European boaters looking for a slick cuddy should include Europe Marine's Viper V203 on their short list. At 6.25 m (20' 6") overall, the V203 combines German quality with an attractive starting price and a long list of accessories and optional power, including several diesels. Her builder, Europe Marine, has been in the boating business since 1988, and not only builds Vipers from 5.38 m (17' 8") to 9.80m (32' 2") but also imports Four Winns, Glastron, Rinker, Monterey and Quicksilver boats; runs its own dealership, with a 2,000 sq. m. (21,500 sq. ft.) showroom; operates a 30-boat marina on the Rhine River; and provides winter storage and full marine services in a 3,000 sq. m. (32,300 sq. ft.) facility. You can buy your Viper and have all your boating needs met without ever leaving Europe Marine.
|Length Overall||20' 6'' / 6.25 m|
Currently not test numbers
1 x 135-hp MerCruiser 3.0L
Pick Your Power
The standard Viper V203 comes with a 135-hp MerCruiser 3.0L sterndrive, adequate horsepower for lakes, rivers and sheltered waters – but many buyers will want more, so Europe Marine will build V203s with a number of engines. Both MerCruiser and Volvo Penta sterndrives are available; top of the power range is the Volvo 4.3 Gxi Duoprop, 225-hp, with electronic controls. That should satisfy all but the most speed-obsessed.
But there are diesel options, too: In Europe, where gasoline is astronomically expensive, diesels find their way into smaller boats than in the U.S. The Viper V203 can be powered with Volvo Penta D3 diesels rated from 140-hp to 220-hp, spinning either single-prop SX or Duoprop drives. Even a pair of Volkswagen Marine TDI diesels are available, 150- or 165-hp.
Choose Your Options
Standard price of the Viper V203 with the 135-hp MerCruiser is €33,665 (approx. $46,000 U.S., or £28,700). For that price, the boat's ready to go, but most buyers will want to pick from the long list of options to customize their Viper. And some things are missing that should be standard – a compass, for example. Maybe you don't need one on the Rhine, but we like seeing one on top of the helm, just in case. On the other hand, a Bimini top with side curtains is standard, as is a cockpit table and a comfortable-looking swivel helm seat.
Besides the compass, we'd add tilt steering and a smoked-glass cabin door so we could lock-up our stuff, or have some privacy when using the optional Porta-Potti; a teak door is also available. The extended swim platform with Flexiteek decking would be nice, along with the swim ladder; otherwise the platform is too narrow, and doesn't provide protection against whacking the outdrive. We'd add a stereo, since none is standard; both a basic radio/CD and a Sony Marine Clarion are available.
We think the Viper V203 is well worth a close look for those considering a cuddy-cabin boat. The base price is competitive, there are lots of power choices and plenty of options to pick from. We'd consider investing extra Euros in a diesel sterndrive to cut operating costs, and hope we'd get most of it back when we sold the V203 to move to a bigger Viper. For option prices, contact the builder or a Viper dealer.
Europe Marine sells from its own showroom, but has dealers in most European countries. (Vipers aren't exported to the U.S.) Folks willing to invest in a trip to Budenheim can take a test drive before buying, something we strongly recommend. There's no better way to learn about a boat than by driving it.