TAHOE has always specialized in affordable, entry-level sportboats, but for the last couple of years it has been slowly introducing more stylish models that have numerous upgrades, sleek styling and up-graded details that we often don’t see in class. The 21’ (6.46 m) TAHOE 700 rides on a V-bottom that has a sharp bow entry and 20-degrees of deadrise at the transom. This makes for a comfortable ride in chop. Powered with a 6.2 L 300-hp MPI ECT sterndrive, she planed in just 3.2 seconds in our tests, and hit a top speed of 55.7 mph.
|Length Overall||21' / 6.40 m|
2.34 m (max)
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||3.2 sec.|
|0 to 30||7.0 sec.|
|Props||Enertia 14 1/4" x 18" 3-bl ss|
|Load||2 persons, full fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear|
|Climate||57 deg., 71 humid.; wind: 0-6 mph; seas: calm|
1 x 300-hp MerCruiser 6.2 DTS Bravo
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The new Tahoe 700 was developed as a replacement for the company’s Q7i runabout. At 21’ (6.4 m) long, the 700 is the manufacturer’s biggest runabout model and she was designed to have a bigger, deeper bow and more cockpit space than her predecessor.
The 700 comes standard with dual bucket seats, a Bluetooth stereo with USB, MP3 and 12-volt plugs, a 36-quart (34-liter) cooler, and a tandem-axle trailer. She’s powered by a single-prop stern drive up to 300-hp.
The Bow. Since the bow was a focal point of the design for the 700, we’re going to start up front. The side lounges are 4’ (1.22 m) long, and the backrests on the consoles are set at a comfortable angle. The seats are 1’4” (40.6 cm) off the bow deck, and the backrests are 1’5” (43.18 cm) tall, giving the bow a deep secure feel. There are four cup holders plus two grabrails and speakers in the bow.
The forward bow cushion secures with a track and bead plus two snap-down straps beneath the side cushions, so it won’t fly out when the boat is running down the lake or being towed over the road.
Bow Storage. Each outboard lounge cushion is hinged, and the lockers beneath them are fully finished. The openings have channels around to route water away from the compartments, which are drained.
The backrests on each side also lift up to provide access to storage and to the dash rigging to starboard and amplifier for the upgraded stereo to port.
With the aforementioned bow cushion removed, there’s a step up to the foredeck and a hatch in the step opens the anchor locker. We would like to see a cleat abaft the navigation light that could be used for tying off docklines and the anchor rode.
The Cockpit. The 700’s tempered safety glass windshield is framed in powder-coated aluminum and the center section opens a 1’9”-wide (53.3 cm) passageway to the cockpit. The driver and a companion travel in bucket seats that have ventilated backrests cutouts, so the occupant can turn sideways and foldup bolsters. Each seat also swivels and adjusts fore and aft.
The port console has a small storage tray to port, a remote control for the stereo, and a cell phone holder below the glove box that contains an expandable net and MP3 and USB ports and a 12-volt plug.
The Helm. To starboard, helm has a modern feel with the digital shift and throttle on the gunwale and the Mercury SmartCraft Vessel View screen in the center of the dash. If a boat comes without the digital controls, it has analog gauges. To starboard of the steering wheel, the accessory switches are push-button style that illuminate when activated. A Master Power switch shuts down the entire12-volt system, so an accessory that’s accidentally left on can’t kill the battery. The key and a 12-volt plug are to the left of the wheel.
Cockpit Seating. Starting abaft the port bucket seat, the L-shaped cockpit lounge wraps all the way across the stern, and the top of the engine hatch is a 6’6” (1.98 m) wide sunlounge. The starboard-most cushions on the cockpit lounge and the sunpad are hinged and lift up. Additionally, the port cushion on the sunlounge is hinged, and it raises to create a chaise-style seat.
Cockpit Storage. A tray in the starboard gunwale has space for docklines and fenders and a bungee cord to hold the contents in place. A locker in the base of the port side aft facing lounge opens on a gas strut. The base is covered in a soft rubber mat and inside the compartment, there’s a dedicated towrope rack.
Beneath the center bench cushion, there’s a removable 36-quart (34-liter) cooler, and when the cooler is opened, the top holds up the cushion. Additionally, a hatch in the passageway to the stern opens a draining compartment.
Forward, between the bucket seats, the locking ski locker is 6’ (1.83 m) long, 2’ (.61 m) wide, and 1’1” (33 cm) deep. The opening is 1’5” (43.18 cm) wide. Inside, there’s a rack for a paddle, and we’d like to see Tahoe line this compartment with some soft rubber at to cushion the ride for boards and skis.
The Stern. Our test boat had Tahoe’s optional extension that adds 1’6” (45.7 cm) of depth to the 700’s swim platform. A family whose members spend a lot of time at the end of a towrope will likely spend the money for the extension and for the soft vinyl Sea Dek flooring on our test boat. It felt soft underfoot and would be easy on boards and skis.
The re-boarding ladder to starboard is a four-step model and just ahead is the remote control for the optional stereo upgrade.
Engine Compartment. Two manual latches in the base of the sunlounge cushion open the expansive engine compartment. The fuel-injected V-8 in our test boat was installed on shock-absorbing mounts, and the battery and trim pump were easy to access to starboard. There’s open space to port where an owner might consider installing a plastic tub with a cover to increase the boat’s storage capacity.
Powerglide Bottom. The 700 rides on a V-bottom that has a sharp bow entry and 20 degrees of deadrise at the transom. Six lifting strakes run full length, and the chines are turned down to provide lift on takeoff and trip in turns.
The Specifications. With two people, 39 gal (147.6 L) of fuel, and test equipment on board, our test boat weighed an estimated 4,142 lbs. (1,878.8 kg).
She was powered by a 300-hp MerCruiser 6.2 L ECT fuel-injected stern drive with a 1.5:1 gear reduction, turning a 14 1/4” x 18” (36.2 m x 45.7 cm) Enertia three-blade stainless-steel propeller.
Our Numbers. We hit a top speed of 55.7 mph (48.4 knots) at 5350 rpm.
Best cruise came at 3000 rpm, where she ran 29.0 mph (25.2 knots) and burned 6.8 gph (25.7 lph). That’s 4.3 mpg (1.81 kpl), which gives the 700 a range of 161 statute miles (259 km) with 10 percent of the boat’s 42-gallon (158.99-liter) fuel capacity in reserve.
In acceleration tests, the boat planed in 3.2 seconds and ran to 20 mph (17.4 knots) in 4.9 seconds and to 30 mph (26.1 knots) in 7.0 seconds. We did record 20 degrees of bow rise under hard acceleration so use plenty of throttle to get the boat on plane to drop the bow quickly.
Tahoe’s Numbers. Tahoe tested the 700 with a number of engine and drive combinations. With the standard 200-hp MerCruiser 4.5 L stern drive with a 1.62:1 gear ratio, a 14 ½” x 17” (36.8 cm x 43.2 cm) Enertia three-blade stainless steel prop and 40 gallons (151.42 Liters) of fuel on board, the boat ran 46.3 mph (40.3 knots) at 5000 rpm.
Best cruise was 25 mph (21.7 knots) at 3000 rpm where the boat burned 5.95 gph, resulting in 4.2 mpg.
Moving up to the 250-hp V-6 with the same gear ratio and a 14 ½” x 19” (36.8 cm x 48.3 cm) Blackmax propeller, Tahoe saw a top speed of 51.2 mph (44.5 knots) at 5110 rpm.
Best cruise was again recorded at 3000 rpm where the boat ran 27.4 mph (23.8 knots) and burned 6.08 gph, which was good for 4.5 mpg.
A 300-hp 6.2 L ECT with a 1.65:1 ratio and a 13.8” x 21” (35.05 cm x 53.3 cm) Enertia prop produced a top speed of 59.2 mph (51.5 knots) at 5270 rpm. The boat burned 7.2 gph at 3000 rpm and 28.3 mph (24.6 knots) and 9 gph at 3500 rpm and 35.2 mph (30.6 knots), resulting in a mpg rating of 3.9 at both rpm settings.
Maneuverability. The Tahoe 700 was one of the smoothest handling stern drive runabouts we’ve driven in recent memory. We felt fully confident cranking the wheel hard over at 40 or 45 mph. The boat carved cleanly through the maneuver in each direction and in slalom passes, she whipped through S turns as quickly as we could turn the wheel. Her sharp bow entry cut through lake chop and our photo boat’s wakes with ease.
Construction. Tahoe builds the 700 with a hand-laid fiberglass hull and stringer system. The hull and deck are chemically bonded and mechanically fastened with stainless-steel hardware and the fully gel-coated stringers are bonded to the hull and filled with flotation foam. The boat is available in Black Cherry, Victory Read, Onyx, Blueberry or Storm Blue hullside colors.
Trailer. The Tahoe 700 comes on a factory-matched tandem-axle trailer with brakes on one axle that’s color-matched to the boat. It has 14” (35.6 cm) wheels, a swing-away tongue, folding tongue jack, submersible lights, and retractable safety cables.
- •Limited Warranty for one year from the date of purchase by the original owner
- •Five Years on the hull, interior hull stringers and transom
- •Limited Warranty for one year on trailer from the date of purchase
- •Three years against structural failure or corrosion on galvashield galvanized steel tubing.
- •250-hp MerCruiser 4.5 L Alpha
- •300-hp MerCruiser 6.2 L ECT Bravo One
- •300-hp MerCruiser 6.2 L ECT Bravo One DTS
Options to Consider
- •Snap-In Woven Vinyl Flooring
- •Tilt steering wheel
- •SS propeller
- •Wakeboard tower w/black bimini top
- •Wakeboard racks (Two per side)
- •Fiberglass Swim Platform extension w/four-step boarding ladder
- •Sea Dek flooring on swim platform (requires extension)
- •Color-Keyed bimini top with boot, drop-down changing curtain and stainless steel frame
- •Color-matched bow and cockpit covers
- •Color-matched rope ratchet mooring cover
- •Bow filler cushion
- •Mercury Vessel View screen
- •Stereo upgrade includes 3.5” (8.9 cm) Kicker LCD display, 500-watt Amp, 10” (25.4 cm) subwoofer and upgraded Kicker speakers, dual remote controls at dash and swim platform
- •Charger for cranking battery
- •Corsa Performance Captains Choice thru-hull exhaust for 6.2 L ECT only.
- •Spare tire kit for trailer
- •Brakes on two trailer axles
The Tahoe 700 has everything an active family needs to enjoy a day of watersports. We liked the performance with the upgraded 300-hp engine and feel that it’s an option that owners would want to consider if they tend to bring along a crowd for a day on the water.
Her cockpit and bow have a deep secure feel that should be popular with parents of younger kids. At 21’ (6.4 m) long, she’s probably a second boat for many families that started with an 18’ (5.49 m) or 19’ (5.79 m) bowrider. Her two-tone textured upholstery and fit and finish give the 700 a luxurious look and feel that tell us this is not an entry-level class boat.
Estimated package weight for the boat on the trailer is 4,850 lbs. (2,199.9 kg), which is within the towing capabilities of a variety of mid-sized SUVs and pickups.