Huntsville Marine Stingray Boats Review

Huntsville Maine water tests of all of the boat lines that we promote to knowledgeable boaters.  Under this heading we will be building a boat test section and review the on water of each models performance noting the conditions under which the actual test was preformed.  The review is strictly the opinion of the reviewer and of note Huntsville Marine is a retailer of this product in most cases.  We will try each and every time to be as unbiased as possible as if we do not like the boat...we don't want to sell it.  We may include reviews from third parties from other sources as well.  There is no guarantee that the results noted for speed or on plane times for example can be duplicated by you.  This information should be used in conjuction with our Getting The Boat Purchase Right and The Green Boater Fuel Saving Tips to make your own determination or what is best for you and your family. 

Stingray Boats

Stingray 185LX

Date of Test:  March 30, 2010  Sunny and 10 Degrees, Water Calm

Test Performed and Article By: Tom Welsh General Manager

Manufacturer and Model:  Stingray Powerboats  185LX 2010
Options: Sunsport Interior, bolster seats, fiberglass liner, extended swim platform, cockpit carpet (removable), upgraded stereo, cockpit, bow and sport bimini tops in the boat.

Engine/Power: Volvo Penta 3.0L GXi 150 HP Catalyst

Propeller: Volvo 21 Pitch Aluminum

Review and Performance

The Stingray line of powerboats is new to Huntsville Marine and arrived at the dealership in the fall of 2009.  I had the opportunity to try the 185 in North Carolina in November 2009 with the standard 3.0L 135HP Volvo engine package.  The 2010 185LX (bench seating with buckets) was powered by a Volvo Penta 3.0L GXi 150Hp catalyst engine package.  This was the earliest I have ever decided to go for a boat ride on Fairy Lake and the afternoon was spectacular.  To make it more interesting there was still some loose pack ice moving around the lake.  

First Impressions:  When your eye first catches the look of this boat you would say not a distinctive look but looks deep and substantial.  Stingray utilizes a patented Z Plane hull technology to same lower fuel consumption and to provide improved performance with lower horsepower engines.  This Z plane hull shape is more poined at the bow than most competitors.  The black accent gel stripe and graphics look good and the stainless gunnel insert adds some class and quality look to the package.  The graphics are simple but effective and placed high enough on the hull sides that I would expect these not to experience dock rash.  The black hull accent is also kept high on the sides most likely to reduce marking and has the appearance of great depth.   Nice overall shine to the gel coat as well.  The top deck is all white which has advantages in limiting sun damage of the gel over time.  Overall the fiberglass work is first class.  The cockpit has the appearance of being quite roomy for up to five (5) adults with two (2) more in the bow. Seating in the bow is designed for the passenger to have their back against the well appointed back pad on the interior hull side below the windshield.  This position places the passengers to be bent at the waist with their feet straight out across the bow seat cushions.  I am 5' 10' tall and I was quite comfortable with lots of room to stretch out.  I prefer this position when I am a passenger riding in the bow.  The storage compartments and there are three (3) in the bow section are all well finished and present good storage space.  The bow cushions are not hinged for a reason as this seems to allow better access.  Many boat builders hinge their bow cushions but sometines this limits access.    Overall the upholstery is first rate and has more detail workmanship than many boats at this size and pricing.  The rear bench seat is comfortable and the upholstry and quality of the vinyl quite effident.  Opening the engine compartment the finish is good with carpet extended well back.  Stingray also places rubber engine motor mounts on this model which is unusual at this size by competitors.  Lots of usual storage here and under the rear bench.

The Boat Ride and Performance: First of all it was a spectacular day out on the water...boating in Huntsville im March!  The moving pack ice certainly gave it a different feel in combination with water as flat as a mirror.  The 3.0L 150HP Volvo GXi (fuel injected) started right up and just slowly moved along as if it was a summer day.   I putted out of the marina and into the larger part of Fairy Lakeand the first thing I noticed was how much more quiet the boat was than a normal 3.0L carb engine.  Once out in the big water I dropped the throttle and the 185 jumped to 30MPH.  On plane time feel was much better than a standard 3.0L 135HP in say a Four Winns or Monterey.  The 185 is longer than most competitive boats in this class and I think this extra lenght helps reduce the on plane time requirement.  Without hesitation and with no trim the 185 maxed out at 44MPH.  Properly trimed in ice cold water the top speed pushed the speedometer to just over 50MPH.  Trying some boat maneuvers at 30MPH left and right turns in succession handling was solid, stabile and prdictable.  Testing the boat hard I ran it up to 50MPH and tried a hard turn to port. I keep turning harder and harfer to see if I could get the prop to ventilate and I was finally successful on a full avoidance type turn where the boat stern skipped a bit.  This turn was way more than should be expected of this type and size of boat...but me being me...I like to see what they can do.   During the entire ride I was warm and wind free with the high windshield.

Last Comments:  The Stingray 185 LX with the 150 HP GXi Volvo Penta is a very good alterantive for the family or couple not wanting to purchase a V6 but wanting the superior operation of a fuel injected engine package.  The added length of the 185 seems to works towards better handling and improved ride.  Speed wise I have never been in a 3.0L powered boat that can achieve 50MPH.  The overall quietness of this package impressed me.  The fit and finsih is first rate and after testing the Stingray 185 LX..I can see why Stingray was the winner of J. D. Power Customer Satisfaction for 2009.   

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