For its size we were impressed to see the unique walk-through transom with a techy slide-away seat that reveals a nonskid boarding step to the cockpit. That's standard, not an option. Also standard -- and one reason we think Tahoe is thinking right -- is the extended integrated transom platform. It curves outward far enough to give a diving platform kids will love, while helping protect them from bumping knees and shins on the stern-drive when at anchor. You pay extra for that on many boats, and some can't even offer it.
The bow seating area is ideally contoured for stretching out. Grab rails fall into the hands comfortably. Seat cushions are removable to convert the area for fishing. In fact, an SF version of the sport comes with a livewell and removable trolling motor.
The running surface of early prototypes, including ours, was formed to make the hole shot snappier and to keep the boat on plane at lower speeds. It worked well in that respect, but the final version will improve top-end speed with a less radical shape to let the boat plane more smoothly, giving a steadier ride. Engine access in the Q5i is ample since Tahoe's construction techniques allowed removing bulkheads on either side of the motor. This should ease shade-tree maintenance or reduce mechanic time for more comfortable service tabs.
Who should buy it: The Q5i is built by one of the world's largest boatbuilders for quality-conscious boaters who seek value in their family boating and recreational water-sports experience.