Stingray 185LX
By Mike Milne

Test boat engine: Volvo Penta 3.0GL, 181 ci / 3.0 L,135-hp carbureted inline four-cylinder sterndrive pushing a 21-inch prop through an SX drive


TOP SPEED (rpm/mph)

2500/22.4; 3000/28.3; 3500/34.6; 4000/39.8

Helm — 82 dbA;
Aft cockpit — 83 dbA

LENGTH: 18 ft 4 in / 5.6 m
BEAM: 7 ft 1 in / 2.16 m
WEIGHT: 2155 lbs / 977 kg
FUEL CAPACITY: 21 gals/80 Litres
PRICE: $20,900

Stingray Boats
625 Railroad Ave.
Hartsville, SC USA 29550


With entry-level bowriders, buyers have come to expect about 17 feet, a 135-hp three-litre sterndrive and predictable performance. But Stingray breaks away from most entry-level expectations with savvy manufacturing techniques and inspired design.

Built by a company that specializes in runabouts, the Stingray 185 LX has an entry-level engine and price, but provides design, equipment and a boating experience that seasoned boaters will appreciate.

The heart of the successful design is Stingray’s well-proven patented Z-plane hull. By replacing usually V-shaped strakes and with roughly Z-shaped ones, and making other changes to chines and overall modified-V hull geometry, Stingray creates a hull with faster planing, better handling qualities and better speeds than most competitors using similar power.

In the 185 that adds up to an 18 footer with great acceleration that runs at almost 50 mph, carves turns easily at all speeds and comfortably cuts through choppy water. The boat is solidly on plane at 2500 rpm and you can cruise all day at 28 to 38 mph if you’re in a hurry.

All this is accomplished with a fuel-sipping, inexpensive three-litre Volvo Penta sterndrive. I have tested enough Stingrays to know the 185 LX is no anomaly; the Z-plane hull works really well.

On the 185 LX, Stingray also adds luxurious touches like the standard Dino steering wheel. The test boat also has anMP3-ready Kenwood stereo and cockpit courtesy lights. The helm is comfortable with controls close at hand and full instrumentation, including a digital hour meter and a 12-volt socket.

Stingray’s LS version of the 185 has a bucket helm seat, fold-down “sleeper” seat to port and jump seats aft. The LX test boat has flip-up bolster bucket seats, a bench seat aft (with offset hinges and plenty of storage space below), plus comfortable bow seating with more storage space. There’s more room for storage in an in-floor locker and in partitioned-off space on both sides of the engine.

The floors are carpeted in the cockpit, with carpet laid over moulded fibreglass in the bow area. The bow area carpet edges are neatly bound, showing the builder is willing to build in small extras in return for better overall quality.

With the Stingray 185 LX, boaters can expect to get more for less – that’s a great way to get into boating.


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