Where versatility and performance meet
Porsche set the world on its head when it introduced a four-door sedan in the form of its now-iconic Panamera model. Yet that seemingly impossible combination of sportscar handling and everyday practicality quickly resulted in the Panamera becoming one of the company’s best-selling models of all time.
Max. Power: 300 hp
Max. Capacity: 12 ppl/2,535 lbs
One could easily say the same thing about the Stingray 234 LR – an exciting 24-foot deck boat that blends family-ready utility with exhilarating sport boat performance. With its smooth, flowing lines, it takes a moment to realize that you’re looking at a family runabout with seating for 12 people. It’s deceptive, and in a very good way.
Walking up to the Stingray 234 LR at the dock, the first thing you notice is its sharply raked bow. The pointy profile says speed boat, but the wide, plush twin lounge seats just beyond it say runabout. Which do you believe? Then you notice the wide step right up front between the loungers, concealing not only an anchor locker but a telescoping boarding ladder. When (not if) you beach this boat for a picnic, this convenient ladder makes getting in and out as easy as it gets. So while it looks like a speed boat, the 234 LR is clearly built for fun on the water.
Those twin forward loungers offer thick, soft upholstery, creating the ideal spot to stretch out and relax. An aluminum base in the floor allows the installation of a removable, pedestal-mount table when snack time comes around, creating a handy lunch spot.
The full walk-through windshield also typifies the 234 LR’s dual personality – big enough to offer real weather protection, yet so elegantly curved that it just looks like it came out of a boat that James Bond would drive.
It’s time for another surprise when you open the passenger console and realize that it conceals a bright and spacious head compartment that’s roomy enough to double as a changing room. Bond never had one of those! But what a thoughtful feature indeed, and one which clearly puts the 234 LR on another level as a versatile family boat.
The helm console presents a beautifully sculpted dash panel with an upholstered brow to reduce glare, full instrumentation, and a super-comfortable black and silver sport steering wheel. Both the driver and companion ride on ergonomic bucket seats with flip-up bolster seats.
Aft of the helm seat, Stingray has provided a neatly designed entertainment center, complete with a sink and integral storage for a removable cooler. A thoughtful pass-through along the starboard side provides easy access to the rear swim platform, while a wide bench seat across the stern conceals a large storage locker for bulky gear. The seating wraps around and continues up the port side, while aft of the stern bench there’s a large sun pad.
Stingray’s standard, self-bailing, full fiberglass liner with overboard drains makes for easy cleanup at the end of the day. Our review boat had available snap-in carpeting, which is a nice touch. It also had Stingray’s optional custom wakeboard tower, which can be quickly collapsed by sliding a small pin, allowing boaters to easily navigate under low bridges without fear of clipping the rack.
Power on our review boat was a 300-horsepower Suzuki four-stroke – a great match for this hull, and fittingly representing a nice balance between snappy acceleration and miserly fuel economy.
Riding solo with a full tank of gas, the 234 LR popped up on plane in under three seconds, quickly attaining a top speed of 56 mph on the GPS, which is pretty quick for a family runabout with a bathroom on board. The steering is smooth and precise, providing sure handling even when intentionally pushed to do things most people would avoid. It goes where you point it, without drama, thanks to the dependable handling of Stingray’s proprietary Z-plane hull.
For those who wonder if utility and sporty handling really can co-exist, the Stingray 234 LR puts that question to bed. Don’t be surprised if, like Porche’s Panamera, the 234 LR goes on to become an all-time best-seller.
Stingray 234 LR Specs
Dry weight: 3,648 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 56 gals.
Water capacity: 13 gals.
Passenger capacity: 12
Maximum power: 300 hp