Boat Test Monday: SunChaser 8522 LR

August 2012 Boat Test Monday

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.

SunChaser 8522 LR


Our First Impression

Designed to be a price-point pontoon, we were pleasantly surprised at first glance by all the standard features, as well as the overall look and feel to this boat. As we came aboard for the first time on this all-new rear lounge series model from SunChaser, we concluded the only thing entry-level on this boat might just be the price.  


Consumer Test

Features that we really like on this pontoon that would suggest possibly a mid-level boat include the contoured seating with four chaise lounges, two of them being rear-facing in the stern. The recessed speakers and drink holders built into the furniture are also a nice added touch. Below the lounges there are good storage areas with vinyl snap covers for doors and hidden in the portside bow is a hidden pop-up changing room with a new solid handle for easy access.

The helm console is simple and non-symmetrical, yet has a lot of features you wouldn't expect to find on a price-point boat like the lighted toggle switches, JBL stereo and MP3 port. We also love the fully-adjustable reclining helm chair that might just be the most comfortable seat onboard, which is always great news for the captain. 

In the stern just outside the gate is a vinyl non-skid flooring and four-step boarding ladder that is included in the list of standard features. In fact, the massive ski/tow bar is just one of the two options on this boat, everything else you see is part of the standard package including the carpet that has a nice look and feel to it. 


Inspection Test

Below deck are two 25-inch diameter chambered pontoons with full keels, and the weld quality is excellent. The cross-members use a screw-and-bolt method to fasten to the plywood deck, and overall they're on 14-inch centers and a little closer near the transom for added support. The wiring quality below is average and the full aluminum underskin is a great option to be included on this model.

Up top there is over 17 feet of usable deck space from inside the gates on this new rear lounge configuration that eliminates the rear sundeck. Overall we consider this to be a solid vessel with good fit and finish work. It also features SunChaser's lifetime plus 6 warranty, which covers the life of the tubes, deck and transom and six years on everything else.


Performance Test

Sometimes consumers debate how big is big enough when it comes to selecting the right amount of horsepower for their boat. After putting this SunChaser to the test, we're convinced the 115hp is the perfect amount of power. With the Evinrude 115 E-TEC we reached top speeds just over 30 miles per hour and even the 0 to 20 mph time of 6.6 seconds is actually quite impressive. She leans a little in the wide corners, but overall we feel the large ski/tow bar is going to get a lot of good use on this particular model for the tubers and wakeboarders in your family.   


Who Should Buy It

From a safety standpoint, those with smaller children will appreciate the tall perimeter rail that stands at 27 inches tall throughout and provides a great family area. We feel the 115hp engine is the right amount of power for this SunChaser, but we also recognize that a larger outboard does drive the price a little higher. The combination of the Evinrude with the features as tested still provide a great pontoon for less than $25K. Compared to some entry-level models, we would consider this SunChaser to be an upgrade in quality, without the upgrade in price.

Why We Love This Boat
With the new rear lounge configuration, plush carpet and a lot of added touches, the only thing entry-level on this pontoon may just be the price. 


Just Being Picky
Even for a price-point model, we'd like to see actual doors on the storage compartments below the lounges, instead of the vinyl snap covers that could break down over the years.


Notable Standards
Full fiberglass console, 2 rear-facing lounges, bimini, JBL stereo with MP3 port, changing room in lounge arm, lighted LED toggle switches and high back helm chair with arms.


Options on Test Boat
Ski/tow bar and aluminum splash skin.

Vital Stats & Specs
Number of Occupants12

Price As Tested With Power - $24.3K

Maximum Speed - 30.5 mph

Wild Ponies - 115hp

No. of Gates - 3

0-20 MPH - 6.6 seconds               

Ladder Steps - 4

Ladder Measurement - 3'

LOA - 23' 10"

Beam - 8' 6"

Hull Design - Two Pontoons

Dry Weight - 2,295 lbs.

Fuel Capacity30 Gallons

Tallest Rail Onboard - Sides 27"

Lowest Rail Onboard - Sides 27"

Changing Room Height - 5' 4"


Test Drive

RPM      vs.      SPEED     vs.   D-A    

600                  2.4 mph            75.5                

1000                3.0 mph            77       

1500                4.7 mph            79.5

2000                6.7 mph            83                               

2500                10.0 mph          86       

3000                13.1 mph          84       

3500                17.6 mph          83                               

4000                19.1 mph          86.5    

4500                23.9 mph          88.5    

5000                26.3 mph          92

5400                30.5 mph          92.5


Price As Tested                        $24,299

(Boat and Motor)


Base Price

(Boat Only)                              $11,399

New Paris, Ind.



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