Boat Test: 2010 Caravelle 217 Bowrider

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Boat Tested2010 Caravelle 217 Bowrider
Price As Tested$50,187 CAD
Category Bowrider
Manufacturer Caravelle
Length21ft 5in / 6.53 m
Beam8ft 6in / 2.59 m
Weight3,400 Lbs
HullV Bottom
Drive TypeI/o
FuelGas
Fuel Capacity36 Gals

By: Jake Thomas

Caravelle Powerboats has been producing innovative, high-quality boats for over 41 years. Although slightly under the radar in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Canada, they should definitely be on your list of test drives if you are looking for a new boat.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Taking advantage of our excellent September weather, I headed out onto the water in Caravelle’s 217 Bowrider powered by a 260-hp MerCruiser. It felt slightly under powered, accelerating from 0 to 20 mph in 6.46 seconds. Although the hole shot acceleration was a little slow, the boat still felt quite nimble and light on the water, hitting a top speed of 48 mph at 5000 rpm. This boat would be a blast with the 5.7-litre engine in it, that’s for sure, but every option has its price.

When put through the paces, the boat remained quite level and tracked extremely well, yielding a safe comfortable feeling through a range of speeds. Caravelle’s 100 per cent wood-free construction was evident as the boat felt extremely rigid through even the roughest water.

Our test boat was equipped with the wakeboard premium package that features a tower complete with integrated Bimini and board racks. The boat was also equipped with the new Star Gazer PerfectPass cruise control system, which is GPS-driven instead of their traditional paddle wheel configuration.

This system is a must-have for wakeboarding behind an I/O as that 20 mph speed is often difficult to maintain manually in V-bottom hulls.

Inside the boat, careful consideration was made to maximize storage in every available space. The optional bow filler cushion also creates a massive sun deck easily capable of holding four adults. The swivelling, bolstered captain’s chairs were very comfortable, but might be tight for taller drivers.

At the helm, the wraparound windshield had great visibility and, unlike most, the tower design had the legs parallel to the windshield frame so they all but disappeared from the sight line.

A well-engineered stern step and walk-thru create easy access to the integrated swim platform with no awkward change to the seating necessary. The large, rear L-shaped bench has ample seating for passengers, while deep gunwales create a comfortable environment with plenty of accessible storage in arm’s reach.

The attention to detail is evident throughout this boat as are plenty of innovative and functional design features. In an otherwise populated boat segment, the Caravelle 217 is on the podium in my opinion with a modest blend of quality and value.

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