Stingray Powerboats
Boating World - March 2004
Stingray 195LR Bowrider
The Fast and
The Curious

Stingray's 195LR is deceptively light
on the water — and on your wallet.

If you didnít know better, you would think that the passengerís eyebrows are being controlled by the handheld GPS, because as the digital display climbs toward 60 mph, the eyebrows also continue to rise. Whatís the big deal? Going 60 mph in an almost 20-foot performance boat with a 300-hp V8 isnít that unusual. True, but when the boat is actually a reasonably priced Stingray bowrider with only a 225-hp, 4.3L V6 in the engine compartment, then you definitely have something special.

How does the Stingray 195LR do it? Little rockets on the transom? Nope, just the newest, most efficient Z-plane hull Stingray has ever made that allows the driver to trim it up so that the hull, for all practical purposes, is touching the surface of the water in only three places ... barely. Stingray likens it to "riding on air," and rather than being hyperbole, itís actually a pretty accurate description. The Z-plane was originally designed to improve handling by utilizing strakes that didnít disturb the flow of water like conventional ones, but as an added bonus, engineers found that it also improved top-end performance. What they discovered was that air bubbles under the hull cause the prop to slip, like a carís tires on ice. So with the Z-plane hull knifing though the water cleanly without forming bubble-creating vortices, the prop gets a better bite in the water.

In addition to the ZP hull, the 195LR has a notched transom ó like those found on racing boats ó allowing the outdrive to be mounted higher for minimal drag. Having a relatively narrow 7-foot-7-inch beam, like you find on Allison bass boats, which are some of the fastest on the water, doesnít hurt either. One thing Stingray didnít do is give buyers an insubstantial, light hull in order to eke out a few more mph. Weighing 2,580 pounds with a 4.3L sterndrive engine, the 195LR has enough heft to make the ride feel solid.

Sitting down in the captainís throne, a pleasant surprise is the adjustable bucket seat that not only lets you choose how far away from the sporty Dino sport wheel you want to sit, but also has an optional pedestal that allows you to adjust the height of the seat. This is a feature that should be available on all boats to avoid being visually impaired by the windshieldís header. The no-nonsense dash layout gives the driver a totally unobstructed view of the Teleflex gauges, which are set beneath an overhanging panel whose dark color also helps to reduce annoying windshield reflections. The accessory rocker switches are on the dash under the instrument array, and are out of the way to avoid accidental engagement, although using most of them requires reaching around, or through the steering wheel that features a sculpted shape with thumb rests that promote a "10 and 2" driving position.

Putting the 195LR in gear, the Volvo Penta 4.3L MPI with a single-prop SX outdrive registers a quiet 61 decibels at idle and moves the boat smartly on plane in just a little more than three seconds. The fuel-injected V6 gives the driver a linear power curve and the Stingray hits 30 mph in around six seconds, which is impressive acceleration. Forty mph is a very happy speed for this boat; the engine doesnít feel like itís being taxed, and the hull is largely out of the water, giving passengers a smooth ride. And according to Stingray performance bulletins, youíre getting more than 5 miles per gallon at this speed, which is phenomenal economy. At cruise trim, the 195LR turns better than you would expect with such little wetted surface, and trimming it down a little allows it to be thrown lustily into hard turns without blowing out, thanks to its ZP hull.

At its top speed of 60 mph, you will likely get some curious onlookers at the lake, and youíll even be able to wave back to them thanks to the stable ride even at terminal speed. Although the lake is calm, with 19 degrees of deadrise at the stern, it should slice through the chop nicely.

The 195LR makes good use of its cockpit space with U-lounge stern seating that has a sculpted seatback that helps to give it a go-fast look. The U-shape allows two passengers in the corners to be able to lounge with their feet up for comfort. The large sunpad has a stylish swirled design that doesnít have annoying upholstery piping where the colors converge, thus eliminating the "princess and the pea" syndrome when lying down. With an integrated swim platform that blends well with the boatís line, it avoids that bolted-on look. The three-step stainless-steel ladder rests neatly in a recessed area, as does the pair of stainless-steel stern cleats.

Up front, bowriders are treated to comfortably padded seats that have an ample amount of backrest angle for luxurious lounging. The sculpted liner creates an ergonomically correct contour, whereby you get more posterior room and less width for the legs, which need less space. This also creates an interestingly shaped walkway between the seats. Thereís plenty of dry storage underneath, but you have to remove the whole seat bottom to gain access. To handle passenger refreshment, you get a built-in cooler and oversized cupholders in lieu of an anchor locker, but Stingray wins back some points for those who like to anchor by providing a pop-up bow cleat ó a detail not found on many smaller bowriders. Thereís even a pair of spring line cleats for easier docking.

All around the boat you find interesting design details like recesses and convex surfaces that would make the 195LR difficult and time-consuming to build if it were done in the conventional manner, but thatís not the Stingray way. It jumped on the technological bandwagon early and boasts an impressive list of firsts in advanced boatbuilding.

Using the latest in Computer Assisted Design (CAD), Stingray engineers are able to try out innovations and tweak designs before they leave the computer in order to instruct the multi-axis router to mill a perfect realization of the engineerís vision as a 3D model. Itís instrumental in helping to create molds of incredible precision. What used to be a 1/16 of an inch tolerance is now a remarkable 1/1,000 of an inch. With this degree of automation, designers are free to create boats the way they want, without being driven by the need to keep it simple for production.

The manufacturerís suggested retail price for the test boat is $23,589 when equipped with the optional Volvo Penta 4.3L MPI engine. And every 195LR comes equipped with Stingrayís Convenience Package, which is an $1,899 bundle of options thrown in at no extra cost. It includes items like the Dino sport wheel, Hi-Power Kenwood stereo system, Sunbrella convertible top, and stainless-steel hardware to name a few. Stingray will set up a personal web page on the Internet for each buyer on, a $385 value, for free. Scanning the site and seeing the pictures of the owners, itís clear they are very proud of their boats. And when you consider the blend of performance, technology, and value that you get, itís no mystery why.

Alan Jones
Boating World

the verdict
The 195LR is fast, handles great, is well-constructed, and is a real looker — is there anything else? Well, yes, including the adjustable bucket seat and little creature comforts that make you feel right at home. The nitpick patrol would like hinged seat bottoms to access dry storage and an anchor locker to store the hook.

LOA 19'5"
Beam 7'7"
Weight 2,580 lbs.
Fuel 35 gal.
Top Speed 60.2 mph
  (w/225-hp, 4.3L Merc Alpha 1)

Time to Plane 3.2 seconds
0-30 mph 6.3 seconds
Decibels @ Idle 61 dB-A
Decibels @ 30 mph 83 dB-A
Decibels @ WOT 93 dB-A
Base Price $20,736
  (w/190-hp, 4.3L Merc Alpha 1)

Price As Tested $23,589
  (w/225-hp, 4.3L Volvo Penta MPI)

Hull Warranty 5 years


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