Snappy performance and comfortable amenities.

Boat Test #1508

Hartsville, South Carolina-based Stingray Boats recognizes that not every buyer needs additional seating in the bow. For some buyers, this space would be much better used as a cuddy cabin. Enter Stingray’s all-new 208 CR – a sleek, nice-ly made performance runabout that blends sporty handling with the practicality of a cuddy cabin.

At the dock, the 208 CR looks elegant with its smoothly flowing lines and graceful sheer. The full-width swim platform flows seamless-ly aft providing a convenient boarding point, allowing an easy transition over the sunpad and into the main cockpit.

Our test boat was finished with Stingray’s two-tone Coffee interior treatment, with dark grey trim offsetting primarily tan upholstery. The stitching work on the seating was first-rate, hinting at the boat’s quality overall. The driver and companion are treated to sup-portive sport bucket seats, each with a flip-up bolster cushion for enhanced visibility when negotiating tight channels and moor-ages. Main cockpit passengers enjoy a near full-width stern bench seat, only the center portion interrupted for the transom walk-through. Lifting the seat cushions provides access to substantial storage lockers, the port-side one partially occupied by a removable 23L Igloo cooler.

No matter where you sit in the 208 CR, you’ll find at least one cup holder within easy reach. Our test boat had the optional stain-less steel package, which includes the cup-holders, grab handles, horn cover, windshield supports, dash rail, bimini top quick con-nects, cabin window frame and vent covers. A pair of stereo speakers in the main cockpit make the most of the Marine Audio MA100 Bluetooth stereo.

The main cockpit floor is fibreglass non-skid, a sensible choice that’s durable and easy to clean. The inner gunnels are upholstered to match the seating, for added comfort and a clean, finished look. Overhead, a full bimini top keeps the mid-day sun at bay, while cour-tesy lighting provides a little added security after dark.

The Stingray 208 CR comes with a full walk-through windshield for easy access to the bow deck if required.

The helm console is very attractive, with a beefy, soft-touch steering wheel that feels great in hand. The throttle is perfectly posi-tioned, coming to hand easily and without having to reach.

The passenger console offers a stainless steel cup holder and a well-placed grab han-dle, while both consoles include a nice raised footrest with a non-skid finish. Between the consoles, a bi-fold door opens to access the cuddy cabin.

You wouldn’t expect the cuddy on a 20-foot runabout to offer much, and this is where Stingray hits a real home run. Not only is it much larger and brighter than one would expect, it’s more than comfortable enough for the occasional weekend away. Mesh pock-ets for small item storage, a pair of stereo speakers, excellent ventilation via an over-head round hatch and a Porta-potti make this space rather inviting.

By far the most enjoyable thing about the 208 CR is its’ performance. Alone in the boat and with a half-tank of fuel, the 200 horse-power Volvo Penta V6 puts the boat on plane in a little over three seconds. At wide-open throttle, it reached 53 mph on my GPS with the Volvo turning at 5,900 rpm. For those who need more than a bowrider, Stingray’s 208 CR really delivers.

By Craig Ritchie