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How do you rank boat manufacturers ???


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#1 taperk600

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 10:07 AM

Being a relatively new boater....3rd yr with our Sunesta.... I have a question.... as we (well, I am) always looking for the next "toy"....

Being that we live in a resort town with a very popular lake that is 32 miles long and 3 miles wide at it's widest part, there are boats from every imaginable manufacturer and every age. From vintage woodens, "new" made wooden replicas, old fiberglass V-hulls, to brand new of every make.... And I will say that there are a lot of Formulas, Donzis and Sea Rays on the lake. But how are boats ranked ??? I mean, with cars, for example, you have Chevy's, Fords, Hondas, Toyotas, and Nissans as "average" quality cars. And BMW, Mercedes Benz, Acura, Lexus, etc as "luxury" lines. And then Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini for the "exotics".......But how would you rank boats ?? We are extremely happy with our Sunesta, but defintely are looking for a few years newer and a couple feet longer. My dream boat would be the 327 Chap ...but that will never happen....for a long time. So, the 264 Xtreme (or regular Sunesta) would be next. But again, not in our budget yet. So, we are looking for mid to late 2000 models (2004 and up) and seem to be looking mostly at the 256's in both the Sunesta and SSX lines. But a couple friends are saying to look at Sea Rays SunDecks and their similar sized bow riders. Another few are saying Cobalts are better built and higher quality than the Chaps. And I know Bayliners are an entry-level line. But how do they really stack up ??? I really don't want to "jump ship" to another manufacturer and end up with something we are not happy with. Nor do I want to be narrow minded and think that only another Chap will do.............


Look forward to hearing your input and any information you can pass along !

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#2 brayday

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 10:25 AM

I think Chapparals are top of the line, what i noticed with Sea Ray owners is they say they are the best and will not switch, So yes Sea ray makes a good product and nice boats but think they are a little over priced.

When I was looking for boats last year, I said to my self what brand do I want. Sea Ray, Chapparal, crownline, Cobalt. To me those are highend. Then I spent time looking around to find what I liked. once I found I wanted a Chap 235 ssi, the best way to search is go to google. Tyep chap 235 ssi boat trader, and all the SSI's come up. I know they have filter tools and all that but this worked good for me.

This way you can easily see whats there and whats selling.

Looking forward to hear what everyone else says.

I do have a friend who has a bayliner and he likes it, but would probably rather have a higher end boat. But when we bought it new he didn't have the extra deer for the high end boats.
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#3 cj-orca

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 10:28 AM

Well.... lets see..... imo ( and there will be some disagreements ).... entry level boats would be:

Bayliner, Glastron, Larson....

Mid-range:

Four Winns, Campion, Maxum, Doral

Higher end:

Sea Ray, Chaparral, Cruisers, Monterey, Regal, Crownline
with Cobalt & Formula being at the top

Performance (would be a whole other category for me):

Donzi, Baja, Commander Cats, Fountains, Scaraab...

there are pros/cons to ALL boats.... it's just the way it is with them....
I've had friends who LOVED their bayliners and others who had nothing but problems with a Formula.... BUT.... it wasnt just the boat itself.... (engines, canva set up, guages) ... its a combo of all....

I have yet to find the "perfect" boat - I dont think it exists.... best thing to do..... check out as many as you can, sea trial as many as you can - keep a list of pros/cons of each and then it will come down to which one "feels" right... then - Survey the crap out of it.... and go from there...

We've had 2 boats - Maxum & Chap - we loved both - (both with Merc power - and we tend to lean to Merc's.... some prefer Volvo) - engines seem to be a personal preferece, and what has worked for people in the past...

For our next boat.... we're thinking:
Chap, Formula, Cruiser, Regal, Meridian.... it's just gonna depend on what we find at that time and what feels right.... Used Sea Rays are all over the place (flooded market) and therefore you may find a larger selection at better prices...

good luck :)
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#4 delaney

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 10:40 AM

Tough question to give absolutes on. just as you say Chevy / Ford / Nissan etc are average those same brands make or have higher quality options & then you get their Luxury brand Caddys, Infinites, etc.

Boat man. seem to be similar. start w/ a basic model and then add on for luxury options. the higher quality boat manf. have very solid hulls, piano hinges on doors, thick insulation around the stringers. stand on various parts of any boat and bounce up a down, the better boats will deflect less or hopefully not at all. look at the paint jobs, the molds of the boat, are there sharp edges or did they put some art into it. Formulas paint jobs come to my mind, no arguement from me they have the best paint by far. are the seats well padded and stitched well. can you grab the windshield and is it solid - alot of what I expect from a higher quality boat is organization of engine and wire harnesses, backing plates on structrual attachments.

Ford / Chevy (Yukon, Explorer)= SR, Four Winns - good boats w/ good track records
Ford / GMC (F-150 Harley Ediition , GMC Yukon Denali) = Cobalt, Chap, Regal, Formula - same good quality boats w/ very nice upgrades

BMW / Mercedes = Cobalt A25 , Formula FX series , etc. - very special unique high dollar machines

Ferrari / Lambo = Outerlimits, Cigarrette, Fountain - go fast boats that don't pretend to be more than that very tempermental costs a lot, very little room & loud

327SSX_H20.jpgd6aaf7fc6884898b6cd8d61bf70b46c9.jpg

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#5 mpm330

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 11:00 AM

My last cruiser was a Sea Ray and their quality is good. The 2 big differences I found between the Sea Ray and my Chap are

1. The performance of the Chap is a lot better than the SR I had. It has a lot to do with the design of the hull. I can get the 330 up on plane a lot quicker with less bow rise, and it is so much more stable. The Sea Ray had a real problem with pitching side to side when taking waves.

2. The price on a SR is higher and there is not a good reason for it to be higher. My 330 hardware is a higher quality than what was in my SR.

I agree with CJ on what boats I would look at as a possible replacement, Chap, Formula, Cruiser, Regal, Meridian. All would depend on where I was going to boat and the layout of the boat. Looked at the Formula 45 Yacht, one sweet looking boat and a real step up, but so out of my price range. Not a Lake Lewisville boat.

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#6 bbrown

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 11:14 AM

I'll probably get flamed, but I do not feel Chaparral is a high-end manufacturer anymore. Too many quality control issues.

In the class of boats you are looking at I'd say

High-end: Bryant Cobalt Formula

Mid-range: Chaparral SeaRay FourWinns Regal Crownline

Average: Monterey Tahoe Bayliner Maxum Larson

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#7 275ssi

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 12:17 PM

I'll probably get flamed, but I do not feel Chaparral is a high-end manufacturer anymore. Too many quality control issues.

In the class of boats you are looking at I'd say

High-end: Bryant Cobalt Formula

Mid-range: Chaparral SeaRay FourWinns Regal Crownline

Average: Monterey Tahoe Bayliner Maxum Larson

Sadly have to agree ... oh well I have to make the best of it cause I'll have this boat for at least 5 more years.
2011 285 SSX, 8.2 L Merc HO, Bravo Three X

#8 GoosePatrol

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 12:27 PM

You are counting Mercedes among high end car manufacturers despite the fact that they've been among the lowest scoring brands for initial build quality and reliability for over a decade. Reputation, design, and price carries them still.
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#9 TDLucas

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 12:33 PM

I'll probably get flamed, but I do not feel Chaparral is a high-end manufacturer anymore. Too many quality control issues.

In the class of boats you are looking at I'd say

High-end: Bryant Cobalt Formula

Mid-range: Chaparral SeaRay FourWinns Regal Crownline

Average: Monterey Tahoe Bayliner Maxum Larson

So, for a used boat, Chaparral is still probably tops. My '97 Signature is super.
Ted


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#10 MonkeySeaII

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 12:51 PM

My ranking would be:
Exotic: Outerlimits, Cigarette, Fountain, Formula Fastech
Top : Formula, Cobalt, Bryant
High: Chaparral, Regal, Monterey, Ebbtide
Mid: Crownline, Four Winns, Rinker, Stingray, Sea Ray, Chris Craft
Budget: Bayliner, Glastron, Larson, Mariah, Tahoe, Caravelle, Maxum

Several brands have gone through so many changes over the past few years and quality went way down. Crownline used to be a higher end boat but they were on the verge of bankruptcy last year and now cheaper materials are being used. 4 Winns, another one that used to be high end but is now a much lower end boat. IMHO, SR has gone way down since their hayday. Now just mediocre. I still feel that Chap is a high end boat. I go to multiple boat shows every year and I creep around dealerships regularly to check out the new stuff. So I have a good feeling of what's out there right now. Chap uses a high quality vinyl for the upholstery. This is something I have noticed bigtime. Other manufacturers are using much lower quality vinyl.
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#11 delaney

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 01:30 PM

You are counting Mercedes among high end car manufacturers despite the fact that they've been among the lowest scoring brands for initial build quality and reliability for over a decade. Reputation, design, and price carries them still.


that may be true (I have never owned a Mercedes) but they are still a high end car based on who they market to, their price and options, maybe owning a Mercedes is like owning a new boat multiple punch list items the dealer needs to address :haha-7383:

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#12 Bullsprig

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 02:23 PM

Cobalt and Formula in my opinion.
Love my Chappy but it's not a Cobalt.
Wish I could afford a Formula.
My good dealer will probably keep me in Chaparral. He deserves the business.
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#13 leonid

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 02:37 PM

Donzi, Baja,



That's not a category.. that's diagnosis of mental condition:)

#14 cj-orca

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 02:47 PM

That's not a category.. that's diagnosis of mental condition:)


:haha-7383: :haha-7383:
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#15 Shepherd

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 03:02 PM

In the recreational marine side for the sport boat, sundeck, and cruiser market (non-high perf) the following is the ranking I give based on ride, handling, looks, resale, ergonomics, value, features, and fiscal viability. NOTE: we're talking manufacturers in North America that currently build over 400 units a year. Lastly, most boat brands are junk IMHO.

Tier 1.
Cobalt
Formula
Chaparral
Regal

Tier 2.
Bryant (Bryant would be a Tier 1 make if they built more and larger boats, and had better ergonomics)
Monterrey
Ebbtide


Tier 3
Sea Ray
Four Winns
Rinker
Crownline (once were a Tier 2, but have been dumbed-down)
Larson
Glastron
Campion

Tier 4
Starcraft
Stingray
Tahoe
Bayliner

NOTE: Only Sea Ray I've driven worth a pinch ride wise was the '90's 31 SS; all others sampled have been dogs and felt like one is riding on a knife's edge - just terrible all around when compared to a Tier 1 make. A Chaparral or Regal while priced roughly in the same range, have much stronger performing hulls and are far more forgiving when being run at the limit or overloaded.

I've probably missed some makes, but tried to include the usual suspects. Just my opinion based on driving many makes and models both new and used over the years as a marine tech. While Chaparral could do a better job with QC, these other companies are hardly free of defects and poor installation. Once a boat is fixed of any punch list, only the merits of the boat design itself are left. This is when the Tier 1 and 2 makes really pull away from the lower castes.
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#16 gators5

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 06:03 PM

Interesting topic and as you can read, all kinds of different opinions and more will come! Great stuff!!
When I was looking, I did a lot of research online, what a wonderful tool the internet has become, not so long ago we didn't have the access to all of this information at our fingertips.
After I narrowed down the boats I was interested in, I started visiting owner forums just like this one.
To my surprise, there is one forum where the owners LOVE their boats and the manufacture even more because they stand behind their boats.
And that manufacture is Bryant. Go read their forum, you will be amazed by the relationship they have with their customers.
I just didn't really care for the overall styling of their boats.
I ended up with Chap becuase I love their looks and the value of features to price is good. Overall quality and manufacture support could be much better as discussed on this forum several times.
Enjoy the journey, do lots of research, sea trial many boats and you will find one that fits your needs!

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#17 taperk600

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 07:00 PM

WOW !!! Thanks for the replies..... it's a great tool this INTERNET as already mentioned. I'm glad to see that most think Chap is still in the upper crust of the mix. And, as I personally thought, Sea Ray is more of the "NAME" than the substance currently. I really like the designs of the Sunesta (08 and up especially) and SSi/SSX bowriders for what we use our boat for....day trips out on the lake. I tend to become very brand-loyal after I like something....I'm an Arctic Cat snowmobiler true to my green blood.....and I think I can be the same with Chap based on our happiness with our Sunesta currently...even with it being a 1999. But I wanted to see what others thought too and will use this information to broaden our search, although I know I'm already leaning to stay with Chap with two 2005 256 SSX we are currently looking at. Although I did also find a 2008 264 Sunesta, but it has a Volvo 8.1/DP set up (I like Merc too CJ !!) and is a bit more than we can justify for our second boat......

thanks again to all and look forward to seeing more replies

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2005 260 SSI 496 Mag/B3, Arch and killer stereo !!!
1999 233 Sunesta LE / 5.7 EFI & Bravo 3 ( SOLD, but we have great memories from it !!)

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2007 Arctic Cat F6LXR (wife's)
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#18 DCBiker97

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 10:45 PM

I will echo most of what everyone else has said as well. Chap is now my third boat brand; prior to the 327 SSX, had a Sea Ray 290 open bow rider and really loved that boat. It was stable, powerful, well bult, never had issues, a blast to drive and fun to spend the day out on. Saw the Chap 327, and new it was something special - best of both worlds, cabin and bow rider that would suit our needs. But also, I was a bit reluctant not haing been around chaps before. So researched, and lurked through the forums. Saw that the manufacturing and materials are high quality and well built.

Funny thing is, went and looked at some of the newer SRs, and felt they were just not as well put together as my old 2008 290 sun deck. Materials seemed cheaper, boats just felt mass produced with no real "character and feel" to them. Happy with our Chap, and hope that we have a long and enjoyable relationship with them. As with most things it's all subjective. But I think most of us are in agreement as to how all the manufacturers shake out, and Chaparral is definitely up there on the higher end of the list.
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#19 Firemedic555

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 06:32 AM

Interesting topic and as you can read, all kinds of different opinions and more will come! Great stuff!!
When I was looking, I did a lot of research online, what a wonderful tool the internet has become, not so long ago we didn't have the access to all of this information at our fingertips.
After I narrowed down the boats I was interested in, I started visiting owner forums just like this one.
To my surprise, there is one forum where the owners LOVE their boats and the manufacture even more because they stand behind their boats.
And that manufacture is Bryant. Go read their forum, you will be amazed by the relationship they have with their customers.
I just didn't really care for the overall styling of their boats.
I ended up with Chap becuase I love their looks and the value of features to price is good. Overall quality and manufacture support could be much better as discussed on this forum several times.
Enjoy the journey, do lots of research, sea trial many boats and you will find one that fits your needs!


+1.
While a love my chap, I'd be a Bryant owner if could have afforded it at the time. That, and we stumbled on this boat at a great deal. Once we succumb to the dreaded two-foot-itis.... It will be a tough choice between the Bryant and the Chap.

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#20 Wingnut

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 06:50 AM

Fountain -= Chapter 11

Reggie is building RFV's now

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