Chaparral is expanding and improving its well-appointed SSi series of runabouts, reinforcing the company’s commitment to recruiting new boaters by offering a well-engineered, well-built series of boats at a moderate price. The sterndrive-powered 21 SSi proved that ethos during our day running it.
We tested the 21 SSi with the 240 hp Volvo Penta SX drive, and achieved a top speed of about 47 mph and snapped onto plane in under 4 seconds. The power steering and super-smooth throttle and shift enhanced the sporty feel of the responsive hull. If you are into sterndrives, and most inland boaters are, the 240 was the ideal horsepower. However, Chaparral also offers the 21 SSi in an outboard configuration. We tested that one with a 200 hp Yamaha and brought it onto plane quickly, reaching a top speed of 45 mph. In both models, the boat crushed doubled-up wakes without rattling hatches or teeth. Turns were graceful, and only the most aggressive turns caused a little slippage.
Coastal boaters are apt to prefer the outboard for its full-tilting motor and easy flushing system. Parents will appreciate the sterndrive for its unbroken swim platform that makes a popular hang-out spot when the boat is anchored or on the sandbar. To enhance the sterndrive’s popularity to salty boaters, our 21 SSi was equipped with a closed-cooled engine, giving added corrosion protection to the sterndrives.
The SSi brings all of the impressive luxury for which Chaparral is known: a glossy gelcoat, generous use of polished stainless steel in hardware such as grab rails, hinges, latches and drains, and more. And the SSi matches its style with performance.
While many boatbuilders have abandoned the middle-class boater, instead focusing on the established, well-heeled boater, Chaparral’s commitment to the SSi series speaks of its commitment to recruiting new boaters with value grounded in high-quality style and good performance.
- Snap-in SeaDek is a handsome and practical sole covering.
- Coaming compartments add practical stowage and look stylish.
- Wind dam extends comfort in cool-weather boating.
- Deeper brow over the gauges would make them more readable in direct sun.
- Better divider between the engine and side compartments would improve storage.
- Four-step ladder would improve boarding ease, whether it’s in the water or on the trailer.
Monterey’s M20 ($43,742 comparably equipped NAP with tower) is 2 inches shorter and boasts the same maximum horsepower of 250. It will carry 11 people in comfortable style. Both offer optional wakeboard towers and come equipped with quality stereos.
Price: $37,795 (starting; with trailer)
Available Power: Sterndrive
How We Tested
Engine: 240 hp Volvo Penta SX drive
Drive/Prop: 14.5″ x 19″ 3-blade aluminum
Gear Ratio: 1.97: 1
Fuel Load: 30 gal.
Crew Weight: 400 lb.
Chaparral Boats – Nashville, Georgia; 727-595-2956; chaparralboats.com