Cruisers Sport Series 208 Bow Rider (2014-)
(w/ 1 x 270-hp Volvo Penta V8 270 SX)

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The Cruisers Sport Series 208 Bow Rider is the smallest in the builder's line but her design and the level of build quality is the same as her larger siblings. Because of this, a higher level of fit-and-finish becomes evident the moment the 208 is boarded. Take a look at our report and see what we mean.

Key Features

  • Full hull band in Silver, Mocha, Azure Blue, Ruby Red and Jet Black
  • Standard premier Imedge gelcoat package
  • Premium Sony stereo with USB port
  • Standard platinum cockpit seating
  • Standard canvas in various colors, includes Bimini top, and bow and cockpit cover
  • Optional teak SeaDek swim platform
  • Standard single battery configuration

Specifications

Cruisers Sport Series 208 Bow Rider (2014-) Specifications
Length Overall 20’ 10''
6.13 m
Dry Weight 3,100 lbs.
1,406 kg
Beam 7’ 10''
2.16 m
Tested Weight 3,730 lbs.
1,692 kg
Draft 27.5''
0.70 m
Fuel Cap 35 gal.
132 L
Deadrise/Transom 19 deg. Water Cap none
Max Headroom open Bridge Clearance 50.5''
1.28 m
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

Cruisers Sport Series 208 Bow Rider (2014-) Engine options
Std. Power N/A
Tested Power 1 x 270-hp Volvo Penta V8 270 SX
Opt. Power 1 x 220-hp MerCruiser 4.3 MPI Alpha1
1 x 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0 MPI Alpha 1
1 x 225-hp Volvo Penta V8-225C SX
1 x 270-hp Volvo Penta V8-270C SX

Cruisers Sport Series 208 Bow Rider (2014-) Captain's Report

Cruisers Sport Series 208

The Cruisers Sport Series 208 Bow Rider has a length overall of 20'10" (6.13 m), a beam of 7'10" (2.16 m) and a draft of 27.5’’ (.69 m). Note the unique hull striations that set her apart from nearly anything on the water in class.

Mission Statement

The Cruisers Sport Series 208 Bow Rider was designed to provide owners who only need a small boat with the fit-and-finish of a premium boat of a much larger size. She's built to the same exacting standards as other Cruisers Sport Series models that extend all the way to 32' (9.75 m). That is simply company policy.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

The CSS 208 Bow Rider has an LOA of 20' 11" (6.38 m), a hull length of 18'11" (5.77 m), a beam of 7'10" (2.39 m) and an 18-degree deadrise at the transom. She weighs 3,100 lbs. (1,406 kgs.) dry.

Distinguishing Features

Hull Striations. This design feature is quite unusual in boats of any size or cost because of the increased difficulty and expense in molding. But for this builder it is worth the expense because of the sleek and racy look that it gives the boat in a remarkably subtle way.

Standard Colored Hull. Going hand-in-hand with the hull striations is a color gel coat which helps reflect light to make the striation effect work.

Quilted 3-Tone Upholstery. Most boats have 2-tone vinyl upholstery and some even three, but rarely in this size boat and virtually none have the classy diamond upholstery accent patterns found in the CSS 208.

Extended, Extra-Large Swim Platform. The 208 has what is probably the largest swim platform of any 20-footer on the market. It is made up of both an integral-to-the-hull platform, plus a bolted-on extension that is standard.

Up-Scale Amenities. The CSS 208 has a leather-wrapped steering wheel, plush bucket seats, and a raised back sun cushion that makes into a chaise, among other things.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

Our test boat was equipped with a V-8 270-hp engine from Volvo Penta. We tested her in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

Performance

With the Volvo Penta V-8 270 turning an SX drive with a 21'' pitch propeller we reached a top speed of 51.7 mph at 4545 rpm. At that speed were burning 17.9 gph giving us a range of 91 miles. Best cruise came in at 3000 rpm and 30.8 mph. That's the reduced the fuel burn to only 7.2 gph and the 208 could keep that up for 4 hours and 24 min. and 135 miles while still maintaining a 10% reserve of fuel.

Handling

The 208 exhibits similar handling characteristics to most other sportboats in class in that she has very quick handling. Because of her relative lightweight (3,100 lbs./1,406 kgs.) she tends to launch over waves rather than slicing through them, again this is something to be expected in class.

She has a 14-degree bow rise upon acceleration with the horizon remaining in plain sight. She comes up on plane in just over 3 seconds and advancing the trim to the one quarter position on the gauge will have her in her optimum cruising attitude. She leans 12-degrees into the turns and stays solid on the turn rather than exhibiting any chine walk or tendency to slide off the turn. She has excellent midrange acceleration and bleeds off very little speed in the turns. When taking power off she settles back into the water stern first.

She has an 18-degree deadrise at the transom which is a good compromise for this size boat which will be used mostly on inland lakes and rivers. We tested her on Sturgeon Bay, which is an arm of Lake Michigan, on a normal day and found her to be comfortable in the mild chop.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

Our test captain preferred sitting on the helm seat bolster when running the 208 at speed.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

We blasted the 208 several times over the photo boat's wake to get a feel of what kind ride we could expect in the rough stuff. With a test weight of just over 3,700 lbs. (1,678 kg) she tends to launch over waves rather than slicing through them, a typical characteristic of boats in this class.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

Captain Steve ran the boat hard jumping every wave and wake he could find during our test.

Fit-and-Finish

Sportboats that are 20' (6 m) and smaller are often considered to be "entry level" by their builders and therefore are built to as low a price-point as possible to maximize sales. Cruisers takes a different approach with the 208. It assumes that its customer wants the same fine quality of fit-and-finish in a 20' as would be wanted in a larger boat.

Quality Control. Cruisers realizes that just because someone wants a 20' boat does not mean they also want to skimp on amenities and fit-and-finish. For that reason, it uses the same materials in the 208 as are used in its larger boats. Likewise, the same work force that builds the 32' CSS flagship, also builds the 208. In that way standards of quality, fit-and-finish and attention to detail are the same in Cruisers' smallest boat as in its largest and most expensive one.

Cruisers' policy is self evident when getting aboard the boat. This is not a low price-point and she does not look like one either.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

The CSS 208 has three-tone vinyl upholstery that exhibits the same high standards of materials and fit-and-finish that one finds in its largest boats. Note the stainless steel speaker grills and hand holds, and the finely-executed upholstery.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

Classy diamond patterns are usually not found in 20' (6 m) sportboats, but Cruisers gives the 208 the same attention to detail seen in its larger vessels. Note the molded-in striations on the side of the console which mirrors the design theme on the hull sides.

Classy diamond patterns are usually not found in 20' (6 m) sportboats, but Cruisers gives the 208 the same attention to detail seen in its larger vessels. Note the molded-in striations on the side of the console which mirrors the design theme on the hull sides.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

By executing the upholstery in earth tones and diamond quilting Cruisers has given the 208's interior a look and feel usually not found in this size of boat.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

The CSS 208 has ss pop-up cleats which we like because when depressed they are not a tripping hazard and they will not snag a fishing line or anything else. Note (right) that the 208 has a single cleat right on the bow where it should be in order to properly tie off an anchor line.

Features Inspection

The Helm

Cruisers Sport Series 208

The helm console is molded in fiberglass with a soft touch panel embedded into the forward end. The windshield wraps around and extends well back into the cockpit.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

The steering wheel is leather wrapped around a cast aluminum frame in multiple pieces assembled with Allen bolts that help give the wheel and aircraft-like appearance.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

Cruisers went with a high-end Sony stereo sound system. USB and MP3 inputs are just to the right.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

Full instrumentation is provided thanks to a 4-in-1 gauge that reduces clutter. A digital depth gauge is included as standard equipment to the left.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

Just a cursory glance at the switch panel will show the horn button.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

The two-tone helm seat is a wraparound style with an open back for ventilation. It swivels and slides and includes a flip up bolster. Since most people will be operating this boat sitting on the bolster, the builder has given it extra padding and it is relatively comfortable.

The Bow

The bow features the usual under the seat storage but also has padded bolsters all around in order to enhance the versatility of this space. An optional two-piece filler cushion ($350) will turn the entire bow into a sun pad. UV resistant marine-grade vinyls are used in the upholstery and quilted lumbar accents the upscale look of the 208.

Stainless steel grab rails are provided forward. Speakers are mounted into the bulwarks. The storage space in the dual consoles is accessed by lifting up the forward-facing seat backs.

Anchors Aweigh. There is no dedicated anchor locker in the bow, something that most builders in this size range have traded off for more and better seating in the forward cockpit. One of the under-seat lockers can be used for ground tackle.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

The seating layout is typical of a bowrider but the fit-and-finish is well above. Note the snaps on the deck, which fits the standard canvas covering that comes in colors to match the hull sides.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

Storage under the consoles is accessed from the bow seatbacks. Note the width of the walkthrough.

The Cockpit

The cockpit features the classic sportboat layout of two seats forward and aft bench seat across the stern. What is not so usual are the two well-designed, highly-padded bucket seats with bolster (that stays up without being held), and cut-out back for ventilation. The bucket seats swivel around creating a comfortable conversational atmosphere when facing aft.

There is accommodation for in-deck storage located between the seats. The wraparound windshield extends well back into the cockpit adding to the safety of the cockpit depth.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

The observer gets the same swivel bucket seat as the helm which includes the flip-up bolster. Cruisers went with a recessed area for placing items just ahead of the stereo instead of the enclosed glovebox. This has the advantage of easy access, and since items placed there are visible, they are less likely to be left aboard when leaving the boat in a hurry.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

The aft bench accommodates 3 to 4 people with accommodations for an optional 36-qt. cooler ($90) underneath.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

We like the 208's open storage design under the starboard side of the aft bench seat. Instead of enclosing this area and forcing people to get up to access gear, it can simply be pulled out from the front. This is an ideal space to store life vests, deflated water toys and beach towels.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

An optional removable cooler stores under the port side of the aft bench seat, making it accessible without having to have people get up off the seats. The clasp at right holds the lid down on the engine box lid. The snap-in carpet is optional ($545).

Sun pad and Swim Platform

The sun pad on the 208 flips up on the starboard side to reveal a walkthrough aisle from the swim platform to the cockpit. This section can be supported with a flip backrest to turn the sun pad into a chaise lounger facing to port. This is an unusual feature in a boat this small.

World-Class Platform. The swim platform is huge and is one of the most unusual features of the CSS 208. Cruisers recognizes that a sportboat is for, well…sport. And to that end has created a very large swim platform that becomes a staging area for swimming, skiing, wakeboarding and wake surfing. It can also be used as another place for laying out in the sun (just add a beach towel), or just be a great place to hang out with legs dangling in the water while the 208 is at anchor or beached.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

Cruisers went with a huge swim platform that easily makes a great place to hang out in the sun on the beach towel. Notice the boarding ladder to the starboard side, well clear of any sharp edges underneath the platform.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

The standard swim platform extension goes for beyond the location of the lower unit when it is in the down position. This adds a measure of safety.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

The swim platform extension is canted inward so that it will not bang into the dock while leaving.

Safe Design. The platform incorporates an integral section to the hull and a bolted-on extension as standard. We like this design because the platform extends well beyond the lower units when they are in the down position. With this design, swimmers will not touch the lower unit when they slide off the stern to get into the water.

Practical Details. Because the platform extends so far aft and is so low, the 208's designers have thoughtfully canted in the platform on each side. Since the pivot point of the boat is far forward, when the boat leaves the gas dock the platform will not hit it. Also, when putting the boat into a high-speed turn the swim platform will not drag in the water on the inboard side.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

Captain Steve uses the walkthrough to enter the cockpit. A bracket on the bottom of the pad turns it into a backrest.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

The hinged sun pad cushion to starboard lifts and secures into place to form a comfortable chaise lounge for one person.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

Our test boat also had an optional stereo remote ($205).

The Engine Room

The sun pad abaft the cockpit bench seat lifts easily with the help of two, gas-assist struts. The standard engine is a 4.3 L 220-hp sterndrive from Mercury Marine or a 225-hp 4.3 L engine from Volvo Penta. Optional power is a 260-hp 5.0 L MerCruiser or a 270-hp 5.0 L engine from Volvo Penta.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

With the sun pad up and the plastic guard off the Volvo Penta 270-hp engine, we see that fluid checks are easy at hand. The arrows point to storage boxes both port and starboard. The one at right is a good place to quickly dry out a bathing suit or damp cloths.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

What is not so easily at hand is the battery switch which can be faintly seen at the end of the arrow. Captain Steve would like to see it moved to be easier to reach.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

The battery switch is mounted directly adjacent to the battery which is tucked away in the port quarter of the engine room.

Major Features

• Limited ten-year hull and deck warranty
• Three-year hull blister warranty
• Premium gelcoat
• Imedge gelcoat accent colors
• One-year stem-to-stern components warranty
• Automatic discharge fire extinguisher standard
• Digital depth gauge standard
• Convertible aft sundeck
• Standard Bimini top with boot
• Standard mooring cover


Cruisers Sport Series 208

The two hull striations on the CSS 208 set her apart from most other sportboats on the water. Note how they pick up and reflect light. They are a subtle design element that make the boat look more compelling when she flashes by.

Price

The MSRP price of the Cruisers Sport Series 208 Bow Rider powered by a MerCruiser 4.3 L 220-hp sterndrive is $50,630. The MSRP for the 270-hp 5.0 L Volvo Penta sterndrive system is $53,950.

Cruisers Sport Series 208

Sitting at the dock she makes quite an impression for a 20-footer with her 3-tone upholstery and diamond patterns.

Strong Suits. There are not many premium boats in this size range but the CSS 208 Bow Rider is certainly on a par with the few that are there. Obviously the strong suit of the Cruisers Sport Series 208 Bow Rider is design and styling, primarily, and secondarily, is her remarkable watersports playground on her stern.

Cruisers Sport Series 208 Bow Rider (2014-) Test Result Highlights

  • Top speed for the Cruisers Sport Series 208 Bow Rider (2014-) is 51.7 mph (83.2 kph), burning 17.90 gallons per hour (gph) or 67.75 liters per hour (lph).

  • Best cruise for the Cruisers Sport Series 208 Bow Rider (2014-) is 30.8 mph (49.6 kph), and the boat gets 4.28 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.82 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 135 miles (217.26 kilometers).

  • Tested power is 1 x 270-hp Volvo Penta V8 270 SX.
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels
go to our Test Results section.


Standard and Optional Equipment

Cruisers Sport Series 208 Bow Rider (2014-) Standard and Optional Equipment
Systems
CD Stereo Standard
Exterior Features
Carpet: Cockpit Optional
Swim Platform Optional
Tower: Watersports Optional
Canvas
Bimini Top Standard
Cockpit Cover Standard

Standard = Standard Optional = Optional

Cruisers Sport Series 208 Bow Rider (2014-) Warranty

Cruisers Sport Series 208 Bow Rider (2014-) 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.

Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!

Cruisers Sport Series 208 Bow Rider (2014-) Price

Cruisers Sport Series 208 Bow Rider (2014-) Price
Pricing Range $50,000.00 - $54,000.00
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.


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