Spoiled For Choice
Choosing a bowrider in the 20-foot range is either easy or almost impossible, depending on your viewpoint. It's easy because there are so many on the market, and most of them are near clones of each other. It's difficult for the same reason: How do you pick the best one, the best balance of price, quality, styling and features? Let's start with price, an area where the Tahoe Q8 SSi is hard to beat.Base price of the Q8 SSi is $33,995 with a 220-hp MerCruiser 4.3 MPI ECT Alpha sterndrive; this is a catalyzed engine that meets the new CARB emissions requirements. Some dealers may still have Q8s with non-catalyzed engines for a few thousand bucks less, but the supply is limited. Engine options up to a 300-hp 350 MAG ECT Bravo 3 ($42,795 with SeaCore) are listed, but Tahoe says other engines "may be available." Maximum hp is 320.
The standard boat is very complete, and includes a dual-axle trailer. Most buyers will add canvas and upgrade the standard radio to an ear-blasting stereo ($315); wakeboarders will want the folding tower ($3,375 with racks, $2,625 without). Tahoe has options packages that include both an upgraded stereo and the tower with speakers.
How Is She Built?
Like many boatbuilders today, Tahoe uses composites throughout, with no wood in the structure. The hull is hand-laid, wth foam-filled fiberglass stringers supporting the bottom; the stringers not only add strength and durability, but also reduce noise, according to Tahoe. The hull-to-deck joint is protected by a heavy-duty rubrail with stainless insert. The cockpit is all fiberglass, too, with molded non-skid. Buyers can choose among Citron Yellow, Black Cherry, Victory Red, Onyx and Blueberry for their hull color.
The Q8 SSi rides on Tahoe's PowerGlide hull, with 20 degrees of deadrise at the transom to produce a smooth ride and in Tahoe's words, "all around stellar performance." Ahem...we haven't test the boat so can't say whether or not the folks at Tahoe are just being modest. The company claims speeds in the 48 – 50 mph (77.2 - 80.5 kph) range with the 220-hp Merc. Bump up the juice to 300-hp and expect up to 54 mph (86.9 kph), according to the builder. These are not BoatTEST.com figures. The standard engine is a 4.3L Merc.
What's the Competition
At its "No Hassle" price of $33,995 with the 4.3L engine, compared to other sport boats this size, the Tahoe is definitely grouped with a few other brands in the low-price point category. Standard and optional equipment need to be carefully compared to discover the lowest priced boat. Have fun.
To be fair to yourself and to Tahoe, you should put the Q8 SSi on your short list if you are looking for a low priced sportboat. Get on the boats and see which one best fits your body and your family. It is then you'll best begin to see the differences. You'll know what to do.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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