To fully understand the running qualities of the all-new 214 FS, think of another type of runner: the track athlete.
There are two types of runners: the sprinter and the pacer. One can race a greyhound at top speed and the other can cover 10 miles with less effort than most people expend walking to the mailbox. You almost never see a runner who can do both.
A 21-foot bowrider normally has similar specialties. Rig it with an engine producing less than 300 hp and it will either cross into the 50-something mph category or will easily plane at slower speeds and burn less fuel. Rarely will one of these models honestly do both at the driver's whim. During a daylong test on the Butler Chain of Lakes in central Florida we found the all-new Monterey 214 FS to be one of those exceptions.
Our two-man crew spent a half-hour playing with the 214 at wakeboarding speeds of 18-20 mph, turning to evaluate the wakes.
"Clean," said my passenger, who at 250 pounds is as nimble on a wakeboard as a wiry young teen. As a longtime inboard guy he's also picky about wakes — no mush, smooth lips up top and gradual slopes. "That's as good as you'll get with a stern-drive."
We were easily able to hold the Volvo throttle at 18 mph, the boat displacing very little water for that speed — i.e., running effortlessly.
"OK," he said. Translation: Let's stop jogging.
With generous trim we could feel the hull rise, as if climbing vertically. Half a mile later we were running at nearly 53 mph.
This combination of efficiency and speed is a direct result of the new hull Monterey designed for its FS (Facet Series) models. They've pulled the running surface aft and carved out a bell housing for the outdrive (it looks like a deep wheel well on a car). In doing so, the running surface extends 10 inches beyond the outdrive, which moves the center of gravity forward for easier planing.
Monterey introduced this model in honor of the company's 20th anniversary, so there's an array of special designs above the running surface. Our test boat had a pewter dash with three gauges (one with multiple readouts), keeping the panel uncluttered.
"Clean" is a theme throughout. The rounded sunpad and transom (Monterey's trademark) crawl into the cockpit where seats are dramatically rounded as well. All upholstery is pleated, with upscale rope trim along the edges. This creates an at-home feel, though the exterior has sharply cut lines like a gem — a more obvious reason for the name "Facet" Series.
The platform itself is loaded — there's a freshwater shower and a fill cap for the 9-gallon tank, a retractable ladder and a compartment for wet items. Four stainless vents add sports-car appeal. For added gusto, buyers could opt for the 300-hp engine, but we're partial to our less pricey 5.0-liter test engine (our first option would be a wakeboard tower). With just that power, the 214 FS is a multi-talented runner.
• Latches and hinges are stainless steel for longer life
• Hatch to in-floor locker hinges toward the bow so access is easy from the cockpit
• One of several 12-volt outlets is at the stern for passengers
• Battery is well-protected under a separate engine compartment hatch
• Optional boarding ladder on the bow is a great idea for any boat, plus there's a
cooler under the forward bow cushion
• Console storage is sacrificed to allow more legroom for the driver and passenger
Length Overall: 21'
Dry Weight: 3,500 lb.
Seating/Weight Capacity: 10/1,900 lb.
Fuel Capacity: 50 gal.
Max HP: 300
MSRP (test boat): $30,689
Test Engine: Volvo 5.0 GXi
Test Prop: 23-inch, stainless steel
Test Load: People (450 lb.); Fuel (25 gal.)
Top Speed: 52.8 MPH @ 5,000 RPM
Min. Plane: 18 MPH @ 2,150 RPM, 77 db
RPM / MPH / SOUND LEVEL
Idle / 3.4 / 65 db
1,000 / 5.4 / 66 db
1,500 / 7.6 / 71 db
2,000 / 9.9 / 76 db
2,500 / 25.4 / 78 db
3,000 / 31.5 / 83 db
3,500 / 36.8 / 86 db
4,000 / 43.7 / 87 db
4,500 / 48.0 / 93 db
5,000 / 52.8 / 95 db