Boat Buyer's Guide 2013
Author: Alan Jones
Boat manufacturers don’t get to be 110 years old without carving a strong niche in the marketplace, and since 1903 Starcraft has built its reputation by working hard to deliver the best value on the water. The family owned legend from New Paris, Ind., keeps the tradition alive with the versatile 195 IO Sport bowrider.
Typically, sub-20-foot bowriders don’t have a lot of passenger space in front, but by carrying the beam farther forward, the designers at Starcraft gave the 195 IO Sport plenty of room and extra freeboard for passenger security. There are twin forward-facing bowrider recliners as well as a rearward-facing seat that’s perfect for watching skiers do their thing.
Our test boat sports Starcraft’s new All Star Package, which bundles a low-profile tinted windshield with sporty graphics and stylish upholstery for some extra pizzazz. The bling factor is also bumped up with LED-lighted cupholders, a stainless steel rubrail and pop-up cleats. The captain gets tilt steering and a helm chair with a flip-up bolster.
You can get the 195 IO Sport equipped with a four-cylinder MerCruiser 3.0L sterndrive, but our test boat has the preferred 4.3L V-6 engine, which makes this boat come alive. On plane in 3.2 seconds, the 195 IO reached 30 mph in only 6.2 seconds, with a top speed of 50 mph. The power steering had a light feel and allowed the driver to spin the 195 in a tight arc with little effort, as it tracked in a predictable manner.
If skiing is your thing, the 195 IO Sport can scratch that “niche” with several tower options, which include wakeboard racks, coffee can speakers and a rearview mirror. A standard in-floor ski locker is large enough for kneeboards, and the sculpted swim platform is perfect for booting up or just hanging out. Avid anglers will choose the Fish Package, which comes with a fishing chair in the bow along with a livewell and rod holders.
Starcraft boats come with one of the best warranties in the business, a transferable Lifetime + 6 policy that not only gives you lifetime limited coverage on the hull and structure but also covers carpeting, upholstery and most electronics for six years.