By Craig Ritchie
Read the full test here in issue 29-3.
Starcraft turned a lot of heads when the company introduced its popular SCX Crossover line of powerboats back in 2011. Blending deckboat interior space with bowrider utility and sporty handling, the SCX did a lot of things really, really well, leading it to become a strong seller and spawning an eight-model lineup of I/O and outboard-powered models. The newest member of this growing family is the brand-new-for-2014 SCX 211 I/O, a 21-footer that packs the best of the SCX series into an easily towable package.
With its flowing lines, bold colours and stylish pickle-fork bow, the 211 SCX I/O is a stunningly attractive boat. Its high performance, reverse chine hull lends a low-slung, sporty look on the water, while still offering a surprisingly generous interior depth. That spacious interior is enhanced by 211 SCX I/O’s single console layout, which opens up the port side and allows the flowing console and neatly flared, smoked windshield to really make a statement. The sporty look is further complemented by the boat’s gracefully integrated swim platform with elegant transom seating. Bold engine vents accented by stunning graphics complete this fresh, inviting stance.
Yet even with its cat-like profile, the SCX 211 I/O still manages to provide comfortable seating for four adults in the bow. That’s been a hallmark of the SCX series and its dramatic pickle-fork bow profile – by maintaining its generous 102-inch beam so far forward, Starcraft has reclaimed a huge amount of interior real estate, giving the boat the appearance of being bigger inside than it actually is. But the benefits of the SCX design are even more apparent in this model, with its 20-foot, four-inch overall length. Pop out the filler cushions along each bow gunnel and the twin forward loungers convert to “quad pod” seating for four. There’s more than enough space to keep you from knocking knees with your neighbor, even with the pedestal-mount table left in place.
The SCX 211 was designed from the outset for family fun, and that’s evident as soon as you step onboard. For example, look forward between the bow seats and you’ll find a wide bow platform with a central hatch cover that conceals a telescopic boarding ladder. You only need to pull up on a beach for a picnic once to appreciate just how awesome this thoughtful feature is. Ditto for the wide bench seat on the rear swim platform. It’s the perfect spot to get set up for skiing or boarding, or to dry off after a swim. Why sit on the platform itself when a nice bench seat is so much more comfortable?
The open cockpit layout of the SCX 211 I/O speaks further to this boat’s versatile design. The seat upholstery is typical Starcraft – supple yet supportive, with tight, even stitching and eye-catching trim. A port-side, forward facing lounge opposite the helm might be the most comfortable seat in the house, while a wrap-around L-shaped lounge at the stern easily flips forward to convert the stern seat into a huge, flat sun lounge that’s almost the size of a Queen bed. To starboard, a spacious transom walk-through conceals a 36-quart removable cooler accessed through a floor hatch while overhead, a standard Bimini top provides refuge from the mid-day sun.
The driver gets spoiled with a stylish and supportive helm chair with integral arm rests and a flip-up bolster. The helm itself is neatly laid out with all main gauges – speedometer, tach, fuel gauge, trim gauge and volt meter – positioned up top where they’re easily seen regardless of how the tilt steering wheel is positioned. Stylish rocker switches (protected by circuit breakers) control basic functions like the lights and bilge blower, while to left of the stylish steering wheel sits an AM/FM stereo with MP3 input. Just off the helm, a large in-floor storage compartment with a carpeted floor neatly conceals skis or other bulky items. In yet another example of the boat design benefitting from real-world experience, the lid is supported by twin gas rams, allowing the use of both hands when stowing or retrieving gear.
In keeping with the rest of Starcraft’s SCX family, the 211 I/O comes loaded with so many standard features that the list fills an entire page in the dealer’s order book. But because every boater has their own idea of what makes a boat just right, there’s an equally impressive option list as well. Many of the most popular options come grouped in convenient packages. The Sport Package, for example, adds a wake tower with racks and speakers, sport furniture and special colours and graphics. I’d also look closely at the LS Package, which brings snap-in carpet, lighted beverage holders, an upgraded stereo with USB port, lighted speakers and a sub amp, a remote touch pad for the stereo, a sink with transom shower, and underwater lighting. A Fishing Package, with a live well and bow fishing seats, is also available to please the anglers in the family.
Standard power for the SCX 211 IO is a MerCruiser 4.3L and Alpha 1 drive. This makes a nice package, delivering a great balance of performance and fuel economy thanks to that beamy, reverse chine hull design. Performance-minded boaters have the option of selecting from a range of V8 options from Mercury and Volvo Penta, up to a whopping 270 horsepower. Regardless of power option selected, the ride is predictable, precise and quiet thanks to the SCX’s tremendous hull rigidity. Constructed with 24-ounce woven roving fibreglass with a full six-inch overlap on all seams, the SCX is built like a tank, and backed by Starcraft’s Lifetime Plus 6 limited warranty providing lifetime coverage on major structures like decks, transoms and other major components, as well as six years of coverage on components, including carpet and upholstery. It’s even transferrable to the second owner if you contract two-footitis and upgrade to a larger SCX down the road.
The year 2014 marks a major milestone for Starcraft, as the company celebrates its 110th anniversary. The fruit of that incredible heritage can be clearly seen in the SCX 211 I/O – a versatile, capable boat that aptly combines deckboat space and seating capacity with sporty runabout styling. It really is like having the best of both worlds.
Length: 20’ 4” / 6.2m
Beam: 102” / 2.6m
Dry weight: 2,715 lbs / 1,232 kg
Passenger capacity: 12
Fuel capacity: 50 gal / 189L
Maximum power: 270 hp
For more information:
New Paris, IN
By Craig Ritchie