The idling rumble of MerCruiser’s two new 430 hp 8.2-liter stern-drives greeted us at the dock on our test day — our first experience with a pair of these new engines. The experience was made even more notable because of the hull in which they were mounted: Chaparral’s new 327 SSX — the latest yacht-size bowrider we’ve seen with a cuddy that didn’t compromise the bow walk-through or fall down on the promise of belowdecks comfort.
We approached our test with optimism, and our experience did not disappoint.
Mike Fafard, Chaparral’s vice president of engineering, was on hand to tour me around, and he stepped back a minute to watch me drink in the deck plan before stepping aboard to comment.
Entry to the cockpit was easy with a step from the dock to the platform and then an easy step up, then down to the deck. The entry is nearly fully shaded by a fiberglass hardtop, now a trademark of Chaparral’s yachty runabouts and express cruisers.