After testing for nearly three decades there's not much that I haven't seen. But after attending Stingray's
annual media/dealer conference in Hartsville, South Carolina, last year I was impressed with the company's
all new 195LX. And impressed is not a term that I use all that often.
New and improved may be an over-used phrase, but when it comes to Stingray's 195LX bowrider, there couldn't
be a more appropriate term. This 195LX replaces the shorter 19-foot version and boasts numerous appointments
that make this model even better. What's more impressive is that the 195LX is available in two other bowrider
versions, the 195LS and the 195LR, each offering unique, comfortable seating layouts.
While the 195LX features a set of bucket seats forward (port and starboard), an aft bench plus a sun pad
aft, the 195LS comes with one bucket facing the helm and a large sleeper seat to starboard. When folded flat,
this sleeper can be used to catch the rays or be propped up on either end to form a fore- or aft-facing
lounge. Sturdy side bolsters on all four of its sections will prevent you from slipping around in rough
water and provide comfortable side support. Just aft are two Hi-Lo jump seats on either side of the featured
motor box. These seats raise parallel to the motor box and create a large, full width sunpad. As an added
bonus, the motor box houses a small console with a set of drink holders.
If you're looking for just a little more seating space, opt for the 195LR, which comes complete with two
bucket seats forward, a wrap-around bench plus a sun pad. All models share face-to-face contoured benches
in the bow with storage underneath.
Just when I thought I had seen it all, the company showcased two cuddy versions in the 195 series, the
195CS, which hosts the same layout of the 195LS bowrider and the 195CX, featuring the same configuration of
the 195LX. There's even a fish n' ski model available, the 195FX.
Another highlight of these seating layouts is the bucket seats and lounges are injected with moulded
polypropylene cores instead of wood. Moulded foam inserts are then covered with 36-ounce UV-stable vinyl
that's designed to provide optimum puncture-resistance.
All three models ride on the company's popular and performance-proven Z-Plane hull, which is designed with
special contours on the running surface that extend beneath both sides of the integrated swim platform. This
innovative design creates a virtual three-point contact with the water at high speeds to provide improved
top end speed, handling abilities and of course, performance.
Our white and bright red test boat was powered with the largest engine Stingray offers for the 195LX, the
225 hp V6 Volvo Penta 4.3L GXi SX sterndrive with a 23-inch SS Laser propeller. For our test, there were two
adults plus a full tank of fuel on board. After punching the throttle from dead stop, the 195 shot onto plane
in an impressive three seconds. Pushing the throttle further, she hit 60 mph at 4,800 rpm. I was impressed
and even surprised at how quietly she rode at its minimum planing speed of 22 mph (indicated) at 2,200 rpm
and at a comfortable cruising speed of 32 mph (indicated) at 2,800 rpm. The trim-sensitivity throughout these
ranges took some getting use to, as did the mild chine walking at full speed.
To verify our test numbers, Volvo Penta supplied me with its own test reports which revealed a time-to-plane
of 3.8 seconds, a top speed of 58 mph at 4,865 rpm and 33.1 mph at 3,000 rpm, consuming 21.8 liters of fuel
per hour or 1.5 miles per liter. Volvo used a 21-inch stainless steel prop rather than the 23-inch SS Laser
on our test boat.
During our performance trials, I also test the 195CS, which was equipped with a 135 hp Volvo Penta 3.0 L,
spinning a 21-inch aluminum prop. While there was the same load on board, this heavier model jumped on plane
in an impressive four seconds and topped out at an indicated 44 mph at 4,800 rpm. A comfortable cruising
speed was at 3,000 rpm at an indicated 22 mph. Volvo's official test results revealed 3.74 seconds to plane,
43.5 mph at 4,840 rpm (wide open throttle) and 23.5 mph at 3,000 rpm (cruising speed), consuming 14.76 liters
per hour or 1.6 miles per liter.
The sundeck lid on our test boat had a safety latch to keep it closed while two gas-assisted struts easily
raise it. With these two struts, closing the lid is a test of strength. The motor compartment is clean and
even fully carpeted to protect stored gear.
No matter what hull colour you choose, the entire sole of the 195LX is covered with dark taupe carpeting
to conceal any dirt. The helm is highlighted with a wood grain instrument panel, all the standard
instrumentation plus an hour meter and Dino wheel. A Kenwood AM/FM/CD stereo with two speakers comes
In the bow, raised lips in the fiberglass around the openings of storage area prevent water from entering
and a huge in-floor carpeted locker can stow cumbersome gear or water toys. Just forward is an
anti-skid-covered bow step that can be used as a cooler or an extra seat or storage area.
Back in the cockpit the passenger side glove box has a useful flat top with top access, while the
integrated and large moulded swim platform sports a three-step stainless steel ladder to provide easier
If you're curious about the 195LS/LX and the rest of the configurations, check out stingrayboats.com and
see what these 195s are all about.
Power Boating Canada Magazine