It's Boat Test Monday! Every year, we meet up with some of the top manufactures in the pontoon and deck boat world to test their newest models. All of these reviews are compiled in a special Boat Test issue that comes out during the first part of the year.
Qwest Adventure 7516 Cruise Deluxe
Our First Impression
By definition, this Qwest is considered a compact pontoon, but that doesn't mean it's not loaded with great features. When you start looking around at the comfortable seating arrangement, rear-entry design as well as the sundeck, you'll actually be quite impressed with all that is packed into this 16-footer, at least we were.
Priced at under $15K with a Mercury 25hp engine, the price may suggest entry-level; the quality, however, does not. Even the fiberglass helm station feels like it belongs on a much higher-priced boat. It's the added value plus quality in design that we've not only come to appreciate from Qwest, but also to expect, and this 7516 model doesn't disappoint.
Included at the helm station are two easy-to-read gauges, rocker switches, as well as a Prospec mini stereo with a MP3 port that we put to good use (we'll get to that later). This console could use a little elastic strap for your MP3 player or possibly a pocket for security, but we realize we're really being picky here. For the captain, a solid stainless steel wheel gives a true nautical feel to the boat, plus the upgraded fully adjustable helm chair that reclines is a welcome addition.
Behind the helm seat is a little area that might be considered "dead space" to some, but Qwest has found a way to incorporate a jump seat below which you could store fenders or even convert to a trash receptacle. They call it a rear storage pod, but we just call it a great use of space. Getting the most out of the layout has always been a trademark for this builder.
Worth noting is the three-quarter sundeck that rounds out the features and you can gain access to the fuel tank as well as a separate storage compartment below.
Two 23-inch diameter pontoons are the base of this boat and integrated into the design are splash guards on the nosecones. Each pontoon has a full-length keel and the weld quality is exceptional. The C-channel cross-members are screwed to the plywood deck and are on 22-inch centers overall and doubled up near the transom for added strength. The below-deck wiring is average and overall the undercarriage earned solid marks for craftsmanship.
Up top there is nearly 9 feet of usable deck space from inside the bow gate to the rear bench seat. This compact pontoon is extremely well-built, and what it gives up in size you get in quality. We consider it to be safe and family-friendly, especially considering the tall rail height throughout the boat.
For a smaller `toon this Qwest does have some power. Obviously with the Mercury 25hp engine you're not going to win a lot of speed races, but this isn't what the pontoon was designed for. At full throttle we reached a top speed of 14 miles per hour and were impressed at how sharp you can turn. This is great cruising boat and we actually found a song on our MP3 player that felt fitting for our test: "She's My Little Rock N Roll," by the Rolling Stones. With comfy seats and the sun in the sky, we could have stayed out on the water all day and just relaxed on this Qwest.
Who Should Buy It
It could be considered price-driven, but we'd like to think of this Qwest Adventure `toon as quality-driven and it seems to have all the amenities you'd expect to find and more for an entry-level model.
Why We Love This Boat
A lot of great features are packed into this 16-footer and we love the value you get for a boat at this price-point.
Just Being Picky
We know we're being overly critical of this entry-level model, but we'd feel better about the designated spot for a MP3 player if had a pocket or an elastic strap to help secure it.
Deluxe fiberglass helm with stainless steel steering wheel and windshield, carbon fiber dash with tach and volt, deluxe upholstery with ultra flow seat ventilation and premium vinyl, table, bucket style captain's seat with slider, quick release bimini, navigation lights, mooring cleats, sundeck, composite rail spacers, heavy-duty gate latches and pinch protectors and aluminum ladder.
Options on Test Boat
Vented floor mats in seat bases, upgraded deluxe captain's seat, Prospec mini stereo with MP3 plug and JBL speakers, courtesy light package, rear storage pod and riser trim.
Vital Stats & Specs
Number of Occupants - 8
Price As Tested With Power - $15K
Maximum Speed - 14.2 mph
Wild Ponies - 25hp
No. of Gates - 3
0-10 MPH - 6.1 seconds
Ladder Steps - 4
Ladder Depth - 3' 2"
LOA - 16' 5"
Beam - 7' 6"
Hull Design - Two Pontoons
Dry Weight - 1,175 lbs.
Fuel Capacity - 12 Gallons
Tallest Rail Onboard - Sides 28"
Shortest Rail Onboard - Sides 28"
Changing Room Height - N/A
RPM vs. SPEED vs. D-A
1000 2.1 mph 82
1500 2.8 mph 79.5
2000 3.8 mph 92
2500 4.4 mph 99.5
3000 5.5 mph 88.5
3500 6.3 mph 86
4000 6.9 mph 89.5
4500 8.0 mph 90.5
5000 10.1 mph 92
5500 13.2 mph 93
5650 14.4 mph 95
Price As Tested $14,983
(Boat and Motor)
(Boat Only) $8,931
St. Louis, Mich.
Don't forget to check out the video of the test: