Lakeland Boating April 2004

Stingray Powerboats
boat test - Stingray 195LR

Lakeland Boating - April 2004

A bowrider with some zip to it:
She hits 60 mph with just a V-6!




Stingray 195LR

Zippy. That's my take on what ZP stands for, but Stingray insists it's short for Z-plane hull. Although the new 195LR is a bowrider, it rides on the company's patented next-generation ZP hull and is uncharacteristically fast.

Like many boating enthusiasts, Stingray president and founder Al Fink has a passion for performance and a bent for speed. Hence the Z-plane hull. At the unveiling of the 195LR in Hartsville, South Carolina, Fink stood at the docks next to the boat and said with ever so slight a grin: "This boat will hit 60 mph...with a V-6."

"Really? A V-6?"

The grin grew bigger and Fink simply nodded.

After a bit more prodding, he explained it was the new hull, which includes special contours to the running surface that extend beneath both sides of the integrated swim platform and create virtually three-point contact with the water at high speeds. And like all Stingray models, the 195LR includes a notched transom. It's not a big cutout, but it does allow the sterndrive to sit a little higher up on the transom, eliminating some of the outdrive's drag in the water.

I climbed aboard the 19-foot, 6-inch boat and opened the engine hatch. Inside was a Volvo Penta 4.3 GXi SX. The fuel-injected V-6 generates 225 hp and, in this case, was coupled to an SX drive unit spinning a 21-inch stainless steel propeller. Stingray also offers MerCruiser engines.

Armed with a Garmin handheld GPS, I took the 195LR for a ride. After a brief shakedown, I opened it up and headed for the opposite end of Lake Robinson. Sure enough, before long my GPS indicated 60 mph. At that speed, the boat rides freely, almost completely out of the water, giving the distinct feeling that you're riding on a cushion of air — which, in fact, you are. It's an exhilarating experience.

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At lesser speeds, the 195LR maneuvered admirably. With the proper trim setting, the boat carves turns very well and the prop keeps its bite. Time to plane is approximately three seconds, during which the driver can maintain forward visibility for the most part because there's minimal bow rise. Acceleration is crisp—zero to 30 mph only takes about seven seconds. Wakeboarders will appreciate the nice launch pad of a wake that the 195LR builds while running in the 18-mph range.

There's more to the 195LR than solid performance and good handling, though. This is the first Stingray to feature a wraparound lounge seat aft in the cockpit. Previous models have either had a straight bench across the stern or a pair of jump seats next to the motor box. The new configuration expands the seating to create a better social atmosphere. To add more usable interior space, Stingray tapered the interior sidewalls of the 195LR more than on previous models.

Both the driver and passenger bucket seats swivel around to face aft, which is nice for entertaining at the dock or in a quiet cove. A cockpit table can be positioned in the center of the wraparound section and oversized drink holders are conveniently built into the lounge. Sunbathers will enjoy soaking up rays on the padded sun lounge over the engine.

Additional passengers can relax in the redesigned open bow, where Stingray made the seat bases more curved to provide legroom and improve aesthetics. Along with having individual drink holders, passengers in the bow also have their own built-in cooler. It conveniently drains overboard and has a smooth finish for easy cleanup. To make the most of available space, Stingray installed the cooler beneath the forward step and put drink holders to the side. The step itself is a nice feature that makes boarding from the bow a safe and easy process. Stingray wisely uses a pop-up cleat at the fore peak to reduce the risk of stumbling.

Storage is more than adequate. All seat cushions, with the exception of the bucket seats, lift to reveal stowage, and there's some room built into the gunwales, too. Considerable space is also found on either side of the engine. Folding barriers raise when items are stored here to keep them from coming in contact with the engine. Dedicated waterski and wakeboard storage is built into the sole of the boat, while small items can be placed in the locking glove box or in nets found on the rear of the bucket-seat backrests.


Stingray also made some improvements to the dash. The helm, for instance, has a lower-profile elliptical instrument panel that provides the driver better forward visibility and easier access to clean inside of the windshield. On the passenger side, Stingray cleverly tucked the boat's stereo CD/player forward of the flat glove box so it's better protected from rain by the windshield. The new design even allows some space for installing aftermarket electronics.

Stingray offers some items seldom included as standard: custom engine vibration dampers, a remote oil-changing system on MerCruiser powerplants (Volvo Penta does not offer this feature), a fuel-surge protector and three-year blister protection as part of the five-year hull warranty. Owners also have access to the My Stingray website, where they can display photos of their boats, view parts and manuals, and ask questions.

All things considered, you get a lot of value and performance in the Stingray 195LR, especially when you consider the price, which is way south of $20,000. For those who want the open seating afforded by a bowrider but don't want to sacrifice raw speed, Stingray's zippy new 195LR is just the ticket.

Randy Scott


Specs
LOA 19'6"
Beam 7'7"
Draft 2'10"
Fuel Capacity 21 gals.
Weight 2,577 lbs.
Base Power Merc 3.0L Alpha 1 (135 hp)
Base Price $17,460
Standard equipment
insulated cooler • Z-plane hull • recessed boarding ladder • environmental fuel-surge protector • custom engine vibration dampers • 12-volt receptacle • Dino steering wheel • engine hourmeter • Kenwood Hi-Power Audio System w/ CD player • woodgrain trim
Optional equipment
two-tone hull color stripe • Sunbrella full canvas set • magnetic compass • automatic fire-extinguishing system



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