This article originally appeared in our 2017 Shootout issue. If you are interested in seeing more stories like this, click HERE to subscribe.
Every manufacturer preaches value, but the new MDX is ridiculous! This loaded deck boat comes in very budget-friendly and for what you get in return with all the upgrades, its price as tested is especially impressive.
We love to get our hands on new boats and the new MDX series from Starcraft didn’t disappoint. From an exterior perspective, the look of the 20-footer includes a perfect splash of red striping that helps set the tone for the rest of the sporty boat. The red color is part of the eight different available gel coat color options and the consumer even has choices on the vinyl colors inside. On this particular boat the dominant vinyl colors are different shades of tan and you even have your choice of white or black on the full wrap-around windshield frame.
At the fiberglass helm stand the symmetrical chrome-accented gauges are easy to read and we especially like the look of the new tilt steering wheel. It’s the little touches that seem to make the biggest impression sometimes! With the upgraded Kicker stereo system that includes color-changing speaker lights, along with a 12-volt outlet and an auxiliary port, don’t be afraid to crank up your tunes. The optional flip-up bolster on the bucket helm chair provides a comfy seat for the captain and really all that is missing in this area is some type of a glove box or small compartment for the driver’s personal items.
There’s plenty of great seating for up to 12 people and we especially love the chaise lounges in the bow and the rear-facing one across from the helm. Even the three-quarter rear sundeck can convert into a lounge seat or a flip-up backrest for a rear-facing bench seat when assisting a wakeboarder or if you just want a clear view from the stern.
Speaking of water sports, having telescopic boarding ladders built into compartments on each end of the boat is a nice touch and the ski/tow eye is sure to get a lot of use with the MerCruiser engine, which we’ll get to in a minute. On each end of the boat is a nice non-skid fiberglass deck and on this specific boat, optional snap-in sea weave flooring is found throughout the boat.
Other key amenities worth noting are the long and deep in-floor ski locker, portable cooler below the rear bench seat, stainless railing throughout, lighted cupholders and a Kicker stereo remote in the stern.
Of course because the boat is a Starcraft it does come with their Lifetime Warranty + 6 that includes a limited lifetime warranty on the hull and structure with a six-year warranty on all components, upholstery and electronics. The 24-ounce woven roving fiberglass includes a 6-inch overlap and the encapsulated pressure-treated wood stringers use flotation foam.
Our test crew rated this boat high for its safe family-friendly design (over 28 inches deep inside the boat, plus a nice stern gate), quality construction and overall fit and finish work.
With the combination of a sporty hull and the 200hp MerCruiser 4.5L engine, we were truly impressed by the overall performance. She’s fun to drive and very responsive as we were able to bank nicely in sharp turns and easily reach the 40 mph mark at full throttle.
Really the only entry-level indication on this MDX is the price tag. It’s perfect for those wanting to get into boating, but don’t want to break the bank to do it. As tested it’s ready to entertain and show off those creature comforts and performance capabilities.
Number of Occupants 12
Maximum Speed 41.5 mph
Wild Ponies 200hp
No. of Gates 2
0-20 MPH 8.03 seconds
Ladder Measurement 3’ 9” deep
Why we love this boat…A lot of innovative thinking went into the design of this new series and giving consumers options to customize it is never a bad thing.
Just being picky…Plenty of great storage onboard overall, but it would be nice if the captain had a small compartment to store keys, wallets and other personal items.
Full wrap-around windshield, bow and stern boarding ladders, bucket helm chair, and rear flip-up convertible seating.
OPTIONS ON TEST BOAT
SX Pkg. that includes color-changing lighted speakers/cupholders, stainless steel gunwale and rear flip-up convertible seating, Kicker stereo upgrade, flip-up helm chair bolster and sea weave snap-in flooring.
LOA 20’ 4”
Beam 8’ 6”
Hull Design Fiberglass Catamaran
Dry Weight 2,715 lbs.
Fuel Capacity 44 gallons
Engine Mercury 4.5L
Cylinder Type V6
Cubic-inch Displacement/Horsepower 275ci/200hp
Lower Unit Gear Ratio 1.62:1
Propeller 14 1/2 X 18 Alpha 4 Aluminum
RPM vs. SPEED vs. DB-A
600 3.8 86
1000 4.2 92
1500 6.3 90
2000 8.2 93
2500 10.6 93
3000 18.8 104
3500 27.4 105
4000 31.4 104
4500 38.0 107
4800 41.5 110
New Paris, Ind.