The Tahoe line of boats has really come into its own this year, thanks to several flashier models that have embraced the watersports market. The new Tahoe 254 is the biggest and boldest of the lot, and it has plenty of space and features to please your entire family.

Missouri's Table Rock Lake proved to be a wonderful place to test the Tahoe 254. It was a scorching-hot day, but that only made the wind more welcome when we were under way. We had one person and a full tank (63 gallons) of fuel on board for the ride.

Our test boat was powered by a 300 hp MerCruiser 350 MAG MPI Bravo I stern drive; however, a slightly less powerful MerCruiser 5.7L MAG stern drive is standard. The 350 MAG has been given a three-star CARB rating, and its multiport fuel injection (MPI) system offers increased throttle response and better performance.

The engine's water-cooled and insulated fuel system helps keep fuel temperatures down and greatly reduces the potential for vapor lock. An exclusive easy oil drain system simplifies routine maintenance, allowing the oil to be drained through a hose that exits the boat's standard drain plug hole.

After spending a bit of leisure time on the lake, we gave the throttle a hard push forward to see just what this boat and engine were capable of. The 254 soon hit plane, running at 2,000 rpm and 10.5 mph.

We let the boat continue to gain speed, until it eventually decided it liked to cruise at 22.4 mph (at 2,800 rpm). We then maneuvered around the lake, seeing how the boat handled at cruise. Initially, there was some pounding during the turns — but when we trimmed down a bit, the pounding dissipated and it was OK after that.

The ride was dry and visibility was good; however, it would have been even better without the wakeboard tower, so there's a little bit of a tradeoff there. Even with the tower, though, we could see fine. It's too bad that the captain's seat doesn't have a bolster, because that would have made the necessary adjustments far more comfortable.

At wide-open throttle, the engine was running at 5,000 rpm and the boat hit a top speed of 48.6 mph. Tahoe rates the boat at a top speed of 50.2 mph. You might never care to go that fast, but it's nice to have the extra power there — especially when you consider that the boat has a capacity of up to 14 people (or 2,500 pounds).

Sizeable Assets

The Tahoe 254's fit and finish were good. The boat has a full fiberglass liner, in addition to a fiberglass stringer system. A wakeboard tower is sometimes detrimental to a boat's aesthetics, but our test boat's optional tower actually gave the 254 a sportier, more attractive appearance.

Deckboats inherently offer more interior bow space than similarly sized bowriders, but we were still amazed by the expansive seating area up front. The U-shaped settee has room for three to five people to sit comfortably.

On the end of the port side of the settee is an integrated entertainment center that is built into the forward quarter of the port console. The entertainment center features a sink with onboar

The port console is actually broken up into three separate entities: In addition to the integrated entertainment center, there is an enclosed head area built into the console, and a glove box on the back side faces the passenger seat. The enclosed head comes with a fully molded liner, a sink and a vented portlight.

The 254 has tons of storage up front. An anchor locker is built into the tip of the bow, a wakeboard/water ski locker is built into the floor and the U-shaped settee hides stowage space beneath the cushions.

Located at the starboard console, the helm has a full set of instrumentation, including a speedometer, a tachometer, a voltmeter, and fuel, trim, oil pressure and temperature gauges.

The helm also features a compass, marine switches (with circuit breaker protection) and faux-burlwood accents. The standard AM/FM CD stereo system comes with four speakers.

Whereas the port side offers seating in the form of a singular passenger bucket seat, the captain's seat to starboard is actually a back-to-back foldout seat that can either sit two people or straighten to become a sunpad. An L-shaped aft settee provides additional seating, with storage areas hidden underneath.

The boat's removable pedestal table can serve either this rear settee or the bow seating area. An in-floor locker is located to starboard, just in front of the aft entry that leads out to the molded, full-width swim platform. The giant swim platform has rope storage nearby. An extended swim platform with a concealed three-step ladder is available as an option.

A 48-quart cooler is standard, as are six mooring cleats, a ski tow ring, a 12v receptacle, an 800 gph bilge pump, a cranking battery by Interstate, a matching acrylic Bimini top, a fire extinguisher, a horn and a paddle. For $2,495, you can get a color-keyed tandem-axle trailer as an option. The trailer comes with a tilt/swivel tongue jack, step pads, tiedowns, "EZ" Lube hubs, submersible taillights and surge disc brakes on both axles.

Tracker Tahoe 254 Specifications

Length25'2"
Beam8'6"
Weight (without engine)2,759 pounds
Fuel capacity63 gallons
Maximum power320 hp
Base price$37,996

Test Engine
ModelMerCruiser 350 MAG MPI Bravo I
Propshaft horsepower300
CylindersV-8
Displacement350 c.i.d.
Bore and stroke4.0" x 3.48"
Gear ratio1.5:1
Compression ratio9.4:1
Maximum engine speed4,600-5,000 rpm
Weight993 pounds

Engine Packages Available and Pricing
MerCruiser 5.7L MAG$37,996
MerCruiser 350 MAG MPI Alpha$39,685
MerCruiser 350 MAG MPI Bravo I (test boat engine)$40410
MerCruiser 350 MAG MPI Bravo III$40,586
MerCruiser MX 6.2 MPI Bravo I$43,005
MerCruiser MX 6.2 MPI Bravo III$43,555

Performance
Top speed50.2 mph at 5,400 rpm
Cruising speed28.5 mph at 4,000 rpm
Miles per gallon at 28.5-mph cruising speed3
Gallons per hour at 28.5-mph cruising speed8.5
Range at 28.- mph cruising speed189 miles

Standard Features

Bimini top, compass, 48-quart cooler, marine switches (w/circuit breaker protection), faux-burlwood accents, 12v receptacle, courtesy light, 800 gph bilge pump, ski tow ring, AM/FM CD stereo system w/four speakers, integrated entertainment center, sink w/onboard fresh water, speedometer, tachometer, voltmeter, fuel gauge.

Options

Wakeboard tower ($1,795; or $2,095 w/rack), wakeboard tower speakers ($595), snap-in carpet ($285), side and aft curtain for Bimini ($195), through-hull exhaust w/Captain's Call ($1,500), painted dual-axle trailer w/brakes ($2,495).

For More Information

Tracker Marine Group
2500 E. Kearney
Springfield, MO 65803
(417) 873-5900
www.trackermarine.com

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