Our First Impression
According to Qwest, this particular model is its most
popular because of the versatility, and we can easily see why. Life is a
compromise, and that’s why we love this 7518 XRE Cruise that is part of the Qwest
Luxury Series. For those who love to fish, there is a great area in the stern.
For those who just want to relax and cruise, this compact ‘toon has you covered
On the exterior, a new charcoal color wall skin combination really
grabs your attention from a distance. It only adds to the attractiveness of
this 18-footer that looks just as nice on the inside. The price of this model
suggests entry level, but the quality, however, does not. Even the fiberglass
helm station feels like it belongs on a much higher-priced boat. Included in
the long list of standard features is a JBL stereo system with Infinity speakers, Humminbird 385
GPS color fish finder, plus a 12-volt and MP3 jack. And on top of all that, the
comfy captain’s chair slides, swivels and reclines, giving the driver the best
three-tone tan, brown and grey vinyl is very inviting and the seats are as
comfortable as they look. There is even one chaise lounge in the bow that gives
you a great place to stretch out. Below the seats is basic framed storage
and the seat boxes up off the floor with half-inch
spacers so there is room for air to flow to keep this storage ventilated.
the stern is a great fishing setup, complete with four rod holders, a measuring
station, two swiveling fishing chairs and built in to the back of
the rear bench seat are trays for your tackle storage. Proving this is a
well-thought-out area, there is even a vinyl floor that perfectly sections off
this area from the rest of the carpeted boat. And to complete the fishing
package, just below the L-shaped lounge across from the helm is a nice aerated
Two 23-inch diameter pontoons are the base for this boat.
Each has a full-length keel and the weld quality is exceptional. The cross-members
are bolted to the plywood deck and are on 22-inch centers overall and doubled
up near the transom. There is a full aluminum splash skin, and the
undercarriage construction is very tidy, including the well-protected wiring,
earning this ‘toon high marks for craftsmanship.
Up top there is nearly 10 feet of usable deck space from
inside the 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 a safe, family pontoon that was designed and built by those who take pride
in their work.
Made for cruising, the Evinrude 60 E-TEC is a great match
for this 18-footer. At full throttle we reached a top speed of 23 miles per
hour, and she leaned slightly in the sharp corners. This Qwest is a fun boat to
drive and it would be even better if we had some fishing poles with us.
Who Should Buy It
The Shootout score is a little misleading because overall
performance is factored into the total. But as far as value and quality construction,
this pontoon exceeds where larger boats fall short. For those trying to decide
between a cruising model and a fishing ‘toon, this Qwest is a great compromise.
Because of its size it will be easy to trailer, and because of its layout it
will appeal to a lot of people.
Number of Occupants 9
Price As Tested With Power $18.5K
Maximum Speed: 23.0
Wild Ponies: 60hp
No. of Gates 3
0-10 MPH 4.2
Ladder Measurement: 3’
Why we love this boat…The
versatility of having a great fishing station combined with a well-built
cruising model is going to make this a very attractive option for those looking
for the ultimate compromise.
Just being picky… The engine throttle is mounted to the side panel next to
the captain’s chair and it’s a little lower that we’re used to seeing.
fiberglass helm with Humminbird 385 GPS color fish finder with Uni-Map
capabilities, wood grain dash with full instrumentation, JBL stereo system with
Infinity speakers, stainless steel trim and hardware package, 7' bimini top and
boot, custom 22-ounce carpet, luxurious soft-touch upholstery with integrated
arm rests, unique plastic seat bases with proper ventilation and storage, rear
fishing station, portable cup holder, round table, custom 3D-style graphics and
chrome logos, riser trim with Qwest logo, Deutsch waterproof connectors,
quick-release bimini hardware, navigation lights, windshield, courtesy light,
robust rear entry ladder.
OPTIONS ON TEST BOAT
Partial vinyl flooring and docking lights.
LOA 18’ 6”
Hull Design Two Pontoons
Dry Weight 1,325 lbs.
Fuel Capacity 12
E60 DSL II
Cylinder Type 2
Cubic-inch Displacement/Horsepower 52.7ci/60hp
Lower Unit Gear Ratio 2.67:1
Propeller 14 X 14 SS
RPM vs. SPEED
900 2.4 mph 78.5
St. Louis, Mich.