Boat Tests

June 22, 2012

Chaparral 224 Xtreme: If you love water sports

Photo: Sylvain Raymond

We recently tested the 224 Xtreme which, at 22 feet, strikes a good compromise in terms of size

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Chaparral offers such a wide range of models, they’ve practically got something for everyone. Take a look at their variety of boats and you’re sure to find something that suits your needs. For water sport lovers – especially those into wakeboarding – there’s the Xtreme line that consists of four different models ranging from 20 to 26 feet. We recently tested the 224 Xtreme which, at 22 feet, strikes a good compromise in terms of size.

At first glance, the Chaparral 224 Xtreme looks a lot like the 224 Sunesta. However, it comes with all kinds of extra equipment, including a factory-standard wakeboard tower that makes the boat more practical for sport usage. Measuring 22.4 feet (6.81 m) long with a 5.6 feet (1.7 m) beam, our test model was a very nice size. It was big enough to be both functional and comfortable, yet small enough to be easy to transport. Starting at approximately $65,000, it also fits into a lot of budgets – which is not always the case with bigger models.

Custom style
Although many boats in this category offer limited style choices (such as BRP’s single-style Wake models) Chaparral gives buyers a lot of latitude in this regard. You can choose your boat’s colour and arch style, in accordance with your preferences and budget. The 224 Xtreme comes standard with a black and white two-tone hull enhanced with sporty red graphics. But the opportunity to customize your boat doesn’t stop there. Would you prefer a yellow and black or blue and black hull? No problem. As for the wakeboard tower, you can get a brushed aluminum tubular tower or a reversed arch in black or white. There are plenty of options to customize your craft.

In back, a large swim platform offers easy access to the boat. Its flat sides make getting in and out easier while the pop up cleats are retractable so you don’t have to worry about banging your feet on them when climbing aboard. Other nice features include the anti-slip surface and the integrated swim ladder. Instead of including a sunpad that spans the boat’s width, the manufacturer decided to equip this boat with a gated walk-thru leading to the cockpit. There’s also a multi-purpose bench with two sections – one facing the front and the other facing the rear – for added practicality. The bench can also be converted into a sunpad.

The practical and welcoming cockpit features swiveling bucket seats for the captain and mate, as well as an L-shaped bench behind the passenger seat that allows you to face backward when practicing sports or forward when out for a ride. Not all sport boats give you the option, as they often just come with a long L bench.

But what impressed us most was the Bimini top anchored directly in the arch tower that provides shade, even when you’re out on the water.

For added practicality, there’s a wetbar with solid surface countertop, sink, trash receptacle and storage below behind the captain. Meanwhile, the quality and attention to detail in the cockpit are true to Chaparral’s tradition, and the sport steering wheel is comfortable to grip and enhances the sport esthetic. That said, we’re hoping that Chaparral will redesign the instrumentation soon – the square gauges are not particularly attractive and can be hard to read.

An opening port light on the passenger side gives away the fact that there’s a space beneath the deck. Even though this is an open-deck model, Chaparral has included a closed section with a porta-pottie and small counter just in front of the passenger. Obviously, this area is quite cramped, but the toilet proves essential when you spend the day on the water.

Plenty of space up front
With an open deck configuration, the Chaparral 224 can accommodate up to 12 passengers, which is great for families. Its Wide Tech design is easy to recognizable as the front of the boat ends culminates in a W, maximizing deck width and space for passengers – a clear advantage over V designs.

The Chaparral 224 can be equipped with a choice of engines. The Mercruiser engines offer between 260 and 320 horsepower, whereas the Volvo engines generate 270 to 320. The model we tested featured a Mercruiser 5.7-litre 350 Mag that produces 300 horsepower, paired with a twin-propeller contra-rotating Bravo III drive. This powertrain suits the boat nicely and, despite our expectations, costs just slightly more than the base engine.

On the water
Thanks to the electronic injection, all it takes is a simple turn of the key to get the engine purring immediately. We were delighted with the addition of this technology, as it’s a far cry from carburetor engines. Push the throttle and the boat is out of the water in just 6.2 seconds. That’s thanks to the twin-propeller Bravo III drive that grips the water much more effectively than a single-propeller drive! This aspect is particularly important for water sports when you need better pull on the water, as opposed to a faster maximum speed.

On a pleasure ride, we attained a maximum speed of 52.2 mph (84 km/h) and the fuel consumption was 24 gallons per hour (91 L/h). The ideal cruising speed was attained at 2,500 rpm, for 24.5 mph (39 km/h) and a very reasonable 7.1 gallons per hour (27 L/h).

It goes without saying that this boat comes with all kinds of components that are useful for water sports. Our test model proved to have plenty of power and the ballasts help weigh down the boat for a more aggressive wake. It would be nice, however, if you could see how much water is in the reservoirs, as is the case on other models.

This boat is stylish and efficient, while its operating costs are reasonable. The Chaparral 224 is an excellent option for anyone looking for a versatile boat.

Review boat provided by: Groupe Performance Marine

Evaluation

Test model : 2012 Chaparral 224 Xtreme
Test engine : MerCruiser 350 MAG - Bravo three
Base price : $65,000
Price as tested : $75,188
Manufacturer's warranty : 1 year
Planing time : 6.2 seconds
Planing speed : N/A
Competitive models : Bayliner Bowriders 215 BR, Cobalt Water Sport Series 222 wss, Doral Elite Series 235 Bow Rider, Glastron Ski and Fish GT 205 SF, Malibu Sunscape Series Sunscape 21 LSV, Regal Bowriders 2300 RX Bowrider, Rinker Captiva Bowriders 226 BR, Sea Ray Sport Boats 220 Sun Sport, SEA-DOO Sport boats 210 Wake
Strong points : Very stable on water
Bimini top anchored directly in the arch tower
Practical for water sports
Attention to details
Weak points : Square gauges are not particularly attractive
No ballast monitoring system

Editor's rating

Fuel consumption :          
Value for price :          
Styling :          
Comfort :          
Performance :          
Overall :          

Performance data

RPM MPH GPH MPG KM/H LPH KPL Range
600 3.60 0.90 4.00 5.79 3.41 1.70 199 miles / 321 km
1000 5.90 2.10 2.81 9.50 7.95 1.19 140 miles / 224 km
1500 7.70 4.00 1.93 12.39 15.14 0.82 96 miles / 154 km
2000 13.50 6.00 2.25 21.73 22.71 0.96 112 miles / 181 km
2500 24.20 7.10 3.41 38.95 26.88 1.45 170 miles / 274 km
3000 32.90 9.40 3.50 52.95 35.58 1.49 174 miles / 281 km
3500 38.30 13.40 2.86 61.64 50.72 1.22 142 miles / 230 km
4000 43.30 16.20 2.67 69.68 61.32 1.14 133 miles / 215 km
4500 52.20 24.10 2.17 84.01 91.23 0.92 108 miles / 173 km

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