It’s always a tough decision for a boatbuilder to discontinue a popular model. But when the replacement comes with a dry, seaworthy hull, plenty of fishing necessities, and the comfort level desired by today’s discriminating buyer, that leap of faith doesn’t seem so daunting. Such is the case for Scout’s new 215 XSF, a sport utility vessel that’s sure to earn its own fan base in short order.
Replacing Scout’s venerable 210 center console, the 215 XSF comes standard with a choice of a Yamaha or Mercury 150 hp engine. The maximum rating is 250 ponies. Our test boat came with the 150, for a top speed of 45 mph with a light load, and Scout says the 200 offers an optimal balance of power and weight. Adding the bigger outboard should make this a 50-plus mph package. The sweet spot for optimum cruise is 22.2 mph at 3,500 rpm. At that pace, the boat uses only 5.5 gph while extending the range to 4.04 mpg. With the standard 82-gallon tank, that’s a lot of fishing and cruising between fill-ups.
Handling and performance are equally impressive. The boat stayed dry regardless of heading, with an entry as soft as microfiber. There were no surprises, even in hard turns. The boat was equally stable at rest in a beam-to chop. The 150 in back provided a satisfying hole shot, but zip freaks will probably want the bigger engine. Bay Star hydraulic steering comes standard with the 150; buyers must upgrade to the SeaStar steering system when ordering the boat with a 200 or bigger engine.
This 21-footer feels much bigger than its actual size. There’s plenty of room to move around the cockpit or to the bow. There’s an extra-large and deep coffin box forward of the console that drains overboard. Three storage compartments, including dual insulated 36-quart fish boxes, lie below the casting deck. A locker on the bow includes a dedicated rack for the anchor and more than enough storage for ground tackle.
Our test boat came equipped with the optional Elite leaning post with 65-quart Yeti cooler, plus the four stylish integrated rod holders, three cup holders, a fold-down bolster seat and a backrest. The regular aluminum leaning post comes with a 72-quart Igloo cooler. There’s ample room for extra combos in the twin horizontal racks and more rod holders in the gunwales. A 21-gallon aerated baitwell rigged with high-speed pickup sits in the portside corner of the transom.
The size of the console on the 215 XSF is just right too. The stainless-steel steering wheel with control knob sits to port, with the system switch panel on the centerline. A flush-mount panel accepts a 10-inch display, and a Fusion Bluetooth stereo with four speakers and LED lighting also comes standard. On the dash, there’s 12-volt power for three USB outlets and a 12-volt plug. The port console door leads down to a roomy head compartment with convenient access to the helm wiring and battery switch. An optional Porta Potti can be added, along with a 10-gallon freshwater washdown system. The available Sport package includes an aluminum T-top with aft spreader lights (and Scout’s signature D-tubing design), rocket-launcher rod holders, forward-seating backrests (another Scout innovation) and a stowaway transom bench-style seat. Trim tabs, a battery charger, dual LED underwater lights and a raw-water washdown may be added as well. The combination of the starboard transom door and dual swim platforms allows easy entry at the dock or at the beach.
Like all Scouts, the 215 is solidly built for years of trouble-free use, with a reverse shoe-box design and 100 percent hand-laid fiberglass. Premium gelcoats are used along with heavy-duty hardware and components. The aft systems room has a polished bilge and hatch for quick cleaning. In keeping with Scout’s distinctive style, the 215 sports a gentle sheer and signature creamy-white look, with four optional hull colors available.
There is no shortage of small center consoles on the market, for multiple reasons. They are versatile, easily trailered, and the price is affordable even for entry-level budgets.
If you’re considering a capable family fishing boat in this size, add Scout’s new 215 XSF to the shopping list. It offers lots of bang for the buck.