Stingray Boats
Boat Test - Stingray 185LX

Power Boating Canada - January 2004

Stingray's latest entry just proves good things do come in small packages.

Stingray 185LX Stingray's 185LX may be one of the company's smallest models, but it's certainly big on performance and amenities.

Built to handle a crowd, the 185 is rated to carry seven passengers or 1,070 pounds. In the cockpit, the LX model sports a pair of bucket seats, a full-width rear bench plus a large sunpad. The cockpit sole features a carpeted wakeboard/ski locker with a non-skid starboard lid, while additional storage can be found under the aft bench and under the seats below.

At the helm is sporty Dino steering wheel and a full array of instrumentation neatly mounted on an elliptical woodgrain-finish panel. The dash on this model features a lower profile, allowing increased visibility. On the passenger's side, there's a locking glove box and mounted just above is a Kenwood stereo. The exposed flush-mounted hinges on the glove box lid were certainly functional, but I think recessed hinges would look much better.

The bow section of the 185 has been designed longer and wider than its predecessor, the 180. Stainless steel bow rails are mounted on the gunnel for additional safety as well as added security while sitting.

Located aft is a spacious integrated, non-skid swim platform complete with a ski-tow eye. When it is time to take a dip, a three-step, telescopic stainless steel ladder provides convenient boarding.

The 185LX is built on Stingray's patented Z-plane hull that is designed to provide better prop bite, agility, fuel efficiency and performance. All Stingray hulls feature notched transoms for an optimum flow of water to the prop. I set out on the quiet waters of Lake Robinson, near Stingray's head office in Hartsville, South Carolina, to put these claims to the test.

Power of choice was the standard 135 hp 3.0L MerCruiser, rigged to an Alpha One drive spinning a 21-inch aluminum prop. Running solo with a half-a-tank of fuel, the hole shot was a respectable 3.2 seconds with minimal bow rise. Cruising speed at 3,500 rpm was 32.3 mph on the GPS, and at WOT,
Deadrise:19 degrees
Draft (drive up):18"/.5m
(drive down):29"/.7m
Dry Weight (w/engine):2155 lbs/977 kg
Fuel Capacity:21 gal/79L
Maximum Horsepower:135 hp
Standard Power:Merc 135hp 3.0L Alpha 1
Power as Tested:Merc 135hp 3.0L Alpha 1
Price as Tested:$22,900
I registered a top speed of 48.4 mph at 4,950 rpm. Pulling the throttle back, I was able to hold the boat on plane at 2,400 rpm while running at 14.7 mph.

The 185 is also available in the LS seating configuration, which features a driver's bucket seat, an adjustable back-to-back lounger and a set of aft jump seats. Whatever configuration you choose, you'll be set for a fun-filled day on the water.

Mike Burns
Power Boating Magazine


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