Boat Test Monday: Crest 22 Caribbean SLX CP3 Performance Plus Edition

Published online: Dec 31, 2012 Boat Test Monday
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Crest 22 Caribbean SLX CP3 Performance Plus Edition

 

Our First Impression

If we had a "loungeability" category for our Shootout review, this Caribbean would earn a perfect score. This is a comfy and sporty-looking pontoon with plenty of great places to stretch out and relax.

Consumer Test

We've been on our share of Crest pontoons, but these new 2011 models are nothing like we've ever seen from this manufacturer before. We can't possibly offer enough high praise for the newly-designed Caribbean that includes unique and stylish outside railings and a nice updated look and feel inside.

The SLX package includes the stern lounge area as well as the two helm-like reclining chairs in the bow. What's nice about the area in aft is you can face either direction, although it was designed to be a dual rear-facing setup. Below is one of the widest changing rooms we've ever seen. Measuring at over six feet tall, it's easy to operate, yet still stores compact so you can use this area for storage as well.

Part of that "loungeability" are the two chaise lounges in the bow, with storage below the laybacks as well as in the seat bases. The chaise on the port side is not as long as the starboard version, but both are still a favorable choice to sit. You might question what the seat material is made of, but don't let the marine-grade vinyl fool you; it just looks and feels like cloth.

At the fiberglass helm is an attractive-looking console and we like the built-in and perfectly centered Humminbird 365i depth/fish finder that is just one of the many standards onboard. The helm seat, like the identical captain chairs in the bow, is very comfy, but if we had to be picky, an elevated helm station would help the driver be able to see over those two chairs a little better. As is, the helm felt a little low and part of your view could be blocked by a taller passenger sitting in those bow seats, but just having those extra chairs is worth the tradeoff, and we know we're just being picky. The standard version of this boat with the radius bow lounges may be the way to go.

Also worth noting is the fender and line storage box behind the helm that can hold up to four, eight-inch buoys, the vinyl area on the swim deck, the stainless steel extra-wide telescopic ladder, as well as the solid stainless ski/tow bar

Inspection Test

With the optional CP3 package you have three 26-inch diameter HPT pontoons with the outside tubes using VTech technology for better handling. There are lifting strakes on the center pontoon as well as on the insides of the outer tubes to allow for better turning. All three are chambered and the weld quality is excellent. The solid .250-inch extruded square cross members are bolted to the plywood deck and the below-deck wiring is well-protected and finished.

Above deck the craftsmanship is just as nice. From a safety standpoint we love the solid gate panel design that helps make the boat a little more family-friendly for those with younger children. Overall this Caribbean earned high marks for safety as well as construction and fit and finish work.

Performance Test

With the Mercury Verado 200 we were pleasantly surprised by how well this boat performed. She banks beautifully in the sharp turns and is extremely responsive. We flirted with the 40-mile-per-hour mark at full throttle and as far as the fun factor is concerned, this 22-footer is a blast!

Who Should Buy It

Rated for up to 15 people, there are plenty of great lounging seats available for everyone. We love the comfort and look as well as the performance of this newly-designed Crest and we think a lot of other people will too.

Owosso, Mich.

Phone: 989-725-5188

Website: http://www.crestpontoonboats.com

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