In an era where engine-makers are expanding their offering of high-horsepower outboards and boatbuilders are gobbling them up for runabouts, Chaparral proves the value of big-block sterndrives with the refinement of its new 267 SSX.
At a flick of the smooth electronic shift lever, the power levitated this nearly 5,000-pound rocket onto plane. Once there, a combination of the 22-degree transom deadrise and 380 hp engine nested low on the stringers sped us to nearly 50 mph. The balanced center of gravity of this large bowrider is enhanced by the massive engine block to give excellent stability through sharp turns. It also smoothly cut through the chop and doubled-up waves we created on our windless test day. Control of the ponies is intuitive thanks to the responsive power steering and silky throttle lever.
While the engine took up that space belowdecks that outboards leave for massive storage and bilge access, we noted there was still ample room to service the engine, filters, pumps and other machinery.
Interior and Accessories
And the frosting on the cake is the incredibly wide, deep swim platform with an aft-facing bench and what Chaparral calls the Infinity Power Step. Touch a button at the transom door and an electric ram raises what we’ll call a large park bench from the platform and rotates and lowers it into the water to serve as a step, or as a 12-inch-deep spot to sit and relax in the water.
When the bench is deployed, the engine ignition deactivates for safety, and the drive trims up to prevent nicking toes. Once the transom is cleared and the step retrieved, tap another button to reactivate the ignition.
While we thought the fun and convenient safety of the Infinity Power Step was a powerful draw to this boat, perhaps the most dramatic design changes were at the helm. Gone are circular analog gauges and the VesselView gauge. Instead, Chaparral’s new glass-cockpit-style design boasted a 12-inch Simrad NSS Evo 3 touchscreen with fully integrated engine data, plus navigation, sonar, and a seamless interface with Chaparral’s choice JL Audio system. The display is set in a carbon-fiber panel for a techie touch, and the leather-covered, stainless-steel spoke wheel adds to the performance appeal.
The passenger console is trimmed in carbon fiber as well and has a glove box. Both the skipper and the passenger get inductive phone-charger mounts that will take the largest of smartphones. Open the passenger console like a secret passageway and step down into the fully finished head compartment. Ours was equipped with a stainless-steel sink, pull-out shower and china flushing head. There’s another shower head at the transom so your guests can rinse off sand.
The water-supply inlet for the vessel is at the starboard bow, so there’s no excuse for dockhands to confuse it for the fuel port aft near the transom.
A close competitor to the Chaparral is the Monterey Boats 278 SS (starting at $147,159 with a 350 hp MerCruiser Bravo Three; it has comparable pricing when optioned similarly). It reflects the strong reputation this company based in Williston, Florida, has tallied. Like the 267 SSX, the 278 SS is tad over 26 feet and boasts an electrically raised and lowered wakeboard tower and premium vinyl upholstery. Both brands custom-build their furnishings in their own factories.
Monterey does not offer the Infinity Power Step, a standard feature on the Chaparral. And in place of the standard Simrad on the Chaparral, Monterey offers an optional Go7 XSE ($3,311) in a handsome dash.
Both boats offer a walk-through transom and an aft-facing lounge, though their mechanics differ. On the Chaparral, the seatback is divided. If you pull the steel bar aft, half the seatback lies even with the aft side of the bench, while the other half forms an aft-inclined pillow—bring on the grape-dangling, palm-frond-waving servers.
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Other conveniences in the Chaparral include five inductive chargers, 14 stainless-steel cup holders, and highly polished grab rails at the bow and along the coamings, where they are handiest. Also important is the optional snap-in SeaDeck sole cover that gives softer, more secure footing than the diamond-plate deck and adds snappy color accents.
Few people turn down the opportunity to be entertained by a boat owner, and fewer still will be able to resist the call of the 267 SSX, making the skipper a pretty popular guy.
How We Tested
- Engine: MerCruiser 380
- Drive/Props: Sterndrive/Bravo 3 26P
- Gear Ratio: 2.00:1 Fuel Load: 30 gal. Water on Board: 0 gal. Crew Weight: 700 lb.
- Silicone-based vinyl is extremely resistant to mildew and stains.
- There are five inductive phone chargers on deck.
- Wind dam below the windshield protects the cockpit from uncomfortable weather.
- We’d like to see more than a 65-gallon fuel capacity.
- Infinity Power Step switch is at toe height, susceptible to transom wash and hard to reach.
Pricing and Specs
|Price:||$228,155 (with test power)|
|Draft (max):||1’7″ (engines up)|
|Displacement (approx.):||4,700 lb.|
|Transom Deadrise:||22 degrees|
|Bridge Clearance:||8’5″ (tower up)|
|Fuel Capacity:||65 gal.|
|Available Power:||MerCruiser or Volvo Penta sterndrives to 380 hp|
Speed, Efficiency, Operation
Chaparral Boats – Nashville, Georgia; chaparralboats.com