Tahoe Q8 SSi

Tahoe's Q8 SSi offers big speed potential with a small price tag.

We Say: Base engine on this capable family ride is the 190 hp 4.3-liter MerCruiser, but our test on famed Table Rock Lake was with a 320 hp 6.2-liter multiport injection (MPI) model. Eager with anticipation, I tagged the throttle, and the boat leaped on plane in less than three seconds and hit 30 mph in just over seven seconds.

The Q8 SSi didn’t stop accelerating until the GPS settled on 57.3 mph. You can expect acceleration to decline somewhat with the 4.3-liter engine, but top speed would still reach the low to mid-40s, satisfying for family fun and tubing.

Only the well-positioned windshield with stainless-steel support struts kept my hair from being plastered back. This is the ride one expects from a performance boat, not a family cruiser. In turns, the hull cut in nicely with a little down-trim applied to keep the prop’s bite.

Tahoe builds its boats with foam-filled fiberglass stringers chemically fused to the hull, and the solid bonding of those components to hull and deck was apparent as I rocketed over wind chop and wakes.

Comfort for all on board comes from firm, supple upholstery on lounges that offer places to stretch out in the sun or sit together enjoying the spacious cockpit. The Q8 SSi is the flagship of Tracker Marine's runabout line, and it certainly left an impact.
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Who'd Want One:** Family-oriented boaters looking for value, quality construction and performance.

Another Choice: Bayliner's 215 BR starts at $29,661 with a 220 hp MerCruiser 4.3 MPI Alpha stern-drive.

Bottom Line: $29,995 (base), $37,995 (as tested); tahoesportboats.com