Boat Test Monday: Sanpan 2500 FE Bar

September 2012 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. We are going to start previewing some of the best 2012 models each Monday here at Enjoy!

Sanpan 2500 FE Bar


Our First Impression

Nothing is an afterthought on this model. At first glance we were impressed by the details of this fully-loaded Sanpan that includes a long list of standard features and great amenities. In fact, the more we looked, the more we liked and we couldn't wait to get this `toon away from the dock so we could try out that impressive sound system. 


Consumer Test

As far as unique amenities, the Family Entertainer or FE model has the key features you'd hope to find on a luxury pontoon. It would be easier to mention what it doesn't have, but what fun would that be? We love the offset front gate that makes an L-shape lounge seating area in the bow possible. The pillow-top, super plush upholstery is new this year and it's as comfortable as it looks. We also like the dual helm chairs in the bow on the starboard side, which are sure to be the most popular seats onboard.

One of the few options is the Bar package, which really helps take this Sanpan to a new level for entertaining. The raised (and LED lit cupholders) give this area a unique look, and below the Corian countertop are three stainless drawers for great storage options. The two bar chairs with backrests and footrests are a nice added touch to this area and there is even a 12-volt outlet for the bar.

Just behind the helm seat is a Grill Master unit, which is a stainless grill with a pressurized sink next to it. Also in the stern are dual rear-entry gates with matching boarding ladders as well as vinyl decking.

For 2012 the fiberglass helm console has been completely redesigned and everything you see comes standard including the Garmin GPS, Sony stereo with iPod deck and the raised platform with synthetic teak flooring for the captain. The rest of the boat uses a nice 32-ounce carpet that helps give a textured look and feel to the interior.

At the sandbar or on the water, listening to your music will not be a problem, especially with the pop-up rotating speakers in the stern. Everywhere we looked-including under the helm where we found a Polk Audi subwoofer-we seemed to find speakers. This Sanpan was born to entertain.    


Inspection Test

Two 25-inch diameter pontoons are the base of this 26-footer and the chambered tubes have a full keel with above-average welding. There are no lifting strakes or a splash skin below deck and the wiring is well-protected.

Up top there is over 14 feet of usable space from the bow to the bar area. The fiberglass work for the helm stand is outstanding, which helped earn the boat high marks for quality fit and finish work.  As far as craftsmanship, we have no concerns at all. This is a solid, well-built boat with a safe family-friendly design.


Performance Test

As tested, the Honda 115hp engine reached speeds over 25 miles per hour at full throttle. The turns were flat and the handling was smooth. Designed to cruise and entertain, the 115hp is a good fit, but if you have tubers in your family you might want to go with a little more power. 


Who Should Buy It

It's easy to envision all the ways you could enjoy this Sanpan from entertaining friends to just cooking up burgers with the family. Priced well, we like the value this loaded pontoon offers as tested, as well as the unique features and design that it offers.

Why We Love This Boat
The fun factor rating is extremely high. We love the posh seating, but it's the bar area with grill that left us wishing we had something to cook up.  


Just Being Picky
For being a family-specific model, we would like to have seen a changing room on this model as well as ski/tow bar to complete the loaded package, even though these aren't considered luxurious amenities.


Notable Standard
Sony amphitheater sound system, color-coordinated canopy, dual battery switch, vinyl rub rail, LED illuminated cupholders, owners program membership, Sony CDXM60UI with MPS storage, stainless steel pull up cleats, LED navigation corner castings and docking lights, stern ladder, Garmin GPS Map 531S Depth/Fish Finder, elevated platform, Sea Star hydraulic steering, 25-quart cooler, stainless steel cupholders and mood accent lights under seats.


Options On Test Boat
Bar package, stemware and stemware holders and clear rails.


Vital Stats & Specs
Number of Occupants - 14

Price As Tested With Power - $45.3K

Maximum Speed - 26.8 mph

Wild Ponies - 115hp

No. of Gates - 4

0-20 MPH - 6.6 seconds   

Ladder Steps - 5           

Ladder Measurement - 3' 5"     

LOA - 26' 2"

Beam - 8' 6"

Hull Design - Two Pontoons

Dry Weight - 2,605 lbs

Fuel Capacity - 30 Gallons

Tallest Rail Onboard  - Sides 24"

Lowest Rail Onboard - Stern 18.5"

Changing Room Height - N/A


Test Drive

RPM      vs.      SPEED     vs.   DB-A  

600                  2.6 mph            72                               

1000                3.8 mph            73       

1500                6.4 mph            83.5

2000                8.6 mph            84                               

2500                10.8 mph          84

3000                14.7 mph          82.5    

3500                17.7 mph          86.5                                        

4000                21.1 mph          89.5                

4500                23.6 mph          92.5    

5000                25.6 mph          95

5400                26.8 mph          97.5



Price As Tested                        $45,326

(Boat and Motor)


Base Price

(Boat Only)                              $32,211

Elkhart, Ind.


Don't forget to check out the video of the test:

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