Made the List Because: Our test team has enjoyed and praised Chaparral’s WideTech hulls in the company’s runabout lineup since they were introduced a few years ago. When Chaparral applied the advantages of strong chines carried far forward and widened the bow to a pickle-fork look, we could tell the boat was going to be roomy inside and WideTech fun to drive. Our test waters were rough as a cob, as the expression goes, but our ride was smoother than it deserved to be. Chaparral capitalized on the pickle-fork look topside by expanding walkways to the cleats, easing passage for the crew. Below, the design increased space for the forward berth, giving ample access to it from port or starboard sides and wide sleeping comfort once tucked in. Then there is that two-faced aft cabin — a handsome area for watching the standard flat-panel TV or quickly converting to a private double berth with privacy curtain. And it was a performer with smaller 5.0-liter engines.
Lasting Test Impression: At our optimum cruise speed at 3,500 rpm, the 310 Signature got an economical 2.7 gph, yet the top speed was sporty at 45.5 mph, and we felt we could snap a skier from the water with five seconds to plane.