Jump to content
Ljn21

Which one? 226 SSI vs 243 VRX

Recommended Posts

Hi Everyone

Getting back into the boating world and looking for our first family boat in awhile.  Come from bass boats and Fish/Ski type boats with outboards so this is unfamiliar territory for me. We are a family of 4, 2 kids age 4 and 6, will be used on freshwater/inland lakes only.

Narrowed my brand preference down to Chaparral but have two choices. A 2014 226 SSI with the Volvo 5.7/300HP or a 2015 243VRX with the twin 200HP rotax engines. 

The VRX has a tower so while we are young for wakeboarding or skiing, we could grow into it. The 226 doesnt have a tower. We also envision the kids spending alot of time swimming and jumping off the rear swim platform so the lack of a drive/prop for them to get caught on is something we have thought of as well. I like the thought of more traditional engine though and would probably have a Captain Call exhaust installed to fill my sports car gap since having kids lol. I am concerned about low speed handling of the jet boat as well and the lack of a glovebox on the VRX is bothering me...where do you through your keys, phone, wallet, etc without a glovebox??

Looking for opinions on both the 226 and VRX. Good, bad, ugly.

Also, 226 is at $44500, VRX is at $45000, thoughts on pricing?

Appreciate any insights the group has and looking forward to joining the Chaparral family one way or another!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not perfect comparison but I recently bought a 21' h2o fish & ski model, my daughter is 11 and loves to hang out with family/friends as well as watersports and fishing with me.  If we didnt want the fishing options it came with I would have bought a VORTEX for the following reasons...more power, safer without prop for kids & sports car like handling.  I think our next boat will be a vortex 243 and I'll just have to figure out how to put a trolling motor and fishing seats in it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another thing, the H2O comes with a tiny glovebox so here is how we dealt with that, works great and cost $10, that would fix your only concern with the vortex.  https://m.facebook.com/groups/914803751921102?view=permalink&id=1618907634844040

You might have to join the "chaparral boat owners club" on facebook to see my pics.

 

There is also a "chaparral vortex owners club" on facebook that has a lot of happy owners on it.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

  NO substitute for A LOT of test rides with all the family on the rides.  Enjoy the test rides.  :)

At 80 I still do several test rides before buying boats or cars.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, cyclops2 said:

 

  NO substitute for A LOT of test rides with all the family on the rides.  Enjoy the test rides.  :)

At 80 I still do several test rides before buying boats or cars.

Very good feedback and totally agree. Challenge for us is that both boats are about 4 hours drive one way away which makes going back for multiple tripa an issue. I dont mind so much for mt boss does :)

Models themselves aside, thoughts on a traditional drive vs jet drive? Do the new boats with the lateral thrust jet system really solve the slow speed challenges?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First time drivers of any jet boat have several bumps docking.  The faster the pump rpms. The more control.  But in a running current , tight dock space & or higher winds ????   I would recommend you get  a PWC driver to just go with you  & practice docking in calm. Then practice in stronger & stronger winds.

Bang up a test ride boat. Tell the owner YOU HAVE NOT driven jets......... USE lots of fenders.

Side note . Old guys call jets. Vacuum Cleaners. They can suck mud, weeds & stones up from the bottom EASILY. Good by pump efficiency.

Regular props can survive much more junk They can be cleaned easily with goggles , gloves & a knife.

Jet drives can be a tow home. Take the drive apart & repair parts.

Test drives will make up your mind.   The 186 ssi I have has a full width bench seat & engine hatch in white. The kids & teenage girls like it as a sunbathing area. They use a white beach towel to prevent sun tanning lotion stains. Most of the time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My opinion Is the kids are too young to water ski or use any of the Vortex advantages.  The SSI is a boat you can use for many years .  Vortex is a special purpose boat for teens & up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, I do not like jet drives. The twin drive rotax engines are much louder at the helm than the 5.7.

 My kids did never hit the outdrive jumping off the back. The drive on 226 Chaparral is almost 2 1/2 feet back of your swim platform edge.

As for fuel, the rotax engines Will consume a lot more than the 5.7.

Down the road you can add a tower. If you are like most of us, will want a bigger boat in 3 to 5 years.

Good Luck  

     

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The absolute best thing you can do is find a way to extensively test run both boats.  Our first boat was a jet boat, albeit without several of the features that the Vortex boats have to make them a bit more like a stern drive when docking, etc.  I did add a hydraulic trim plate, which made a world of difference in rougher water.

Having had both, I feel that the sterndrive (in this size/power level) is the better option for a less on the go at 10/10ths, more boat and float with a bit of watersports life.  The jet was awesome for hard running, awesome maneuvering and watersports (wakesports excepting), but also could suck up fuel at an amazing rate at full throttle.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My brother in law has the VRX.  Love the layout and amenities, including the tower, but not impressed with the performance. Does have a nice top speed, but he seems to get a lot of cavitation and takes a bit a way from the hole shot.   He does love it though  I still like a prop.  Some thoughts and observations:

-Parts and service-he's had a couple smaller issues under warranty.  The mechanics at the Chaparral dealer he purchased from are not certified to work on and parts take a while at least that's his experience.  Everyone works on Volvo and Mercruiser.

-He's on a lake that is weedy on the way in.  Just like jet skis you have to get underneath to pull the weeds out when you suck them into the screen.  Difference is Jet skis you are wet already.  Pretty inconvenient in the Spring or if going out to dinner and you don't want to get in the water.  He's overheated once when he pulled weeds in too.  Haven't seen the issue of pulling rocks or other debris in. 

-He's an experienced boater and has a tough time in tight spaces docking it.  I did too.  Always moving when engine is running.  I am sure it is a learning curve thing, but after two seasons he still struggles, particularly when it is a bit breezy.  

-As mentioned above, very loud, much loader then any i/o I have ever been in.  

Pluses, no prop or out-drive to ding up.  I run in the rivers and would love to not worry about that and be able to run in 1.5 feet if need be.  

The SSI will be great for water sports.  If need be add a tower. I am guessing still less money then a VRX.   As far as hitting the outdrive when jumping in, I have had an older Chap with little swim deck with active kids for 10 years.  Never once has anyone gotten hurt.  Not to mention you never get out of boat while running.  That was my B-in laws justification, but really never been an issue.   

Just my 2 cents

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ll throw this in also since it hasn’t been mentioned: resale. The traditional prop boat will have a higher resale value. Ask the Yamaha owners. Special niche that wants the jet boats. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have never considered any boat / toy having more or less resale value.  I buy a toy / boat because I like the looks or performance. I have never spent a penny on it for someone else's maybe preference. Living hundreds of miles away and working the night shift.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really appreciate all the replies and advice, some really good info and thoughts you all shared!

Leaning towards the 226 SSI.

Is there a service manual available for Volvo engines and drives? I have alwsys had Mercury (outboards) and liked having the service manual to trouble shoot and do own maintenance, torque values, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Volvo Penta sells the factory manual off their site, and there’s a Sealoc one on Amazon that’s pretty good (I have this one). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Best money I think I've ever spent was on our supercharged waverunner.  Fun doesn't begin to describe it.  That said, I love jets but not as a primary boat.  If it were me, I would pick up the 226 and either buy a couple of waverunners or buy the vrx as a second boat.  Most of my neighbors have at least two boats and a waverunner or two on their shore depending on the day and mood though some have consolidated to one tritoon but kept the PWC's.  You can get a couple of decent used waverunners that are current gen for I bet 17 or 18k and that 226 sounds like cheap money.  Maybe just go with one waverunner to start along with the 226.  Best of both worlds. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Chaparral Rider said:

Best money I think I've ever spent was on our supercharged waverunner.  Fun doesn't begin to describe it.  That said, I love jets but not as a primary boat.  If it were me, I would pick up the 226 and either buy a couple of waverunners or buy the vrx as a second boat.  Most of my neighbors have at least two boats and a waverunner or two on their shore depending on the day and mood though some have consolidated to one tritoon but kept the PWC's.  You can get a couple of decent used waverunners that are current gen for I bet 17 or 18k and that 226 sounds like cheap money.  Maybe just go with one waverunner to start along with the 226.  Best of both worlds. 

Sorry but I had to lol @ "buy the vrx as a second boat".  $45k isn't chump change for most people.  I'm guessing if he is looking at buying a used boat then owning two boats is probably not an option.  That's twice as much insurance, storage fee's, maintenance and the note itself. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Stretch79 said:

Sorry but I had to lol @ "buy the vrx as a second boat".  $45k isn't chump change for most people.  I'm guessing if he is looking at buying a used boat then owning two boats is probably not an option.  That's twice as much insurance, storage fee's, maintenance and the note itself. 

It was sort of tongue in cheek.  I think the op is a trailer boater.  You forgot about the boatlift, which goes about 15k for this size boat plus additional dock sections off of your main dock which themselves are not inexpensive.  The reason so many of my neighbors went to one tritoon is to avoid everything you mentioned.  Buying a PWC was a serious suggestion however.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The jet drive does appeal to motorcycle people. A couple of boaters have both and are on 1 or the other.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course, my luck, I had to travel for work until this morning and they sold the 226 on Wednesday.

There is another 226 with even lower hours about the same distance away, opposite direction but it only has the 270HP engine vs the 300 in the one that sold. Thoughts on how the 270HP would do compared to the 300?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Ljn21 said:

Of course, my luck, I had to travel for work until this morning and they sold the 226 on Wednesday.

There is another 226 with even lower hours about the same distance away, opposite direction but it only has the 270HP engine vs the 300 in the one that sold. Thoughts on how the 270HP would do compared to the 300?

My 225, which should be a little bit heavier than a 226, does well with the 270 HP engine.  Top speed is about 45, and I have no problem pulling a big towable with 3 people on it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/20/2018 at 7:43 PM, Ljn21 said:

Of course, my luck, I had to travel for work until this morning and they sold the 226 on Wednesday.

There is another 226 with even lower hours about the same distance away, opposite direction but it only has the 270HP engine vs the 300 in the one that sold. Thoughts on how the 270HP would do compared to the 300?

You will notice in my posts that I am a contrarian in most areas of life which has worked exactly as I had hoped up to this point.  My take is that I never get the base engine even if the base is 'adequate' and even if i only 'use' the extra power once in a while if that can really be quantified.   It's why my Waverunner for example is supercharged and not naturally aspirated, all of my vehicles have v8 instead of the base 6, etc, etc.  270 is probably fine, but why do fine when you are already paying pennies on the dollar for a used boat that someone else has done you the favor of taking the depreciation on.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Had a 2004 235 ssi with a 5.7 Volvo and currently own a 243 VRX with twin 250's. Honestly you can't go wrong either way. The 235 was fun, towed people easily for tubing, wakeboarding, skiing etc. The 243 is an absolute blast. Is it noisier than the sterndrive. Absolutely. But at 57 mph you can get where your going pretty quickly and shut it down to talk. Handling the jet for docking is just different, not bad. Don't let the glovebox thing be the deciding factor. We put everything in the storage compartment in the head. Safe, out of the way, dry. One thing we did was install a pump out ceramic head. Not a factory option but dealer suggested it and it makes using head more comfortable. With small children it would be even better. Just a thought.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×