Boat Test: 2015 Monterey 196MS

Boat Tested2015 Monterey 196MS
Price As Tested$39 CAD
Category Bowrider
Manufacturer Monterey
Length19ft 6in / 5.94 m
Beam7ft 8in / 2.34 m
Draft2ft 11in / 0.89 m
Drive TypeI/o Sterndrive
Engine MakeMercruiser
Fuel Capacity32

By Mike Gridley

Monterey’s line of boats stand out in appearance, design and workmanship and their entry level boats like the 196MS shine just as bright as their larger sport boats and cruisers. From the side, her lines flow smoothly from the bow into the integrated swim platform, accented by the rub rail.

Stepping aboard and glancing around you will note that the 196’s cockpit is stylish, detailed and functional. The upholstery throughout utilizes hi-grade marine vinyl, trimmed to complement the hull colour choices, all done in French stitching.

With the Monterey 196MS, it is the details that set it above many other price point boats. Items like pop up cleats, six in fact including mid cleats for fenders. A magnetic catch for the walkthrough windshield, not a strap, LED navigations lights and more. While some may be options, other competitive boats don’t even offer them.

The bow area has room for three seated or two lounging. For safety there are stainless steel rails and gunwale grab handles. There is storage under the main seats and a finished and draining anchor locker is under the bow cushion.

The helm design speaks volumes. It is nicely designed, handsomely trimmed and quite functional with a full set of fog resistant gauges, non-glare lighting, 12-volt outlet, waterproof switches and a stainless trimmed tilt wheel. The passenger helm reflects the design approach and houses the standard Jensen AM/FM/USB Stereo with Bluetooth & iPod Interface and four Speakers.

The helm seats are twin sport buckets, well padded with bolsters, sliders and locking swivel capabilities. Aft seating has room for three only since the starboard side has moulded steps leading over the transom, past the sun pad, to the swim platform. Under the main cushion is a standard cooler and portside the storage locker reaches well back under the sun pad. Both the seat back and sun pad lift on twin gas struts revealing a well laid out engine compartment and port side storage locker with battery and switches.

Equipped with a MerCruiser 4.3L V-6 rather than the usual 3.0L found in other entry-level boats, the 196 preformed quite well. Cruise speeds of 30 to 35 MPH, turning 3,000 to 3,500 RPM, were ideal. Two way high speed passes on a windy day averaged 46.6 MPH. Tossing the 196 into turns was fun, not stressful. Monterey’s facet series hulls with air-assist chines plays a big roll in the precise handling and performance this hull delivers.


MerCruiser 4.3 TKS 0 MAG, 190-hp, 4.3L/262 ci, V-6, 2V Carb with Alpha One Drive


0-20 / 8.4

TOP SPEED (rpm/mph)

4,500 / 47.0


3,000 / 30.1

Is your dealership missing from our database? Contact us to add it.

More Monterey Boat Tests

Featured Monterey Listings in United States

More For Sale
You have not saved any listings yet