Choose One or All to Start Looking

Engines Search

Search For

Chaparral 284 Sunesta (2011-)
(w/ 1 x 375-hp MerCruiser 496 MAG)

Now playing: 

Chaparral 284 Sunesta- Part II- Layout and Features


Join BoatTest for FREE Now!


Own a boat? Please fill out the following options.


Enter in your email below to view all content

Do you have a question?Ask a question about this boat or engine?
See the PRICE by becoming a BoatTEST member.
(It's quick and FREE!)

Brief Summary

Chaparral is widely known for building high end boats that also add great looks to the package. They are more expensive than many similar boats, but that means owning one carries along with it a hefty dose of pride of ownership, because they’re not for everyone. Even a casual look will tell you that the 284 Sunesta was not thrown together, but when we looked closer we found some surprises. When we were taking our initial look around the hull of our test boat, we counted four innovative factors, and we weren’t even onboard yet. This is one boat we recommend you see for yourself.

Key Features

  • Kevlar reinforced hull
  • Extended V-Plane hull
  • Quad-radial lamination
  • Maxguard gelcoat and hydropel resin
  • Aft power slide lounge seating converts to sun lounge
  • Stainless steel Eliptical grab rails and bow rails
  • Stainless steel bows on oversized Bimini top
  • Integrated extended swim platform
  • Walk-thru transom with stainless steel gate
  • Cockpit wet bar with sink, trash chute, & solid surface top
  • Enclosed head with Porta-Potti and opening port light
  • Specifications

    Length Overall 28' 4''
    8.64 m
    Beam 9' 0''
    2.74 m
    Dry Weight 6,400 lbs.
    2,903 kg
    Tested Weight N/A
    Draft 39''
    99 cm
    - Draft Up N/A
    - Draft Down N/A
    - Air Draft N/A
    Deadrise/Transom 22 deg.
    Max Headroom open
    Bridge Clearance 8' 2''
    2.49 m (with arch)
    Weight Capacity N/A
    Person Capacity N/A
    Fuel Capacity 105 gal.
    397 L
    Water Capacity 22 gal.
    83 L
    Length on Trailer N/A
    Height on Trailer N/A
    Trailer Weight N/A
    Total Weight
    (Trailer, Boat, & Engine)

    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

    Std. Power Not Available
    Tested Power 1 x 375-hp MerCruiser 496 MAG
    Opt. Power 1 x 380-hp MerCruiser 496 MAG
    1 x 430-hp MerCruiser 8.2L MAG HO
    1 x 400-hp Volvo Penta 8.1 Gi
    1 x 400-hp Volvo Penta 8.1 Gi Ocean X
    1 x 420-hp Volvo Penta GXi DP

    Test Results - Change Measurement Unit

    RPM MPH Knots GPH MPG NMPG Stat. Mile NM dBa
    650 4.0 3.4 1.2 3.3 2.9 311 270 72
    1000 5.8 5.0 2.1 2.8 2.5 267 232 74
    1500 8.1 7.0 3.0 2.7 2.3 254 221 74
    2000 10.2 8.8 5.7 1.8 1.6 168 146 77
    2500 16.9 14.7 8.5 2.0 1.7 189 164 86
    3000 25.8 22.4 10.5 2.5 2.2 233 203 88
    3500 33.8 29.3 13.3 2.6 2.2 241 209 89
    4000 38.8 33.7 18.4 2.1 1.8 200 174 91
    4500 44.5 38.7 26.9 1.7 1.4 156 136 92
    4800 49.1 42.7 30.1 1.6 1.4 154 134 92
    650 270 501 6.40 4.54 1.40 72
    1000 232 430 9.30 7.95 1.20 74
    1500 221 409 13.00 11.36 1.14 74
    2000 146 270 16.40 21.58 0.76 77
    2500 164 304 27.20 32.18 0.85 86
    3000 203 375 41.50 39.75 1.05 88
    3500 209 388 54.40 50.35 1.08 89
    4000 174 322 62.40 69.65 0.90 91
    4500 136 251 71.60 101.83 0.70 92
    4800 134 248 79.00 113.94 0.69 92

    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. Time to plane is measured from start of acceleration to formation of rooster tail behind boat.

    Performance Chart

    Performance Chart

    Acceleration Times & Test Conditions

    Time To Plane 4.6 sec.
    0 to 30 10.0 sec.
    Ratio N/A
    Props N/A
    Load 3 person, 1/4 fuel, no water, 50 lbs of gear
    Climate 87 deg.; 76% humid.; wind: 0-5 mph; seas; calm

    Chaparral 284 Sunesta (2011-) Line Drawing


    Captain's Report

    By Capt. Steve Larivee

    Chaparral 284 Sunesta
    The 284 Sunesta has a LOA of 28’4” (8.64 m) and a beam of 9’ (2.74 m) that carries far forward.

    So What’s So Innovative?

    We counted four innovative features on our out-of-water walk around. Just what were they? For starters, looking up at the bow was pretty revealing. Chaparral calls it their “Wide Tech” bow. It appears that they have successfully found a way to combine a pickle fork and “V” into one hull. In other words, the hull has a conventional deep-V forefoot at the waterline with a pickle fork on deck. This gives you the usual handling and performance of a sportboat, with the roomier bow of a deck boat. What else? Moving aft I noticed all of the through hull fittings are solid stainless. Not stainless capped plastic, or chrome over bronze... stainless. And there were a lot of them, not only for the bilge pumps, but for the drains of the compartment lid channels as well. The outdrive sits in a transom notch and the hull carries back past the drive. This gives a longer riding surface and the hull has more buoyancy aft, both of which should mean that the boat will come up on plane sooner and with less bow rise. We’ll see about that during our test. It also means that the integral swim platform can easily extend beyond the sterndrive lower unit and prop so that swimmers can slide off the platform without worrying about getting cut. From an aesthetic standpoint, by recessing the lower unit into her transom the 284 has pleasing, flowing lines. In order to have the swim platform extend beyond the props, many builders resort to an extended platform that is not in proportion with the rest of the boat, and often is not particularly pretty. Score a big one for Chaparral for this design. Lastly, the hull is Kevlar reinforced, with dual lifting strakes on both sides leading up to a reversed chine and a 22-degree deadrise. All of which say “good handling” to me, and combined should prove to be exactly that. Again, we’ll see.

    Chaparral 284 Sunesta
    L-shaped seating, premium arch tower with Bimini, entertainment center, dual deck hatches, wide bow seating, retractable aft seating and electric grill all await you aboard the 284 Sunesta.

    Performance and Handling

    For starters, I wanted to check out the bow rise situation. I’ve tested boats with a bow rise as high as 16-degrees... the 284 Sunesta managed to pull off a 7-degree bow rise. Evidently, the extended V-Plane hull seems to be doing its job. Minimum planing speed was just about 16 mph and 2500 rpm, which isn't bad. That means you can save more fuel by going slower, but in this boat, the target audience is not likely to be too concerned with saving a couple of bucks on gasoline. Putting the wheel hard over and firewalling the throttle showed a 10-degree bank and no ventilation from the prop. I had full control of the turn radius by simply giving minor adjustments to the throttle and the boat showed no tendency to fall off the turn or respond adversely in any way. Because of the reverse chines, when you put the 284 Sunesta into a hard turn at speed, it really grabs onto the water and cranks around like it’s on rails. You need to make sure everyone is hanging on, or slow the boat down before turning, because you won’t find that the 284 will slow down for you in a turn, nor will it skid out to the side. It’s really quite exhilarating.

    Chaparral 284 Sunesta
    Test power was a MerCruiser 496 MAG. Top speed? 49.1 mph.

    The boat was powered by a 375-hp MerCruiser 496 MAG engine. Top speed came in at 4800 rpm and 49.1 mph. At that speed we were burning 30.1 gph and getting 1.63 mpg for a range of 154 miles. Dialed back to a more economical cruise of 3500 rpm found us running at 33.8 mph with a 13.3 gph fuel burn. That meant that we were getting 2.55 mpg and a range of 241 miles with a 10% reserve. Time to plane was 4.6 seconds and we accelerated through 30 mph in 10 seconds.

    The Layout at the Stern

    The 284 Sunesta has a lot going on so let’s take a walkthrough of the layout and see how Chaparral makes a difference in their boats.

    Chaparral 284 Sunesta
    Two hatches in the platform contain a swim ladder to starboard, a cooler to port. There's also a transom shower.

    Starting at the swim platform, there are two hatches in the deck. To starboard is a reboarding ladder, directly in line of sight of the helm. We like to see these ladders recessed into the top of the deck as they’re much easier to deploy than when residing underneath. They also don’t have a tendency to deploy by themselves this way. To port is an in-deck insulated cooler. We’ve all seen the hockey puck stereo remotes at the transom, but here is a built-in remote mounted in a stainless plate in conjunction with an outdrive trim switch. The transom shower is attached to a stainless hose that will not kink, and retracts into a containment bag so it won’t catch on anything either.

    Chaparral 284 Sunesta
    The aft seating in the 284 electrically retracts into a sun lounge.

    There is a comfortable aft facing rumble seat that seems to be mounted at just the right height, as my feet were comfortably on the deck while sitting normally. Stainless grab handles are to either side, but don’t look at them as a means to promote utilizing this seat while underway. It’s strictly an “on the hook” feature, or perhaps even when beached. With the touch of a rocker switch at the helm, the dual aft seats lay flat to form a sun pad, and then the inboard section lifts up to become a chaise lounge. The swim platform also has non-skid laid across its entire length, and pull-up cleats are low in the corners to keep crossed dock lines out of the trip zone.


    Entry to the cockpit is via a starboard side gate that I was happy to see opened inward. This prevents falling out should you find yourself falling into the gate. Off to port is roomy L-shaped seating with thick "Dura-Life Max" premium expanded vinyl upholstery secured with triple-French stitching. That’s right... triple, once in a center seam, and then twice more to either side. I also noticed that under each cushion, there are no staples showing that another seam is laid over to finish the cushion off. The seat bases are Starlight to prevent rotting, and the foam is Flow Foam to remain dry.

    Chaparral 284 Sunesta
    Instead of the usual 28 oz. carpet, Chaparral uses 40 oz. and notice the reinforced snaps.
    Chaparral 284 Sunesta
    The seats are all made with Dura Life 36 oz. vinyl, high density foam with mildew inhibitors, a flow foam drainage layer, angled aluminum reinforcements and a composite Starlight base.

    To starboard is an entertainment center with a sink, and a stainless basin for dropping “stuff” into. This basin can be replaced with an electric grill and I’d recommend that route. Just past that is a trash chute that leads to the wastebasket below. Beneath is a pull out cooler in a drawer that it shares with the aforementioned wastebasket. By the way, that sink I mentioned… it lacks the standard J-hook faucet we usually see in boats and instead goes with a pull out sprayer that is also on a stainless hose, and can be used to rinse off the cockpit deck if desired. Neat trick. A cockpit table with a side mounted base will allow for snacks, or if you opt for the grill, full meals.

    Chaparral 284 Sunesta
    The cooler and wastebasket are on a pull out drawer. Notice the premium helm seat. The step makes boarding a breeze when tied to a fixed dock. The swim platform works for a floating dock.

    Helm and Observer

    The helm and observer's seats are referred to as Chaparral Premium bucket seats and they’re pretty slick for a couple of reasons. One, they do not wrap around you. Instead of sliding your body forward and out, something you rarely have room to do, you can simply rotate your body to the side and out. Secondly, gone are the days of fumbling around trying to feel for your seat adjustments under the seat, and then grabbing the slide adjustment when you want to swivel. The adjustments for these seats are right next to your knees in the form of pull-up handles, and they’re clearly marked.

    Chaparral 284 Sunesta
    Those gauges are filled with nitrogen to make them fog proof. The two rectangular areas to either side of the wheel are aluminum mounting panels. Power steering is standard.

    The helm is nicely laid out with large rectangular gauges for speed and tach with a multi-function digital readout beneath the tach. A standard Garmin GPS MAP 530c lies to center stage. The rocker switches to either side of the panel have dual LED lights, one to see the international symbol, and the other to show when activated. Next to the ignition is a dimmer control. Way over to the right and below are the standard trim switches. I never touched the tabs during my test. That's a testament to the hull design I mentioned in the beginning.

    To the Bow

    The walkthrough windshield is supported with solid stainless rods, rather than the ball and socket setup that typically becomes the number one maintenance replacement item. Putting my hands on each windshield allowed me to lift myself up without affecting the windshield. A side hatch opens up to block off the wind when the windshield is closed off, and I was happy to see that this didn’t leave a wide open space leading to the under console storage.

    Chaparral 284 Sunesta
    Shown here is the roomy head with the optional porcelain VacuFlush. A Porta-Potti is standard equipment.

    At the bow, a very roomy layout awaits you. I could absolutely see the adults gathering here while the kids yell and scream off the stern. There is a starboard side filler cushion as an option, and without it, you can set up a table and have booth style seating. The forward facing seat ahead of the helm also electrically extends into the center of the bow to become a double wide seat.

    Chaparral 284 Sunesta
    Notice the low profile stainless bow rails.

    The bow beach boarding ladder shares a compartment with the anchor storage, and when deployed, the forward combined navigation light flips over to a flush mounted stainless steel plate to avoid tripping over the light.

    Chaparral 284 Sunesta
    There is storage under the side seats and a cooler under the forward seat.

    If you took this boat and stood it side-by side with the competition, you could start checking off the list of upgrades that Chaparral includes as standard on this boat. As a matter of fact, if you go to a dealer, that’s probably exactly what he’ll do, and with good reason. As I said in the beginning, these boats are a bit more expensive than some others, but you get what you pay for. In the case of the 284 Sunesta, because of the hull design and some of the details mentioned, I think you may even get a good deal more.

    Test Result Highlights

    • Top speed for the Chaparral 284 Sunesta (2011-) is 49.1 mph (79 kph), burning 30.1 gallons per hour (gph) or 113.93 liters per hour (lph).
    • Best cruise for the Chaparral 284 Sunesta (2011-) is 33.8 mph (54.4 kph), and the boat gets 2.55 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.08 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 241 miles (387.85 kilometers).
    • Tested power is 1 x 375-hp MerCruiser 496 MAG.

    Standard and Optional Features

    Marine Electronics

    GPS/Chart Standard


    CD Stereo Standard
    Head: Portable Standard
    Head: Fixed Optional
    Trim Tabs Standard

    Exterior Features

    Carpet: Cockpit Optional
    Outlet: 12-Volt Acc Standard
    Swim Ladder Standard
    Swim Platform Standard
    Transom Shower Optional
    Wet bar Standard


    Bimini Top Standard
    Full Canvas Optional


    Hull Warranty
    Lifetime Limited

    Engine Warranty
    NMMA Certification Yes
    See the PRICE by becoming a BoatTEST member.
    (It's quick and FREE!)