2017 Charger 210 Elite
It seems like all of us have been told all our lives that "all good things must come to an end". This stands true for most things but once in a great while we all seem to get a lucky break and and a second chance at some of our favorite things in life that once seemed gone for good. If you were ever a fan of Champion Bass Boats, you know the ache of an icon that went away well before it's due. However, this is one of those rare times that you get that lucky break and your once favorite hull, has now been reincarnated by the one and only Charger Boats of Richland Missouri, in the all new 'Elite Series' Hulls.
THE NEW CREATOR
Make no mistake about Charger Boats or its success at bringing back such a fan favorite boat. Sure some questions have arise concerning the rebirth of this hull in the Charger Boats plant, but rest assured that this 42 year old family owned company didn't see it's 42nd birthday by making poor decisions or building 2nd rate products. Charger boats is well known for building top shelf boats and doesn't skimp on building materials, nor do they cut corners to increase the bottom line which is evident in the new 'Elite Series'. Their dedication to quality shows in all 3 brands of boats that leave their plant, which are; Charger Bass Boats, Playcraft Pontoon Boats, and Hampton Pontoon Boats. But as we all know, sometimes attention to detail and the drive to build a top quality product are just part of the recipe. To further emphasize hitting the nail on the head with the new 'Elite Series', Charger Boats has enlisted the help of Kelly Power, Owner of Ulrich Marine in Branson West Missouri, to work side by side with the father and son team of Jim Dorris and Joe Dorris (owners of Charger Boats) to ensure they meet the expectations of returning this top notch hull. Kelly Power is a former 30 year employee of Champion Boats (27yrs in Mountain Home, AR and 3yrs while owned by Genmar) and potentially knows the former Elite Series hulls better than anyone in existence today. What better way to bring back such a popular design than to employ a veteran of the industry such as Kelly. Charger Boats scored a lot of points with us in this regard.
BEHIND THE WHEEL
As usual, it's natural to be a little suspicious of new comers to any big party. However, it only took but a few short minutes in the seat of this boat to bring a smile to my face. With Kelly Power at the helm, I zipped up my life vest set my camera and with a very proud "are you ready??" from Kelly and an anxious nod from myself, Kelly threw the coals to the Mercury Optimax 250 Pro XS powered Charger 210 Elite and we were up and gone. Quick hole shot was noted immediately upon take off for this 20ft-10" battleship as Kelly continued to throttle into the 3.0L Merc asking it for more and both the Merc and the 210 Elite responded like like the veteran hull I remembered. We quickly navigated our way through a narrow channel hard on the throttle and this hull took everything we threw at it with ease and inspired confidence at the same time. Quick tight turns at wide open throttle as well as a host of turns to the left and then back right that seemed to have the rubrail in the water, were completed with ease and our 25 Pitch Mercury Fury prop stayed confidently hooked up through all of it as each turn built more and more confidence.
INSIDE THE RIDE
As I climbed through this new battle wagon, it was plain to see that this was a tried and true Champion hull and top cap and Charger Boats Owners Jim and Joe Dorris along with Kelly Power didn't seem to miss one little spec of detail from stem to stern which included an absolutely necessary industry first that will come standard on the Charger 210 Elite. What is that industry first? I'm glad you asked! How about a bow mounted infrared camera that displays on your flush mouthed console depth finder to allow you to see hundreds of yards worth of things that creep and crawl in the night, or some half drunk recreational boater who forgot to turn his navigation lights on, or maybe a fellow angler or boater who is broke down and lost power for his lights that may be sitting right square in your path. I could go on and on with scenarios and safety is clearly the main point ...... but who are we kidding!?!? You cant just completely leave out the cool factor! Not only can this camera prevent some potentially bad memories, but it can create some positive memories with it's record function that can be saved on an SD card inserted into your depth finder mounted at the console. Charger is also the first bass boat company to offer a bass boat with heated seats as a standard option for those early morning cold weather runs.
The front deck of the boat has been brought into the 21st century as well. Accommodations have been made to flush mount the industries largest depth finders and is complimented with a recessed foot tray for the trolling motor pedal, unlike the previous hull from years past and and you will also find l-e-d lighting in the top cap to light the deck in low light conditions, as well as recessed rod buckles to hold down those high dollar rods and reels that we've worked so hard to buy. This new 210 Elite sports a 97 inch beam which leaves plenty of deck space for those long days when all your extra rods are on the front deck while still allowing room for the biggest men to fish 2 up-front while providing more than enough room to set the hook without hitting your partner, or stepping on rods. Now then, if your the guy that carries everything for every situation and have found yourself on a solid pattern where you only need a few rods on the deck the 210 Elite can more than accommodate. When you lift the lids on the front deck of this boat, you will find a port and starboard rock locker that come standard with road organizers in each locker, and each locker having the ability to hold more than 20 rods and reels per rod locker. If that still isn't enough room for all your gear, the large center storage box offer yet more rod storage as well as plano box storage.
This boat from the console back is equally impressive and well thought out. Once you've boated your fish and the work begins, there are convenient amenities to begin fish care as soon as your come off the front deck. The first thing you will notice is a change in the height of that first step off the deck, which is 4 inches taller than the original 210. This makes finding that first step much less hazardous in low light or no light conditions. Since this step is also the lid to the build in cooler, this means that your cooler is also 4" deeper. That means you can carry more goodies and drinks for those long days on the water and more importantly, more ice to keep your things cool or provide fish care to your fish on those blazing hot summer days. Once off the cooler lid and into the floor, you'll immediately find 2 well placed water tight storage compartments directly either side of your feet and tucked nicely towards the front, but underneath the driver and passenger console's, as well as a nicely tucked away measuring board that is slightly underneath the drivers console but easily accessible. Now you can sit comfortably on the cooler lid, grab a pair of pliers from your water tight storage compartment and extract the hook and confirm fish length from one central location. However, if your in the habit of consistently catching big quality bass on a regular basis (like a "few" of the guys I fish against) you can simply just open your water tight storage for a pair of pliers.
So now it's time to put that "monster" in the livewell. As you move off the cooler lid and towards the livewell lids, you'll find a center step between the ride seats that also includes storage. This storage area is a prime candidate for fish markers, culling beam, scale, needles for fish care or your bingo chip or paint stirring stick with your boat number on it. To further care for your fish, the 210 Elite has a whole new livewell system that is top notch. Once you lift the lids you will find 2 huge livewells with a 40 gallon capacity that come standard with Oxygenators and led lights and each livewell is operated independently with its own pump-out, re-circ, and aerator which is perfect for Pro-Am style events or to balance out the load during individual events.
Moving on to the rear deck you will notice more than enough room for a co-angler, guide customer or camera man to stand with plenty of room to move about freely without having to be overly cautious about every little step taken. There's plenty of rear storage on this battle basser as well. The two finished rear storage compartments are 2 inches wider and 2 inches deeper than the original 210 Champion and while 2 inches may not seem like much, the total gain seems like a mile. There's more than enough tackle storage for any co-angler or for the guy who refuses to leave any spare tackle at home. The battery box is just as accommodating as the rest of the useable features of this boat. You will find more than enough room for up to 5 (yes, I said 5) batteries, 2 shallow water anchor hydraulic pumps, oil tank and onboard charger. All pumps are a cartridge style that are easy accessible for maintenance either in the garage or on the water.
BY THE NUMBERS
|Price As Tested||$64,500|
|Full Capacity||50 Gal|
|Livewell Capacity||40 Gal|
|Mercury Pro XS||250 HP|
At the end of the day, I have to give this boat a "thumbs up". With the price of new boats on the climb with seemingly no end in sight, this new Charger 210 Elite is certainly a quality performer and in a competitive price range that is sure to grab attention from the general public. It's price point, performance and well thought out amenities are sure to grab a good portion of the re-sale market as well. All in all, this new Charger 210 Elite will meet the demands that bass fisherman alike have come to expect.
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