Classic muscle cars never lose their appeal, which is why they keep coming back. The Ford Mustang. The Dodge Charger. It isn't like Buick can reintroduce the 1981 Regal to oohs and aahs. But watch what happens when Chevy officially unveils the old/new Camaro in a couple years.
The same concept holds true for boats. If a boat looks fast and is well-built, it will continue to be hot even as the decades click by. That's the obvious backdrop for the Four Winns Horizon 200 SS.
We say it's obvious because the boat gives the initial impression of a street rod. The solid-hull-color gelcoat runs from the keel to the rub rails, and the smoke windshield stretches only high enough to add dramatic contrast to the color scheme. Like the scripted SS along the hull sides, it's there to make a statement about the boat.
It's one thing to see a tight little speedster. It's something else to hear it and feel it while manning the controls. Four Winns has made the powerful MerCruiser 350 MPI the optimum engine for the 200 SS. During our test, the rumble of the big motor with standard through-hull exhaust brought the lake to life. And this was while we were still idling out of the no-wake zone.
Once in open water, the 200 SS jumped onto plane in less than three seconds. That's water-sports acceleration, and is a reminder that Four Winns took cues from the ski-boat market when developing the angles on the boat. The pop out of the hole is also a result of the company's patented Stable-Vee hull, which has pods in the aft running surface and a specially designed deadrise that forces the boat into a planing attitude. We felt the difference in 35 mph turns, too. With the drive trimmed down, the boat buttonhooked without banking or losing its grip. The Stable-Vee has been around since 1993, but continues to impress us in tests.
Sporty as the 200 SS is, it's easy to forget the recreational nature of the boat. One side of the sun pad hinges up to ease access to the cockpit from the molded platform. The stern seat converts to a lower-level sun pad, and storage is vast on each side of the engine bay and within the cockpit floor.
When I returned to the dock after running the boat, my 5-year-old daughter stared wide-eyed at me and asked, "What happened to your hair, Daddy?" One of these days she'll understand the meaning of an electrifying ride.
• A dedicated cooler is found under the stern seat, and the glove box is insulated and has a drain, so it can also be used to chill drinks.
• Color-coordinated dash is tooled instead of wrapped, and it carries the exterior look over to the helm.
• Molded swim platform covers up the outdrive and prop, and the boarding ladder angles out and away from the underwater drive mechanisms.
• Sound system is based on a Clarion CMD4 head unit with satellite capability. The boat comes with a six-month Sirius subscription.
At a Glance
The solid hull color and smoke windshield target a high-energy crowd. The bold helm station adds to the sports-car appeal.
Length Overall: 19'8"
Dry Weight: 2,980 to 3,120 lb.
People/Weight Capacity: 8/1,400 lb.
Fuel Capacity (w/ PTX): 35 gal.
Maximum HP: 300
NMMA Certified: Yes
MSRP (w/ MerCruiser 350 MPI): $43,885
Test Engine: MerCruiser 350 Mag MPI, Bravo I
Test Props: 14.75 x 21
Test Load: People (420 lb.), Fuel (10 gal.)
Top Speed: 59 mph @ 5,200 rpm
Time to Plane: 2.8 sec.
Cruising 7 High Performance
Sport 2 Entertainment
Protected Water 3 Open water
Value 4 Premium
More on this boat: www.fourwinns.com