G3 Sun Catcher Elite 326 DLX SS

Published online: Jul 01, 2013 Boat Test Monday Brady L. Kay

2013 Shootout Results: G3 Sun Catcher Elite 326 DLX SS

 

What You Need To Know

Basically this great all-around pontoon can be broken down into three sections: a great living room-type area in the bow, a loaded section for the captain midship and the ultimate rear-lounge setup in the stern. Throw in its performance capabilities and you have the Sun Catcher Elite from G3 Boats.  

 

The Highlights

From a safety standpoint, we love all the stainless rails found throughout the boat, especially around the rear loungers. You're not only a lot safer, but we love the look and style and it only adds to the high-end feel G3 is going for.


Speaking of rear loungers, the dual set are two of the most comfortable lounges we tested, plus we even found a pop-up enclosure below one of them. An added bonus is the locking compartments for both lounges that include a 12-volt and an MP3 jack inside. Great idea! There is even a place for your magazines built into each side.

Just outside the beautiful stainless gate that includes the etched Sun Catcher logo, is a teak-looking vinyl floor, solid ski/tow bar and a three-step boarding ladder.


Throughout the boat is snap-in carpeting for added convenience when cleaning the boat. Worth noting is the over-stuffed cushions that are extremely comfortable. But even with a starboard chaise lounge in the bow, arguably the best seat onboard is one of the two FlexSteel helm chairs across from the bench seat upfront. Both are identical to the captain's chair and slide, swivel and recline.
 


At the raised helm stand is a great-looking console that includes multi-function gauges (including an hour meter) and a well-flowing design. The Garmin GPS map is a great addition, and we like the locking glovebox for the captain that includes a 12-volt and MP3 jack. There is also a stereo remote for the captain, a stereo unit on the side of the helm for the passengers and a remote hand-held stereo you can carry around with you. We even found a stereo remote on the outside panel in the stern that can easily be reached from the water. G3 really makes it easy for you to control your tunes. Speaking of extra-mile effort, we stopped counting when our count reached over a dozen cupholders. It's those little touches that sometimes make the difference. 

 

Inspection Notes

There are lifting strakes on both sides of all three flotation-filled pontoons, which are U-shaped and 23- by 25-inches in diameter. The heavy-duty deck extrusions are on 16-inch centers and the marine-grade pressure treated plywood deck includes a limited lifetime warranty.


With the third pontoon you gain an in-floor ski/locker. Our inspection crew noted the white door on the locker and felt a tan-colored one might flow better with the rest of the interior.

One thing we would like to have inspected is the blue LED light accents. In the daylight it was hard to see but the cupholders and gauges light up, as well as underneath the boat in the stern. That will help make your evening that much more enjoyable.

 

Performance Evaluation

It's rated for up to a 250hp engine, but in our opinion the Yamaha 225 SHO is the perfect fit for this Sun Catcher. The 5 second zero to 20 mile per time is impressive as well as the over 45 mph mark at full throttle. She can make a tight turn with ease and the power-assisted hydraulic steering only adds to the enjoyment.

 

Final Thoughts

You can always count on G3 to come up with a safe, family-friendly pontoon that mixes style, comfort and performance into one great package. The Sun Catcher Elite is a great all-around pontoon.  

  

Number of Occupants             15                   

Price As Tested With Power     $62K

Maximum Speed                      45.3 mph                     

Wild Ponies                              225hp 

No. of Gates                            4

0-20 MPH                               5.1 seconds     

Ladder Measurement               3' 1" deep

 

Why we love this boat.The rear lounges as far as comfort, style, safety and convenience are hard to beat. This is a very attractive pontoon with a lot of great standard features.

 

Just being picky.We know it's just a cosmetic thing, but if the white door on the in-floor ski locker was tan, it would match the interior a little better and flow with the high-end feel of the boat.

 

NOTABLE STANDARDS

Three Jumbo 23" X 25" .100 Gauge Performance Logs with Closed Cell Flotation Foam, Upgraded Heavy Duty All Aluminum Welded Motor Pod, 38-Gallon Built-In Fuel Tank w/ EPA Diurnal System, Two 12-Volt Accessory Outlets, Breakers Instead of Fuses, Blue LED Cup Holders, Speakers, Under Couch Rope Lighting and Underwater Stern Lighting, Fire Extinguisher, Ski Tow Arch, One Chaise Lounge Style Couches with Under Seat Storage, Marine Grade Vinyl Flooring, Contoured Bimini Top with Boot, Center Log Storage, Tilt Wheel w/ Hydraulic Steering, Power Steering, Sony Satellite Compatible AM/FM CD Stereo, iPod/MP3 Jack and USB Port, LED Blue Lit Upgraded Speakers, Flush Mount Garmin GPS 430S

 

OPTIONS ON TEST BOAT

None

 

VITAL STATS

LOA                  26'5"  

Beam                 8' 6"

Hull Design         Tri-Log U-Shape 23 X 25

Dry Weight         3340 lbs.

Fuel Capacity      38 gallons

 

TEST DRIVE

Engine                                                 Yamaha F225 SHO

Cylinder Type                                      V6

Cubic-inch Displacement/Horsepower  254ci/225hp

Lower Unit Gear Ratio                         1.75:1

Propeller                                              15 3/4 X 15 SS Saltwater

 

RPM     vs.      SPEED     vs.    DB-A

600                  3.2                     80

1000                4.5                     80.5

1500                7.2                     80.5

2000                8                        83.5

2500                9.8                     86

3000                12.2                   86

3500                18                      90

4000                22.1                   91

4500                28.2                   93.5

5000                34.7                   94.5

5500                41.6                   98

6000                44                      99

6100                45.3                   98


Lebanon, Mo.

800-588-9787

g3boats.com


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