Captain’s Report by Christopher Hughes---
Tahoe’s mission for the Q8 SSi was to upgrade the quality, performance and fit and finish of its new model – in addition to keeping the boat affordable, its traditional market niche. The builder also wanted to introduce some exciting style and sex-appeal in its new Q8's styling. Based on what I saw when testing the Q8, I’d say Tahoe met all of its objectives. Take a look at the pictures and decide on the new styling for yourself.
A Stern Look
Let’s start our look aft with the integrated swim platform. To starboard is a three-step swim ladder with two grab handles mounted on the platform to either side. To port is a small insulated compartment that can be a cooler or storage for most anything included wet swim suits. Note the tow point mounted atop the transom. There is a wide transom walkthrough to port. The step down is a clever sliding seat cushion, slide it in for a non-skid step, and out for a padded seat. Instead of a traditional rectangular sunpad, Tahoe designed a curving one on top of the engine box. It followed this designed with a sweeping curve on the aft bench seat as well.
In The Cockpit
The cockpit has two adjustable pedestal-mounted wraparound seats which are finished in upholstery with stain-resistant top coating and UV-resistant vinyl and thread. In the center of the cockpit is a sole locker.
This sole locker has an opening that is 20” wide and will accommodate any ski or wakeboard, measures 16” deep and extends eleven feet towards the bow. Just forward of the locker is the walkthrough with storage below the helm and companion console. These hatches are made of King StarBoard and have been attached to their own frame via stainless piano hinge and have stainless latches.
The helm has a curved design in keeping with theme established aft. We like this harmonious attention to detail. There are two large and five small analog gauges on the instrument panel, each with a chrome bezel and they are back-lit. The premium wheel has tilt adjust and both the helm and companion console are covered with a rubberized glare-reducing coating. A Lowrance depth finder is standard. To either side of the wheel are waterproof toggle-style switches and with circuit breakers below.
The port console has a waterproof AM/FM stereo with mp3 jack, courtesy 12V power outlet and a lockable glove box. The glove box is also an insulated and drained mini cooler. Under the passenger grab handle is carpeted in-gunwale storage.
At the Bow
Moving to the bow, the walkthrough is 19'' wide. Sitting in the seats forward I was able to stretch out my legs forward. The seats are plush and comfortable. The back rests wraparound to create a side bolster with a grab handle located forward on both sides. There is storage under each seat which is gel coated fiberglass and drained. There are two more 6'' cleats at the bow. There is no anchor locker, but one of the storage compartments under the forward seats can be used for the anchor and rode.
The Q8 SSi has several power options from 190-hp up to 300-hp. Our test boat was powered by a single 300-hp 5.0L MerCruiser 350 MAG ECT Centurion connected to a Bravo III dual prop drive. (MSRP: $43,349.) The engine compartment is large and easily accessed by releasing two latches and lifting the sunpad. Two small bulkheads provided additional storage to port and starboard of the engine with the battery is located to starboard.
During our test we recorded an average top speed of 54.3 mph at 4840 rpm while burning 22.2 gph for a estimated range of 108 statute miles. We found that the most economical cruising speed was at 2500 rpm where we averaged 26.1 mph while burning 6.0 gph, getting 4.38 mpg for an estimated range of 193 statute miles. Our time to plane averaged 4.2 seconds and we recorded a 0-30 time of 7.6 seconds.
Handling and Ride
The ride was solid and the Q8 SSi has agility at all speeds. Passing through waves and wakes was more like pushing them down with no bump or pounding coming from the hull. From a standing stop to getting on planethere was 12 degrees of bow rise. It quickly settled down to about 5 degrees once we were on plane. The only problem I encountered was when seated the upper windshield frame was right at eye level. With the bolster up though, visibility was fine over the windshield. Something I liked when back at the marina was that I could drive standing and easily reach the throttle. Steering with one fingertip was possible and easy.
When towing between 18 and 25 mph and put into a relatively sharp turn, she did not bleed off speed as some boats do. This will be good news to skippers without a lot of experience. Overall I would say that the team at Tahoe definitely hit their goal of designing and building a sleek, sporty, and comfortable family boat. Priced as tested this boat, motor, trailer package comes in just over $44K.
Tahoe warrants the hull, interior stringers and transom from material and workmanship defects for five years. It covers components for one year which it makes and other equipment and components made by third-party vendors are covered by their own warranties. The trailers are made with Galvashield steel tubing and are warranted against structural failure due to corrosion for three years.
With the Q8 SSi package Tahoe is trying hard to upgrade the quality of its boats in the affordable market niche. We are particularly impressed with its tandem-axle trailer that has a disc surge break on one of the axles. The builder’s new exterior and interior styling speaks for itself and certainly has sizzle. As far has speed and handling goes, we could not have asked any more from the boat we tested. If you haven't looked at a Tahoe lately, I suggest you take the time to see the Q8.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Tahoe Q8 SSi (2012-) is 54.3 mph (87.4 kph), burning 22.2 gallons per hour (gph) or 84.03 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Tahoe Q8 SSi (2012-) is 44.7 mph (71.9 kph), and the boat gets 3.29 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.4 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 145 miles (233.35 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 300-hp Mercury Centurion.
Standard and Optional Features
|Carpet: Cockpit||Optional Snap-in|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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