
Head: Portable Optional
Power Steering Standard
Exterior Features
Arch: Electronics Optional
Carpet: Cockpit Optional Snap-in
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc Standard
Swim Ladder Standard
Swim Platform Standard
Wet bar Standard
Canvas
Bimini Top Standard
Cockpit Cover Optional

Standard = Standard Optional = Optional

Chaparral 224 Sunesta (2013-) Warranty

Chaparral 224 Sunesta (2013-) Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.
Hull Warranty
Years Lifetime Limited
Certifications
NMMA Certification YES

Chaparral 224 Sunesta (2013-) Price

Chaparral 224 Sunesta (2013-) Price
Pricing Range $65,429.00
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.


Test Results   (Printer Friendly Page)

Test Power: 1 x 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0 L MPI Catalyst
  Range  
RPM MPH Knots Total GPH MPG NMPG Stat. Mile NM   KM    KPH    LPH    KPL   dBA
600 3.0 2.6 0.8 3.9 3.4 173 151 278 4.80 2.84 1.67 66
1000 4.7 4.1 1.2 3.9 3.4 173 150 278 7.60 4.54 1.67 69
1500 6.7 5.8 2.1 3.2 2.8 140 121 225 10.80 7.95 1.35 74
2000 8.2 7.1 3.4 2.4 2.1 107 92 172 13.20 12.68 1.03 75
2500 10.1 8.8 5.7 1.8 1.6 79 69 127 16.30 21.39 0.76 83
3000 23.4 20.3 6.1 3.8 3.3 169 147 272 37.70 23.09 1.63 80
3500 29.2 25.4 8.5 3.5 3.0 152 133 245 47.00 31.99 1.47 84
4000 35.5 30.8 11.6 3.1 2.7 135 118 217 57.10 43.72 1.31 85
4500 40.7 35.4 15.8 2.6 2.2 114 99 183 65.50 59.81 1.10 87
5120 46.9 40.8 23.2 2.0 1.8 89 78 143 75.50 87.82 0.86 89

All fuel consumption numbers are the total for all engines in the boat. Speeds are measured with Stalker ProSports radar gun or GPS. Fuel consumption (gallons per hour) measured with Floscan digital fuel-flow meter or by on-board factory-installed diagnostic instruments. Range is based on 90% of published fuel capacity. Sound levels determined using Radio Shack digital decibel meter on A scale. 68 dBA is the level of normal conversation.

Performance Chart

Performance Chart

Test Conditions

Test Power: 1 x 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0 L MPI Catalyst
Time To Plane 3.8 sec.
0 to 30 9.5 sec.
Test Power 1 x 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0 L MPI Catalyst
Transmission N/A
Ratio 1.62 : 1
Props 17p Mercury Enertia
Load 2 persons, 3/5 fuel, 0 water, minimal gear
Climate 80 deg., 72 humid.; wind: 0-5 mph; seas: calm