There’s a lot going on at the stern of the Chaparral 216 SSi, starting with the integrated swim platform, which on our test boat featured the optional logo-ed non-skid(add $338). Not only does it improve your safety on the swim platform but it also gives a nice finished look to the deck. Right in the middle of the transom is a stainless steel grab rail with an integrated tow hook. To starboard is a concealed three-step re-boarding ladder in direct line of sight to the helm, and while the top rung consists of a grab handle I’d still like to see an additional handhold cut out into the hatch cover.
Our test 216 featured the optional premium package that replaces the six standard cleats with eight pull-up cleats and adds a scuff plate at the bow and docking lights. While on the subject of options, our test boat also featured the convenience package with a stereo remote on the transom that shares a mount with the engine tilt switch, a compass, and digital depth finder.Before we leave the stern it’s important to note that Chaparral thoughtfully provides a fuel fill on both sides of the boat as standard.
There’s a very large sun pad at the stern; the starboard end flips open to allow you to enter the cockpit. But there’s a catch built into that starboard side flip-up that allows it to remain in the chaise lounge recliner position. This is a great idea and I guarantee we’ll be seeing this on other boats. The deck of the walkthrough is fitted with a hatch that opens to reveal a storage compartment.
Once you step through the walkthrough and into the cockpit, the filler cushion is placed over the step creating C-shaped seating across the whole aft end of the cockpit. Convenient armrests are to port and starboard, as well as stainless steel grab handles and drink holders. Both the passenger and captain get very comfortable wrap-around bucket seats that are open at the back for ventilation on warm days. The navigator also gets not one, but two comfortable armrests, a convenient stainless steel grab handle, and that seat slides fore and aft, as well as rotates around to face aft to watch the action at the end of the tow line. Both seats also feature flip-up bolsters. This is an important detail when running in choppy conditions at speed, permitting both people to lean instead of sit.
Sole storage can be accessed without having to lift up the snap-in carpeting. The storage itself is a separate chamber from the bilge area, a rubber mat lines the floor of the compartment, the lid is gasketed all the way around and supported by a gas assist strut. The vinyl on the seats is Duralife Max and Chaparral has an exclusive contract for its use. It’s 36 oz thick with a 10 mil thick top layer, double French-stitched and surprisingly resistant to staining.
The helm is laid out in basic fashion with fog-proof Chaparral branded gauges with chrome bezels. Chaparral also offers an optional digital gauge package. To the left is your fuel gauge, a speedometer, then a 4-in-1 gauge showing trim, volts, oil pressure, and engine temp. To the right is a tachometer with an integrated hour meter followed by a depth gauge all the way to the right side of the panel. The gauges are mounted in a plastic panel just above two rows of rocker switches in aluminum wood grain panels (part of the optional driftwood package)finished with eight coats of clear coat. The switches are all double lighted: lighted full-time with an additional indicator light when the switch is active. A dimmer lies to the far right just below the 12-volt supply socket. Our test boat was equipped with power steering connected to a tilt wheel. The compass, which is part of the convenience package we previously mentioned, lies above the panel directly in line of sight of the operator.
To the right of the operator is a comfortable armrest molded into the custom fiberglass side panel. When you bring the engine control to the forward position your hand comes to rest comfortably at the end of the armrest. Ahead, slightly to the right of the controls, the stereo remote is right at your fingertips. This is a remote that is integrated with the upgraded stereo package that blends nicely with controlling your iPod. All of the iPod displays are repeated in the remote, even when I decided to get creative after the test and listen to Pandora Internet radio on my iPhone. I had to smile and give extra points to Chaparral for the Pandora controls being displayed on the remote.
Underneath the helm is plenty of leg room for even the tallest of operators.
Walkthrough to the Bow
The windshield is surrounded by a very beefy frame, with single piece stainless steel supports that held my full weight. With the walkthrough windshield opened, there’s no need to snap a strap in place as it is held by a magnetic catch. To block off the chilly air during the shoulder seasons, the windshield is closed off along with a door just below.
Opening the walkthrough door reveals the bulkhead mounted stereo just above a receptacle area for the wastebasket. When the door is fully opened and blocking off the walkthrough, it latches into the starboard side console. This is an area that could use a little work as the latch took quite a bit of attention to get it into the locked position, an inconvenient task while the boat is at speed. Even with it in the latched position, the door tended to unlatch itself once we started jumping across waves. A better solution would be to have the door automatically latch and then release it to close again.
Wide Tech Bow
There’s a surprising amount of room in the bow of the 216 SSi thanks to what Chaparral refers to as the Wide Tech bow. At the gunwales it has the appearance of a pickle fork bow, while below the rubrail it is pure V-hull.There is V-seating as you would normally expect in a bowrider. Both seatbacks pull forward at the top to reveal storage behind. The seatbacks are held snugly in place by magnetic catches in the upper corners of the cushion’s base. The seats lift out easily to reveal additional storage underneath, and I also took note that there are gutters around the openings of the storage areas to channel water away from the compartment and out to the deck drains. When I removed the forward-most cushion, I expected just a simple non-skid step leading off the bow. Instead, I found a molded-in insulated cooler with an overboard drain.
The Wide Tech bow not only provides a large non-skid foredeck area, but a dedicated anchor locker complete with latches to hold your Danforth in place. When closed, the anchor locker hatch rests on rubber bumpers that will prevent that annoying vibrating noise that you find with a fiberglass-to-fiberglass connection. On either side of the bow are pull-up cleats.
Volvo Penta 5.0 GXi Has Power To Spare
Our test boat was powered by a catalyzed 270-hp Volvo Penta 5.0 GXi turning an SX drive with a 14 3/4'' x 19'' x 3-blade stainless steel prop. This engine is near the upper end of the options list, and I found it to be plenty for this boat. While we had ample power to pull even our heaviest friends out of the water, I was most impressed with the acceleration throughout our entire operating range. Regardless of what rpm I would be cruising at, hitting the throttle launched us forward even faster (which had the Beach Boys singing “and I get rubber in all 4 gears” stuck in my head).
Handling the 216 SSi
It didn’t take me long to get familiar with, and really like, the handling characteristics of the Chaparral 216 SSi. It’s important to note that responsiveness to the throttle will come in very handy when towing skiers or wakeboarders. As you enter a turn and the boat starts to bleed off speed, you’ll always have extra power to throw in and keep the speed up.Trimming the 216 SSi is very simple. Just get up to planing speed and start bringing the trim up. You will see the spray start to move from the helm position back to the aft quarters and feel the associated acceleration. You’ll know when you’ve added too much trim when the propeller starts to ventilate. You will not get any bow oscillation from too much trim.
For turning performance, the boat has a nice a gentle bank, and once the turn is established go ahead and add power as it’ll just press you down into your seat rather than moving you to the outside of the turn. Upon accelerating, the bow would come up between 13 and 15-degrees with no loss of visibility. Cruise attitude is roughly 3-degrees bow high.Our top speed was reached at 5000 rpm and 52.4 mph. At that speed we had a 21.4 gph fuel burn while getting 2.45 mpg for a range of 88 miles. Pulled back to a more economical cruise speed of 3000 rpm, we were running at 28.6 mph while burning 7.6 gph, and getting 3.76 mpg for a range of 135 miles. Thanks to the extended V-Plane hull, our time to plane was 3.7 seconds. We reached 20 mph in 5.7 seconds, 30 mph in 8.5 seconds, 40 mph in 11.4 seconds, and accelerated through 50 mph in 18.5 seconds.
If you find yourself in the market for a class-act bowrider with a lot of thrills included in the package, then you owe it to yourself to take a close look at the Chaparral 216 SSi.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Chaparral 216 SSi (2011-) is 52.4 mph (84.3 kph), burning 21.4 gallons per hour (gph) or 81 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Chaparral 216 SSi (2011-) is 28.6 mph (46 kph), and the boat gets 3.76 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.6 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 5.0 GXiC.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
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