Mission of the Chaparral 307 SSX
The 307 SSX is designed to be a premium bowrider right out of the box that can be customized for specialty needs. She is intended to appeal to a wide audience for family cruising, entertaining and watersports on rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.
• Custom-painted arch is standard• Powered engine room hatch• Powered aft seat/sun pad• Kevlar laminated into keel• Double-wide helm and companion seating• Sculptured hull sides• Two storage compartments in cockpit sole• Seating for 4 people in the helm and companion seating facing forward
Design and Styling
The folks at Chaparral have always known that many things must be executed correctly in order to be a sales leader in class. Foremost among those elements is the design and styling of the boat. If it is not beautiful, the model won’t fly. To that end Chaparral has developed a distinctive profile and styling features that the marketplace has soundly approved.
No matter how fast or slow the boat really is, Chaparral’s designers know the boat must look fast. The rounded sheerline of the stern quarters gracefully bending down to the integrated swim platform does exactly that. A number of boats round the sheerline to the stern, but Chaparral’s designers have managed to do it a bit differently. Her sheer breaks a bit further forward than most boats, and that small detail makes all of the difference to the trained nautical eye.
Note that the 307, like almost all Chaparrals, has three ports in the stern quarters – not two or four. The three signature stainless steel engine air vents accentuate the racy look, employing an affectation that automotive stylists have used for 75 years. They are a classic icon in our culture to denote power and speed and they work just as well today on the 307 SSX as it did in 1935 on a Duesenberg.As if all of this weren’t enough, Chaparral has installed blue LED lights in the ports just to make sure they are seen at night.
We can count on one hand the number of bowriders that have sculptured hull sides. Historically boat builders have avoided designing hulls with reliefs because to do so requires extra expense and manufacturing complexity. Essentially most hulls slide out of female tooling much like Jell-O from one of Betty Crocker’s molds. In order to add the cool-looking sculptured relief in the hull sides Chaparral has had to make a two-part hull mold. It is another one of the elements that sets the 307 SSX apart.
Everyone knows that a swept back windscreen denotes speed, again something else we have been taught by automotive stylists. Some boat builders carry this to an extreme by making the windshield so low and angled back that the driver is looking directly at the windshield header when underway – no matter that this is contrary to ABYC Standards. What makes the header on the 307’s windshield so noteworthy is not that it is at the proper height above the skipper’s eye level when seated, but the fact that it has a polished stainless steel header. This is standard equipment on the 307 SSX whereas it is optional on most sportboats, if offered at all. A polished ss header not only makes any boat look like a premium model, it also makes the boat look fast.
Major Standard Features
• VacuFlush toilet with a 6.5 gal. holding tank• Storage in forward cockpit sole• Double-wide helm and companion seats• SS windshield header• SS anchor davit• Lenco trim tabs• Insulated integrated cooler which drains overboard• Wet Sounds premium stereo system with 6 speakers and a 4-channel amp
The 307 SSX’s Performance
The Chaparral 307 SSX has an LOA of 30'6" (9.3 m), a beam of 9'6" (2.95 m) and a draft of 31’’ (56 cm). With an empty weight of 9,200 lbs. (4,536 kg), 100 gallons (379 L) of fuel and three people onboard we had an estimated test weight of 10,405 lbs. (4,720 kg).
With a pair of Volvo Penta V-8 300s turning duo prop outdrives with F6 propellers we reached a top speed at 4980 RPM of 52.2 mph. At that speed we were burning 45 GPH giving us a range of 131 miles. Best cruise came in at 3000 RPM and 29.6 mph. That speed reduced the fuel burn to 17.5 GPH which the 307 could keep up for 190 miles and 6 hours and 24 minutes while still maintaining a 10% reserve.
We had a time to plane of 4.2 seconds, accelerated through 20 mph in 6.1 seconds, 30 mph in 9.4 seconds, 40 came and went in 13.2 seconds and we continued accelerating through 50 mph in 20.4 seconds.
As always, we had to take the boat somewhere with calm water so we could get steady boat-to-boat camera footage, but the ride to that location was a choppy one. It gave us a perfect opportunity to get a feel for the 307 in an actual cruising environment, and ride was impressive. She presented a surprisingly dry ride regardless of the angle the waves were coming from. Regardless of whether we ran her through a beam sea, following or even quartering sea she tracks surprisingly straight and true as hands were removed from the steering wheel.
Even more surprising was how solid the 307 SSX felt. There was never a feel of pounding, or people getting tossed about… just a smooth, stable ride through the chop. Granted, sea legs become a factor, but one of the crew on board casually walked from the stern to the bow just to get a better feel for the ride and there was no struggling with maintaining posture or position, and this is in over 30 mph through the chop. That says a lot for Chaparral's deep-V hull design, and confirms my attitude that these boats have come a long way through the design phase.
If I had to pick a downside it would have to be during high-performance turns where she exhibited a bit of the chine walk as she came around. But to be fair, this didn't happen during normal turns, just through our "drive-it-like-you-stole-it" type of turns that people rarely do in the real world.Upon acceleration she presents a minimal 8 ½ -degree bow rise with no loss of visibility to the horizon. She leans 10 to 15-degrees into the turns, and when taking power off she settles back into the water stern first.
Detailed Boat Inspection
The forward cockpit of this 30’ bowrider is wide and large without having to use the pickle fork deck design that some builders employ. Rather, the 307’s 9’6” beam is simply carried a bit further forward and bow flare takes care of the rest of the width necessary to provide enough space forward for five large adults to sit, or even more children. The aft facing forward seat in the bow is wide and a seat back/bolster rings the entire seating area.
Beam Pays Off.
Boaters moving up from a smaller bowrider with an 8’6” beam will appreciate the extra foot of beam which makes the boat seem, oh, so much bigger – and it is. A standard table fits into a side mount fixture forward allowing five people to have lunch, snacks or cocktails forward. Because the bow area is so large, when entertaining it permits the boat to be a real “two-ring” circus. Port and starboard seats have fixed chaise-style seat backs as most bowriders have these days. What is different is that these two seats open up fore-and-aft and are supported by two robust hinges. Underneath they have finished fiberglass tubs that are easy to clean. Synthetic mats have been placed inside as standard. Under the forward bow seat is an insulated compartment with overboard drain so it can be used as a cooler.
A rule of thumb in most boats is that there is never enough storage space, and the exception is the 307 SSX that just might prove the rule. Another deviation from the norm in class is a large hatch in the forward cockpit sole accessing a storage compartment. This, together with the even deeper deck compartment in the main cockpit, provide all the space most anyone might need for a day’s outing.A 36 qt. cooler comes standard and stows under the seat behind the helm or in the optional wet bar.
To port is the head compartment/changing room. It has a finished fiberglass headliner and floor liner. Chaparral has done a good job of fitting out this compartment and we are hard-pressed to come up with anything more it could add here. A VacuFlush toilet is standard and it has a porcelain bowl, along with a 6.5 gal. holding tank with level indicator.Outboard is a good-looking solid counter top with stainless steel wash basin and pressure water. There is a pull-out sprayer. Above it is an opening portlight. Behind the toilet is a mirror and storage. There is also storage below the counter.
The head sole is wood and there is an exhaust fan, standard, something that we have seen omitted on million-dollar cruisers. The door to the head is cut out above making entry easier for tall adults. While there is not standing headroom in the compartment, once inside and seated on the toilet there is enough sitting headroom for most people.This compartment also serves as a changing room so folks can get out of wet bathing suits and into dry sportswear.
Both the helm seat and the companion seat are double-wide which means that four people can sit facing forward adjacent to the skipper. For families this arrangement makes piloting more fun for mom and the kids and it also means two couples can have the thrill of speeding across the water at over 50 mph. This is an important attribute of the boat in our opinion.
Both the helm and the companion seats are a single wrap-around bucket style with an open lumbar area for ventilation. A flip up bolster is provided but we found both visibility and comfort to be sufficient without ever using it.
Under the helm console is a large storage space that can be used for any number of things, such as water toys, an air pump, or storage for cruising canvas. It is easy just to cram things into this space, but we recommend that everything be put in its own container or bag in order to keep things organized and readily available. This space is accessed through a hatch just behind the bi-fold acrylic doors leading to the bow under the windscreen.
One of the aspects of any boat’s build that puts it into the “premium” category is the interior upholstery. No place is this more evident than at the helm of the 307 SSX. Chaparral went with multiple shades of earth tones starting with a dark brown brow over the panel. The steering wheel is wrapped in real leather which is soft to the touch and padded just enough to provide a firm grip. The dash from the instrument brow to the windscreen is a dark textured vinyl which reduces glare on the glass.We like the carefully-designed bulwarks adjacent to the helm which supports the throttles and the joystick. Both are placed at precisely the correct height and angle to be ergonomically correct with the skipper’s right elbow and forearm resting comfortably on an upholstered support. All of the vinyl is double stitched and has been as expertly contoured as one might find on a fine, German-made automobile.
Two pairs of multi function gauges are to either side of an optional Garmin moving map display recessed into a finished wood frame. Waterproof rocker switches are below and to both sides of the helm and all have icons for international recognition and back lighting for night use. All the way to the right is a single fuel gauge having a prominent location for visibility. A starboard windshield wiper is standard. Below and to the right, our test boat was fitted with the twin Volvo Penta EVC displays, one for each engine.
The in deck storage locker is hinged from the front allowing it to open from the rear making it accessible from both sides. Chaparral went with a storage within storage theme and added a pull out drawer to the starboard side of the compartment, tucked under the deck. This is a clever use of space and one that we’ll likely see other builders copy. There is more than enough room in this compartment for wakeboards, skis and other water toys.
Cockpit Guest Seating.
Chaparral has designed a J-shaped seating arrangement behind the helm and companion seat that nearly makes a complete circle in the cockpit. In the standard version the seating plan can easily accommodate 7-8 adults.
Upholstery is two-toned. The port seat lifts up to reveal the battery switches. Abaft the helm seat is a long fore-and-aft bench seat, half of which can be replaced with an optional wet bar with refrigerator underneath. The aft seat can be converted with the push of a button into a large sun pad.
The optional wet bar with simulated granite sold surface is a classy touch and one we recommend for people who will be doing lots of entertaining aboard. For those primarily occupied with water sports with lots of kids, it is probably not necessary.A standard table mounts on the port side.
The Engine Room.
A power-activated ram lifts the aft seat/sun pad to reveal the engine room. Because of the boat’s 9’6" beam this compartment is large. For those opting for a single-engine version, there will obviously be even more storage space. The engine room is the best dryer we have ever used and wet clothes can be put here on a rack and will be ready for use remarkably fast during an active day on the water.
For many boat owners this will be the business end of the 307 SSX. Chaparral has created a clean, uncluttered large platform that is made for action. The rumble seat is nearly as wide as the boat, save for the passage to the cockpit. The swim platform is the width of the boat and measures almost 3’ fore-and-aft. Importantly, it is molded in as part of the hull and extends beyond the lower units when they are in the down position. That makes it safe for swimmers slipping off of the platform into the water.
The sides of the platform extend beyond the hull sides, which means the boat can be easily boarded from a floating dock on either side of the swim platform. There is a standard shower by the passageway to the cockpit. An aluminum gate latches which will keep pets inside.
Under the platform is Chaparral’s “Extended V-Plane" hull which carries the bottom aft of the transom on either side of the drive well. This design gives the boat added buoyancy in the stern which contributes to her low bow rise when getting on plane. It also gives the boat more running surface which allows higher speeds on plane.
Under the Platform.
The 307 SSX has a 22-degree deadrise at the transom which will give her a more cushioned ride when in choppy conditions and makes the boat more appropriate for coastal cruising. Electrically-actuated Lenco trim tabs are standard equipment.
The Chaparral 307 SSX is in a league with the finest premium boats in class on the market in our opinion. Her list of standard equipment is impressive, the execution of the interior fit-and-finish is world-class, and her performance speaks for itself. We like the single-engine option as there are boaters who simply don’t need the top-end speed that twins can crank out. When it comes to styling, we think the 307 SSX will look hot for a long time to come.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Chaparral 307 SSX (2014-) is 52.2 mph (84 kph), burning 45.00 gallons per hour (gph) or 170.32 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Chaparral 307 SSX (2014-) is 29.6 mph (47.6 kph), and the boat gets 1.69 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.72 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 190 miles (305.78 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 300-hp Volvo Penta V8.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|