Starcraft StarStep 221 IO

August 2016 Boat Test Monday PDB Staff

This article originally appeared in our 2016 Shootout issue. If you are interested in seeing more stories like this, click HERE to subscribe. 

Three Things

You can’t overlook the sporty look and feel of this Starcraft or the impressive list of features, but for the price it may just be the added value that stands out the most. 


When on the water, space is at a premium and that’s why we love the spaciousness of this StarStep model. Inside the cockpit you have nearly 10 feet of floor space once you step down and that’s not including the large bow deck or the extended swim platform in the stern that both include four-step telescoping boarding ladders as well as PlasTEAK flooring. Plus in the stern there is a wash-down sprayer so you can keep the sand outside the boat where it belongs. For those who love to swim and/or frequently visit local sandbars, this may just be the model you’ve been looking for your whole life.

Inside the boat is optional snap-in Sea Weave carpeting and we especially like the wrap-around bench that truly maximizes your seating area so you really can seat up to 13 passengers comfortably. Don’t worry, the bow cushion is removable so you don’t have to step on any seats to come aboard. As far as hidden amenities go, the removable cooler under the rear seat is a nice added touch; same goes for the deep in-floor ski locker.

At the helm are large, easy-to-read multi-function gauges that are fog-free and we really like the access to the well-labeled rocker switches. With the standard bucket helm seat with flip-up bolster as well as tilt steering, the captain should be able to easily get comfortable behind this console.

Besides the Infinity Bluetooth stereo there is also an MP3 auxiliary plug as well as a 12-volt outlet. And speaking of music, each of the four speakers are LED backlit so they look as good as they sound, especially at night. 


One of the nice things about a Starcraft is it comes with a lifetime hull warranty, plus on this fiberglass deck boat you get a six-year blister warranty. The 24-ounce woven roving fiberglass includes a 6-inch overlap and the encapsulated pressure-treated wood stringers use flotation foam.

If we’re being picky, the access to the battery is great with the compartment built into one of the stern steps, but this location could lead to water dripping in as swimmers re-enter each time. Probably not a big deal, but we felt it was worth noting on the otherwise solid layout. From a safety standpoint, we love the stainless steel grab handles used throughout the boat as well as the deep seating. 


With the step hull design, more air can get under the boat for faster planing and with the extended running surface the ride is nice and smooth. With the 4.5L MerCruiser we nearly reached the 50-mile-per-hour mark at full throttle with this 250hp engine. She is truly fun to drive as we dove into sharp turns and raced a crossed the water. Because of the responsiveness of the StarStep hull, this Starcraft earned high marks for performance.  

Final Thoughts

Not only does this deck boat have a zippy feel to it, we also appreciate the sporty look. The splash of red on the exterior is the perfect complement to the tan interior. It’s considered value-driven because of the overall price as tested with power, but based on the amenities and how well this Starcraft performs, it may be in a category by itself.

2016 Boat Specifications 

Number of Occupants            13                   

Maximum Speed                     49.1 mph                    

Wild Ponies                             250 hp

No. of Gates                           3

0-20 MPH                               6.16 seconds  

Ladder Measurement             3’ 9” deep 

Why we love this boat…Performance is the highlight of this sporty deck boat; it is truly a lot of fun to drive because of how well the StarStep hull responds.    

Just being picky…Love the easy access to the battery, but feel it might be better if not located in a compartment below the stern step.


Full instrumentation, ski/tow, temperature gauge, marine-grade speakers, integrated interlocking stringer system, full fiberglass innerliner, bow platform w/ boarding ladder, removable 36 qt cooler, extended stern swim platform w/ boarding ladder, removable table, automatic bilge pump, 51-gal. fuel tank, in-floor storage, Bimini top and freshwater sink w/ pump faucet. 


Sportstar Pkg., cockpit cover, snap-in Sea Weave, stainless rubrail, vinyl storage and depth finder. 


LOA                  25’ 11”            

Beam                 8’ 6”

Hull Design       Semi-V

Dry Weight      2940 lbs.

Fuel Capacity    51 gallons 


Engine                                                             Mercury 4.5L

Cylinder Type                                                 V6

Cubic-inch Displacement/Horsepower           274ci/250hp

Lower Unit Gear Ratio                                   1.62:1

Propeller                                                          15 1/4 X 18 Quad 4 Aluminum 

RPM     vs.    SPEED     vs.     DB-A

750                  3.0                     86

1000                4.0                     85

1500                6.2                     86

2000                9.2                     90

2500                10.4                   92

3000                19.2                   94

3500                28.6                   98

4000                34.1                   102

4500                37.5                   103

5000                46.4                   105

5400                49.1                   106


New ParisInd.







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