We Say: Most 18-foot sterndrive runabouts boast 190 to 220 horses below the sun pad. Rinker’s 186 OB sports an outboard to get around the steep price increases that have hit sterndrives. A lower-horsepower outboard also consumes less fuel and is easier to maintain. But does it come with a performance catch?
With my test boat’s Yamaha F115 (other brands are offered), I peaked a whisker shy of 40 mph, got onto plane in 4.6 seconds and passed the 30 mph mark in six more. I also recorded a fuel burn of 5.3 gph at a 28 mph cruise.
Outboards have long been celebrated for freeing up cockpit space. The trade-off is the loss of the sterndrive’s generous swim platform: Twin smaller platforms flank the outboard. Elsewhere, the 186 OB offers twin captain’s chairs and a generous ski locker in the sole. Bow seating follows the perimeter of the cockpit, though I found the bow lounge is deeper than average — a fact parents will appreciate since bows are typically kiddie territory.
Who'd Want One: The entry-level or family buyer looking for affordability but without compromising function.
Another Choice: Ebbtide’s 2-inch-shorter 188 SE O/B ($16,375 without power) squeaked another 2 miles an hour from similar power in a recent test. The Ebbtide shares the Rinker’s traditional cockpit layout but keeps most of the sun pad shared by its sterndrive counterpart.
Bottom Line: $29,125 with test power; rinkerboats.com