NOTE: the 200LS/LX was formerly the 606zp
To the family recreational enthusiast looking for his first boat, the options
may at first seem endless and endlessly confusing. Temper the election process
with a trained eye on a tight budget. However, say $l,000 a foot, fully packed
and rolling out the dealership-and the field undergoes a somewhat rapid process
of attrition. It shrinks even further when levied with the added requirement of
stern-driven power, to be provided in a dose sufficient to yank a burly slalom
skier onto plane.
Among those left standing is Stingray's 606zpx walk-through, a new release
touted by company owner Al Fink for the efficiency of its bottom design. Fink
has made much of the technology of the zpx's underside a critical element in
creating a package sufficiently efficient in design to deliver acceptable
performance despite its meager, 262-ci V-6 (4.3L) power plant.
The zpx was indeed penned with economy and efficiency in mind. Weighing 2230
pounds and carrying 37 gallons of fuel, the Stingray did indeed prove capable
of traversing in the vicinity of maximum legal freeway speed.
These qualities qualify the zpx for its intended application: as a sharp
looking, snappy entrance ticket to versatile, family performance boating.
The prowess of Stingray's 19-degree deadrise bottom is enhanced by two sets
of strakes on either side, downward chine and a notched transom.
Stingray keeps their costs down in part with a basic approach that includes
a white gelcoat base and tape-on, two-tone graphics. The graphics were applied
with precision and skill; their basic nature relies heavily on the zpx's
interior to carry its cosmetic punch. Fiberglass work on the 606zpx was
extremely clean, with no flaws noted.
Plastic base mounts are used to anchor the single-piece, thru-bolted
stainless exterior railing. Lag mounts are used to secure the engine in a clean
but very basic installation. A traditionally styled, molded dash panel houses a
basic cluster of easily read gauges.
The rub railing and trim work reflected an evident concern for fit and finish,
as did the rigging. The wiring and drive installation were similarly impressive,
rare among boats lodged at this price point. We'd like to have seen aluminum, or
at the minimum fiber glass covering, in place of the half-inch, bare plywood
shims used beneath the motor mounts, however.
Almost invariably, lesser priced boats seem to skimp on the quality and
materials used to create their interiors. Such is not the case with the
Stingray. We found the old styled, swiveling, front bucket seats to be
surprisingly comfortable and supportive, and good-quality foam and upholstery
material were used throughout the cockpit.
Seating aft features high-quality, dense foam innards that yield plenty of
support and comfort. Interior fit and finish were generally very good, and the
inspired use of color accents in the bow seating section, seat sides, gunwales
and sundeck turned what might have been drab overall cosmetics into a deliberate,
contrasting effect that was very appealing. There were some waves present in the
seams that were stitched into the engine hatch, but for the most part, the
workmanship throughout the cockpit was top drawer.
The bow section seated two in relative comfort, considering its size; the
Stingray's 92-inch beam helped open that section up a bit. The seat bases in the
bow section were conveniently angled, and the cushions had a snug, form-fitting
Positioning of the throttle and shifter, relative to the driver's seat, was
excellent. Gauges were easy to locate and read; ergonomically, the Stingray
offered a sound and satisfying feel.
Standard features include a carpeted ski locker with plenty of room for your
favorite slalom planks, drink holders and an ice chest located below the
port-side bow seat. Grab handles, stainless steel hardware accents, a fold-down
step ladder, basic Maxima stereo and hour meter were also included in the stock
The Stingray's sure handling and surprising acceleration were testament to
the effectiveness of its bottom design. A 4.3-powered, 2,230 pound package that
can find 40 mph in 9.1 seconds, and a radar-checked 53-mph gallop, is not to be
taken lightly-particularly considering the prospect of running up and down the
lake all day for less than a $20 stop at the docks.
The 606 found sweet ski speed (34 mph) in an impressive 6.2 seconds and was
surprisingly responsive off the line. Extremely sensitive to trim, the Stingray
displayed no discernible bowrise while planing. The 606zpx also proved to be
one of the most maneuverable boats in its class that we've driven. It's
amazingly agile in tight spots and during simulated skier pickup maneuvers.
Eased into gallop mode the Stingray's display of good manners continued.
Virtually free of rattle or vibration, this smooth package performed flawlessly
while threading our cone-lined course. Highly responsive to driver command, the
606 maintained its flat attitude during increasingly demanding turning drills
and never broke its edge.
Throttle down, the impressive display continued. Smooth, forgiving and
predictable under every imaginable condition, the Stingray proved an impressive
steed, and made its driver feel instantly in control.
It also performed very well in moderately rough water. When things really
got bumpy, with 12- to 16- inch rollers, full-throttle operation prompted an
uncomfortably light feel, but time after time, reentry proved smooth and
THE BOTTOM LINE
Generally speaking, you get what you pay for in performance boats. However,
there can be a tremendous difference in quality and performance in boats
costing less than $20,000. The Stingray holds its own in the budget wars
offering solid construction and an impressive well-rounded performance
personality, given its standard V-6. The Stingray 606zpx offers an excellent
ticket to the family boating experience.