The Boating Life editors have driven some 200 boats for the
2004 model year. From each test we've come away with personal impressions on quality, comfort,
setup, looks, handling and performance. Only a handful of boats, however, have been noted among
our jottings as a "great value." Those seven are highlighted on the following pages. Remember,
we didn't call out these models simply for having a low price. Each one prompted our attention
before we even saw a dollar figure. The price simply sealed the deal in our book.
Stingray has earned a reputation for building efficient, cost-effective boats — which
is not as dull a concept as it might seem. Why? The company's idea of efficiency is to design
hulls that obtain maximum speed from a given power plant, which means you get plenty of speed
without resorting to exotic engine choices.
Also, their model for cost effectiveness isn't to lean things down to save a few bucks, but
rather to use every appropriate technology to reduce waste and produce a solid — and
stylish — final product at very competitive price.
The 200CS is a prime example of the company's ability to put not only practicality but also
fun into a value-priced boat. Base price is just over $23,000, which gets you a mini cruiser,
complete with sink, portable toilet and stove. An available full-canvas package turns the
entire cockpit into all-weather living space, while an upgrade to a stainless-steel prop and
perhaps the 5.0-liter power plant will max out the boat's water-sports towing potential.
Not that the boat needs the larger engine. Thanks to the Stingray's unique Z-plane hull
configuration, this 20-foot family boat will edge past 50 mph with the standard 4.3-liter power
plant. Plus, for a cuddy cabin, it's light on the highway, saving more dollars there.
Pierce Hoover and Robert Stephens
NOTE: The Stingray 200CS was featured along with six other boats in this article. For the
complete article, refer to pages 88-96 of the April 2004 issue of Boating Life.
Boating Life Magazine