Each year, Tracker Marine hosts America's top boating writers for a three-day test-drive event at Big Cedar Lodge near Branson, Missouri, in which the manufacturing giant puts every new boat it builds on the test menu. The TAHOE Q8 SSi is the flagship of its runabout line, and because most media were focused on the bass boats that made TRACKER famous, I had plenty of time to familiarize myself with the runabout in a lengthy cruise about Table Rock Lake.
Base engine on this capable family ride is the 4.3-liter Mercruiser, but our test was with a 6.2-liter MPI. Once clear of the no-wake zone, I immediately tagged the throttle, and the boat leaped on plane in less than three seconds and continued to press me back in my seat, reaching 30 mph in just over seven seconds. The boat didn’t stop accelerating until the GPS settled on 57.3 mph. You can expect acceleration to decline somewhat with the 4.3-liter engine, but top speed would still reach the low to mid-40s, satisfying for family fun and tubing.
Only the well-positioned windshield, with stainless-steel support struts, kept my hair from being plastered back. This is the ride one expects from a performance boat, not a family cruiser. In turns, the hull cut in nicely with little down trim applied to keep the prop’s bite.
TAHOE builds its boats with fiberglass stringers that are foam-filled and chemically fused to the hull, and the solid bonding of those components to hull and deck was apparent as I rocketed over wind chop and circled back over the wake for a tougher test.
Comfort for all on board comes from firm, supple upholstery on lounges that offer places to stretch out in the sun or sit together enjoying the spacious cockpit. A dozen other boating writers drew the same conclusion, but I didn’t leave them quite as much time to enjoy the ride.
Optional wakeboard tower and stereo speakers add fun to sport.
Tahoe’s hideaway walk-through seat cushion stores by sliding into the transom instead of being removed and stowed. Nice!
Plenty of stainless-steel trim like heavy-duty hinges, slam latches and cup holders bling the all-fiberglass hull with durable beauty.
Extended platform reaches beyond the sterndrive, reducing risk of contact when at anchor.
» Test Engine: 320 HP Mercruiser 6.2 L MPI Bravo
» Test Prop: Vengeance 21
» Test Load: People (225 LB.); Fuel (50 GAL.)
» Top Speed: 57.3 MPH @ 5,500 RPM
» Time to Plane: 2.6 sec.
» Time to 30 MPH: 7.2 sec.
» Minimum Planing Speed: 19.5 MPH @ 2,500 RPM
» Length Overall: 21'8"
» Beam: 8'6"
» Dry Weight: 3,500 LB.
» Seating/Weight Capacity: 10/1,550 LB.
» Fuel Capacity: 54 GAL.
» Max HP: 320
» MSRP: $29,995 (base); $37,995 (as tested)
» NMMA Certified