Tahoe's entry-level fiberglass bowrider is a comfortable way to get into boating, or for old salts, a low-cost way of keeping a versatile boat tied up at the summer lake house for use by children and grandchildren who come to visit. Boaters between those two extremes will appreciate the new Q4i's blazing standard colors and functionality for towing sports and having fun on the water.
Full-width aft swim platform with fold-down boarding ladder
Stainless steel ski tow ring
Full-width aft padded sundeck
Full-width aft seating with storage under side seats and 40-quart cooler
Adjustable swiveling helm and passenger bucket seats
In-floor wakeboard/ski compartment
AM/FM Bluetooth-capable stereo with MP3 and USB ports
Bow lounge seating with insulated and drained storage/coolers below
Custom-matched trailer with corrosion protection
Tahoe Q4i (2014-) Specifications
18' 1'' 5.5 m
2,697 lbs. 1,223 kg
91'' 2.3 m
18'' 0.46 m
19 gal. 72 L
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.
The 18' (5.51 m) Tahoe Q4i comes standard in five brilliant colors -- Citron Yellow, Black Cherry, Victory Red (seen above), Onyx, and Blueberry. She should be a stand-out this summer on any lake.
The Mission of the Tahoe Q4i
By providing a low-cost way to get people out on the water, Tahoe fulfills its mission as far as we're concerned but, of course, the builder is bringing much more to the party than price. The second "P" in Tahoe's mission statement is "performance" and with a 16-degree deadrise at the transom, Tahoe's bottom design, and its dry hull weight of 1,325 lbs. (602 kgs.), the boat should be highly competitive with its 135-hp Mercury sterndrive engine.
Tahoe's third "P" is for "package" and it is here that the Missouri builder is hard to beat. The Q4i comes with the boat, engine and color-matched trailer in a standard package costing $22,995 plus dealer prep, transport, and taxes.
An 18' bowrider can be economical fun for the whole family and if used often during the season makes a good recreational return on investment.
Function of the Q4i
The Q4i was intended to be strictly a sportboat. She is not a "crossover" or "hybrid." Rather, she is a dedicated, 100% sportboat designed for blasting around the lake at full speed, cruising in comfort, and towing tubes, wakeboarders, kneeboarders, or even skiers.
Dedicated Storage. To that end she has a large storage compartment right down the centerline of the boat, which is accessed from the deck between the two bucket seats. This is where the skis go. Storage is also available forward under the seats for inflatable water toys and pumps. In the compartments at the side of the boat is typically where boaters stow the lines and other towing apparatus.
The Tahoe Q4i has a USCG rated capacity of eight people or 1,050 lbs. (476 kgs.). The bow can be used in several ways, either with two people sitting facing forward with their legs on the seats, or sitting up when the boat is at rest, it can accommodate four adults or five children.
Bucket seats that adjust and swivel come standard. The hatch in the deck is for ski storage. Note there is plenty of leg room.
We like the faux burl wood treatment on the dash and the wheel.
Bow for Fun. There is no place like the bow to feel the wind and exhilaration of speed and the most comfortable way to ride there is facing forward. When the boat is at rest and there are guests to be entertained the bow becomes a venue for lunch, sun bathing or just hanging out with the tunes playing on the standard stereo.
Both lockers forward under the seats in the bow are insulated, drained and can also be as ice chests. Typically, one locker is used for the anchor and line and the other is used to store water toys.
Aft Cockpit. The Q4i has a standard bowrider layout with a bench seat for three across the aft end of the cockpit and two seats forward for the skipper and friend. These two bucket seats adjust and swivel so both parties can turn around, forming a circle of five friends.
The aft cockpit becomes the prime place for hanging out on the Q4i and with a 40 quart ice chest under the center seat aft, drinks and food are close at hand.
Towing Sports. Bowriders were made for towing sports and the Q4i is no exception. The boat is built with a full beam swim platform that becomes a place to sit and put on boards or launch tubes. The boat has a standard towing ring and a three-step ladder to aid in re-boarding. When towing, the companion bucket seat becomes the place for the spotter, facing aft.
When hauling skiers or wakeboarders it is important to be able to get them up out of the water on their boards as fast as possible. Doing that requires the power to get on plane quickly. The Tahoe's bottom was designed for that task with both the flattish stern sections and also the added buoyancy around the lower unit.
Below the center seat aft is a 40 quart (37.85 L) insulated box that can serve as a cooler for beverages and food.
Forward is storage under both seats which is insulated and can be used as coolers. The storage bins drain. The boat does not have an anchor locker, but one of the bins can be used to house the anchor, which every boat should have. We would have a cleat bolted to the bow in the after market for the anchor rode.
There is storage space in the bulwarks both port and starboard. Note the carpeting inside the compartment.
The storage in the cockpit sole is designed for skis, but other things can be placed in there as well.
The Q4i Construction
The Q4i is built of solid fiberglass using the traditional hand-laid process. Numerous layers of resin, glass mat, chopped strand, woven roving, polyester and vinylester resin are placed in the hull in a sequential order to maximize strength and other characteristics. Stringers are then placed in the boat and glassed in and gel coated so that even the inside of the boat has a smooth finish that is easy to keep clean.
The hull and deck are mated together, chemically bonded and then mechanically fastened together. Over the hull to deck joint is a heavy-duty rub rail with a stainless steel insert to protect the boat when docking.
Power and Performance
The boat is only available with the MerCruiser 135-hp 3.0 L engine that is catalyzed for the American market. Boaters outside the U.S. can get the non-catalyzed version of the 3.0 L sterndrive.
We have not tested this boat so can give no indication of her performance other than to say that we have tested other small boats with this engine which were considerably heavier and they were able to exceed 40 mph and pull a wakeboarder.
We think the color-matched, powder-coated trailer looks cool. Note that the lower unit extends beyond the swim platform. The tires on the trailer are 14".
Virtually all boats in class have the equipment necessary for basic boating and the Q4i is no exception. However there were a few things we found on the Tahoe standards list that not all boat builders supply in the base price. They are-
●Custom-matched trailer with Galvashield corrosion protection.
●Choice of five hull colors and Tahoe graphic treatment
●Stainless steel ski tow ring
●Fire extinguisher port in engine box
●Gel coated bilge
●Removable bow and stern navigation lights
The towing ring is standard equipment.
Optional Equipment to Consider
Since everyone uses a boat differently, most builders try to keep the cost of their boats down by not installing equipment that some owners will never use. This practice saves buyers money, but does require that they carefully consider what they will need in the boat for their intended use. Following are seven items we would add for our use--
●Bimini top with aluminum frame -- $690
●Genuine Tahoe bow and cockpit cover matching the hull color -- $500
●Driver seat bolster -- $155
●Depth sounder -- $180
●Automatic bilge pump switch -- $65
●Tilt steering -- $100
●Spare tire kit for trailer -- $220
The total of these items comes to $1,910 which is about 8.3% of the base price which is fairly typical for boats in this class.
The Q4i has a standard 3-step swim ladder and comes with four mooring cleats. The Bimini is optional.
Price of the Tahoe Q4i
The package price for the boat, engine and trailer for the 18'1'' Q4i is $22,995 plus dealer prep ($445) and transportation. For example, the cost of transportation to Stamford, CT on the east coast is ($850), bringing the total to $24,290 for our location.
The Q4i will create a carnival of color on the lake this summer thanks to its standard hull colors and graphic design.
Tahoe has built its reputation on delivering a lot of boat for the money, but it is doing a lot more than that with the Q4i. The new color scheme and graphic simply makes the boat a lot more exciting to watch as she races around and enhances the pride of ownership for most people, as well.
Warranty. Tahoe warrantees the hull, deck, stringers and transom for five years. There is a two-year warranty on the drive system and a one year warranty on all other components.
The trailer is manufactured by a division of Tahoe's parent company (Tracker Marine Group) and in addition to the corrosion protection, color-matches the boat with powered coating.
Standard and Optional Equipment
Tahoe Q4i (2014-) Standard and Optional Equipment
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc
= Standard = Optional
Tahoe Q4i (2014-) Warranty
Tahoe Q4i (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.