See Full Captain's Report

Boat Test Videos
Text Size: AAA

The new Tahoe Q8 SSi can be summed up as a well thoughtout family boat that delivers speed, good standard features, and the fit-and-finish more typical in sportboats far more expensive. Our testing showed that this 21’8” (8.73 m) runabout powered by a 300-hp MerCruiser engine with a Bravo III drive averaged 54.3 mph in our speed trials. She demonstrated no bad handling habits at speed, and with the dual-prop was easy to maneuver around the marina.

Key Features

  • Full-width aft swim platform with fold-down boarding ladder & insulated storage
  • Stainless steel ski tow pylon
  • Fore & aft lounge seating with storage
  • Oversized aft sundeck with storage
  • 500 GPH (1,892.71 LPH) bilge pump
  • In-floor ski/wakeboard storage
  • Port & starboard consoles with walk-thru windshield, glovebox, ice chest, easy-to-read gauges, compass, sport steering wheel, Lowrance depth finder & AM/FM/CD stereo with MP3 jack, four directional speakers & the ability to accept our optional Sirius Satellite Radio package
  • Passenger grab handles
  • Custom-matched trailer with galvashield corrosion protection, EZ lube hubs & swing-away tongue
Length Overall 21' 8''
6.6 m
Beam 8' 6''
2.59 m
Dry Weight 3,500 lbs.
1,587 kg
Tested Weight N/A
Draft N/A
- Draft Up N/A
- Draft Down N/A
- Air Draft N/A
Deadrise/Transom 24 deg.
Max Headroom open
Bridge Clearance N/A
Weight Capacity N/A
Person Capacity N/A
Fuel Capacity 49 gal.
185 L
Water Capacity none
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.

Std. Power 1 x 190-hp MerCruiser 4.3L V-6
Tested Power 1 x 300-hp Mercury Centurion
Opt. Power 1 x 220-hp MerCruiser 4.3L V-6
1 x 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG
1 x 220-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG SeaCore Bravo III
1 x 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0 MPI SeaCore Bravo I
1 x 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0 MPI V-8 Alpha ECT

Captain’s Report by Christopher Hughes---

Tahoe Q8 SSi
2012 Tahoe Q8 SSi family sportboat with a layout that is well suited for on-water fun and functionality.

Tahoe’s Mission

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.

Tahoe Q8 SSi
The integrated swim platform with swim ladder, cooler/wet-storage and a tow point.
Tahoe Q8 SSi
Under the slide-away seat cushion is storage.  Next to the drink holder is a courtesy light.
Tahoe Q8 SSi
There is a fire extinguisher port on the transom walkthrough, something that has yet to be widely installed in the boat-building community.
Tahoe Q8 SSi
Under the aft bench seating in the center is an insulated, self-draining cooler. The black strap on the underside of the seat cushion connects to the black hook on the seat. All of the seats can be secured this way so there are no worries of cushions flying off at speed.
Tahoe Q8 SSi
Tahoe has maximized the interior width of the Q8 SSi which has an exterior 8’ 6" (2.59 m) beam. The helm seat has a standard bolster.

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. 

Tahoe Q8 SSi
Tahoe Q8 SSi sole locker will hold just about anything. The vents in the hatch are designed to keep mildew at bay.  It drains into the bildge.

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.

Tahoe Q8 SSi
Storage located to either side of the 19” (48 cm) wide walkthrough.

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.

Tahoe Q8 SSi
Analog gauges are easy to read at a glance and all vital signs are monitored. Tilt steering is standard.
Tahoe Q8 SSi
Tahoe Q8 SSi port console is stylishly designed and functional.

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.

Tahoe Q8 SSi
The Q8 SSi is an affordable boat with 66” (15 cm) cleats, including 2 amidships (A) for fenders and spring lines. (B) Note the low, sleek curved windshield which has no side mullion, this not only looks cool but has better visibility. (C) There is no door or curtain to block wind. (D) We’d like to see a snap here to hold the center windshield when open.
Tahoe Q8 SSi
Typically passengers ride facing forward with their legs up on the seat.

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.

Tahoe Q8 SSi
The battery on the Q8 SSi is installed on the starboard side of the engine.

Power Options

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.

Tahoe Q8 SSi
Powered with the 300-hp 5.0L engine and using a Bravo III drive we recorded a top speed over 54 mph.

Performance Trials

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.

Tahoe Q8 SSi
Once on plane the Q8 SSi rides with 5 degrees of bow rise which is normal.

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 Q8 SSi
This picture explains what sportboats are all about – family fun on the water.


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.


CD Stereo Standard
Shore Power Standard

Exterior Features

Carpet: Cockpit Optional Snap-in
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc Standard
Swim Ladder Standard
Swim Platform Standard
Tower: Watersports Optional


Bimini Top Optional
Cockpit Cover Optional


Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!


Pricing Range: $31,995.00

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.

Test Results - Change Measurement Unit

RPM MPH Knots GPH MPG NMPG Stat. Mile NM dBa
660 4.3 3.7 1.0 4.3 3.7 187 163 67
1000 6.1 5.3 1.7 3.6 3.1 157 136 67
1500 8.4 7.3 3.4 2.5 2.2 109 95 70
2000 17.7 15.4 5.0 3.6 3.1 158 137 71
2500 26.1 22.7 6.0 4.4 3.8 193 168 83
3000 32.5 28.2 8.6 3.8 3.3 166 145 85
3500 38.9 33.8 10.5 3.7 3.2 164 143 87
4000 44.7 38.9 13.6 3.3 2.9 145 126 89
4500 51.8 45.0 19.2 2.7 2.4 119 104 94
4840 54.3 47.2 22.2 2.5 2.1 108 94 96
660 163 301 6.90 3.79 1.81 67
1000 136 253 9.80 6.44 1.51 67
1500 95 175 13.50 12.87 1.05 70
2000 137 254 28.50 18.93 1.52 71
2500 168 311 42.00 22.71 1.86 83
3000 145 267 52.30 32.55 1.60 85
3500 143 264 62.60 39.75 1.58 87
4000 126 233 71.90 51.48 1.40 89
4500 104 192 83.40 72.68 1.15 94
4840 94 174 87.40 84.04 1.04 96

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.