Chaparral’s new 191 SunCoast outboard joins a movement that might make 2018 remembered as the year outboards shouldered past sterndrive runabouts. We think the 191 will be remembered among the many cool, value-priced family runabouts from top brands.
On a blustery day on Biscayne Bay we slipped into the Intracoastal Waterway channel between large cruisers and center consoles. Wakes rocked us as we slid over them at a respectful angle, but they didn’t rattle us, the hatch hinges or anything else as we took our place in the parade. We buzzed past some of them, and realized it doesn’t take V-8 horsepower to have a good time.
Outboards bring more than green fuel efficiency to boaters — they bring simpler maintenance, shallower draft and, when needed, the ability to skim over bars with the motor trimmed high, making them ideal for coastal boating.
The crossover deck-boat hull has a sleek look and a cab-forward design that provides wide forward seating. The upholstered lounges wrap around both ends and are divided on the port side by a refreshment galley complete with water supply.
The dashboard is sporty with analog gauges, but you can upgrade to a Garmin display for a sci-fi-cool dash. We think it may be as little as five years before gauges with needles all but vanish from boats.
Chaparral offers a standard tow point, but there’s an affordable wakeboard tower ($2,850) available. We stepped to the transom platform and noted the hatch covering the stainless-steel ladder. Boats in this price class often leave them exposed to stub toes. The swim platform is divided by the outboard and transom well, and that may be the only downside of outboard power. But for saltwater boaters, it’s a bargain trade-off because the outboard is easily flushed of salt by connecting to its convenient hose fitting.
The SunCoast is also simple to wash down thanks to its fiberglass nonskid floor — hose it down and head for the dock-tail party. You’ll arrive refreshed, relaxed, and maybe with just enough sun on your face (if you didn’t deploy the standard Bimini top) to let people know what you’ve been up to.
* The 191 even includes an anchor locker with a bow boarding ladder.
* We were pleasantly surprised that the colored gelcoat was a standard feature.
* Let the good times roll: The trailer is standard.
* While we’re not a fan of acrylic windscreens, this one saves money to bring the boat in at a value price.
* Spring cleats are hard to reach from the helm.
The Tahoe 1950 deck boat is powered by Mercury’s super-smooth 115 ($28,995) and offers six side-color options at no charge. It boasts a cockpit refreshment galley and ski-tow pylon, among other standards.
Price: $29,995 (as tested, with trailer)
Available Power: Outboard
How We Tested
Engine: Yamaha F115
Prop: Yamaha 131/8″ x 17″ 3-blade aluminum
Gear Ratio: 2.15:1
Fuel Load: 20 gal.
Crew Weight: 240 lb.
Chaparral Boats – Nashville, Georgia; 727-595-2956; chaparralboats.com