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 http://www.pdbmagazine.com/
Aqua Patio 220
Our First Impression
This is one of those attractive-looking pontoon boats with overstuffed seating that are becoming more and more popular. Priced well, we love the little added touches that this particular model has to offer and we a feel a lot of other people will too.
When it comes to this 23-footer, it almost seems like it was designed around the three plush lounges that are as comfortable as they look. The two lounges in the bow and the rear-facing one in the stern offer comfortable seating and below each back rest we found trash receptacles in the storage compartments, which is a nice added touch.
We didn't see a lot of the traditional three-quarter sundecks with pop-up changing rooms at our Shootout like we've seen in the past, so it was nice to see this layout on the Aqua Patio. When you lift up the sundeck you can gain access to the rear-corner changing room through the small contoured door, and the pop-up enclosure is average in height. The sundeck base is made of Rotocast material with built-in fender storage, helping make the most out of this space. Part of this rear-entry design is a standard ladder that has just enough room outside the gate, but not a lot of extra space for drying off before you come inside. One of the options on this model is the ski/tow bar, which is something we like to see on all boats regardless of the engine size.
The helm console is very attractive and we love the automotive meets sporty dash that includes the new Sony stereo with an iPod tray inside. Another nice touch to the helm is the master power switch below as well as a fuse panel.
Worth noting is the split 10-foot bimini boot that unzips easily and eliminates the hassle of having to get it up and over the stern light, which is a great new design that came from an engineer who obviously uses the boats being designed.
Two 25-inch diameter chambered pontoons are the solid base for this craft. The C-channel cross-members are on 18-inch centers and are bolted to the plywood deck. Overall we found no dangerous or sharp edges below, including the splash guards that are well protected, and the wiring quality is excellent.
Above deck there is nearly 15 feet of usable deck space from inside the bow gate to the rear bench. We love the layout and design of this boat and the rails and gates, at 25 inches tall, are very family-friendly. The craftsmanship is good as well as the fit and finish work.
Honda has done very well in the pontoon industry with its 90hp engine, because it gives plenty of pep without breaking the bank. At full throttle we reached speeds over 25 miles per hour and you really do feel quite safe in the sharp, flat corners. She handles well and for its designed purpose of being a comfortable cruising pontoon, we feel this Honda 90 does just fine.
Who Should Buy It
Across the board it was the safety family-friendly features that seemed to get the most attention from our staff during our test. Obviously families with young children would be a good fit for this model, but there are still a lot of features that older couples will appreciate as well, like the plush seating and the sporty helm console. This is a great pontoon package that has it all, including a family-friendly price as tested.
Why We Love This Boat
There are plenty of comfortable seats on this particular model, but it's the safe, family-friendly layout and design that we probably love the most.
Just Being Picky
One way to improve the already extremely comfortable lounge chairs would be to incorporate a movable armrest for them, but as is the three do offer a great place to stretch out and relax.
Playpen cover, owners program one-year membership, Sony CDXM30 with MP3, stainless steel fixed cleats, dock lighting, built-in trash receptacle in seat back, 25-qt. cooler, removable cupholders, changing room curtain and stern table with stainless steel cupholders.
Options on Test Boat
Digital depth finder, polished corning castings and ski/tow bar.
Vital Stats & Info
Number of Occupants - 12
Price As Tested With Power - $31.7K
Maximum Speed -25.8 mph
Wild Ponies - 90hp
No. of Gates - 3
0-20 MPH - 6.8 seconds
Ladder Steps - 5
Ladder Measurement - 3' 5" deep
LOA - 23' 1"
Beam - 8' 6"
Hull Design - Two Pontoons
Dry Weight - 2,210 lbs.
Fuel Capacity - 30 Gallons
Tallest Rail Onboard - Sides 25"
Lowest Rail Onboard - Bow/Stern 25"
Changing Room Height - 5' 5"
RPM vs. SPEED vs. DB-A
600 2.1 mph 78
1000 2.7 mph 78
1500 4.4 mph 88.5
2000 5.6 mph 82
2500 7.1 mph 83.5
3000 9.2 mph 84
3500 13.1 mph 85.5
4000 15.1 mph 88
4500 19.2 mph 86
5000 20.7 mph 87.5
5500 22.5 mph 88
5950 25.8 mph 90
Don't forget to check out the video of the test: