Affordability never looked so good! For those in search of an all-purpose boat with room for 12 – minus the hefty price tag – the SVX 171 OB may be what you’ve been longing for. And unlike unicorns, family-friendly boats in the $30K range really do exist.
Designed to come in as a budget-friendly model, the new series from Starcraft truly hits the mark. Besides the 17-foot version we tested, the lineup also includes 19-, 21- and 23-foot floorplans in this outboard series. However, what we really like about this particular model is on the trailer it will fit in most 20-foot garages. Now that’s impressive.
You can board from the water at either end, thanks to the two telescoping ladders that reach 3 feet, 9 inches below deck for easy access and the eVA Soft Touch Traction Mat is soft on your bare feet.
With the helm console molded in, the dash has a clean look to it with chrome bezel gauges, lighted rocker switches, a USB port and a Jensen stereo unit. Not a lot of bells and whistles as tested, but there is room for the captain to upgrade to a GPS map or fish finder if desired.
One of the few options included on this specific fiberglass deck boat is the exterior upgrade that allows you to add a pop of color to the gel coat. The orange exterior stripe gives this boat some personality with more options available to help customize it and make it your own. Other options include a ski/tow pylon and the snap-in MarineMat cockpit flooring that doubles as an accent color that ties in well with the vinyl seats.
From a safety standpoint we appreciate the deep freeboard as well as the stainless steel grab rails found throughout. Plenty of great storage options as well, including an in-floor ski locker that is nearly 14 inches deep and 8 feet long. Overall this Starcraft earned high marks for safety and construction, but if we had to be picky we’d like to see a little more angle to those chaise lounges. There are two forward-facing in the bow and one rear-facing across from the helm, but we just wish there was a little more lounge to these loungers.
The zero-to-20 mph time clocked in at 6.4 seconds and once up on plane she handles well. With the semi-vee hull we banked beautifully in tight turns as expected and after comfortably reaching the 30 mph mark we had to do a double take to confirm the Mercury 90hp engine on the back. When you put the throttle down and go flying across the water it feels like you have a lot more horses than just 90 with this hull. Plus there is plenty of kick and zip to put that ski pylon to good use. The power is a good reminder this affordable deck boat has a lot going for it.
Fiberglass deck boats – especially affordable fiberglass deck boats – are creating a buzz in the boating industry once again and Starcraft is among those leaders. With this SVX 171 OB you get a great entry-level boat with enough power to pull the tubers and kneeboarders in your family without breaking the bank.
New Paris, Ind.
Number of Occupants: 12
Price As Tested With Power: $32.5K
Maximum Speed: 33.8 mph
Wild Ponies: 90 hp
No. of Openings: 2
0-20 MPH: 6.40 seconds
Ladder Measurement: 3’ 9” deep
Why we love this boat…Those who don’t believe you can get an affordable boat capable of speeds over 30 mph with room for up to 12 passengers need to see this SVX.
Just being picky…Hard to find much to complain about on a price-point boat, but it would be nice if the backrests for the lounge chairs had a little more angle.
Full Fiberglass Liner, Bow and Stern eVA Soft Touch Traction Mat, Rubber Rub Rail, Tilt Steering, Jensen Stereo w/Bluetooth and Bimini Top w/Boot.
OPTIONS ON TEST BOAT
Graphic Upgrade, EvA Soft Touch Traction Mat in Cockpit and Ski/Tow Pylon.
LOA: 17’ 6”
Beam: 8’ 6”
Hull Design: Fiberglass
Dry Weight: 2250 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 48 gallons
Engine: Mercury 90
Cylinder Type: Inline 4
Cubic-inch Displacement/Horsepower: 128.1ci/90hp
Lower Unit Gear Ratio: 2.07:1
RPM vs. SPEED
Price As Tested (Boat and Motor): $32,534
Base Price: (Boat Only): $18,024
This article originally appeared in our 2020 Shootout issue. If you are interested in seeing more boat tests like this, click HERE to subscribe.