What Makes It Mid-Level?

October 2013 Feature

So you've been cruising around in your entry-level `toon for a few years now and you finally got the okay from your spouse to upgrade. It would be fun to go crazy and buy the best of the best, but that's not always realistic. You start looking around and realize the mid-level `toon is where your heart (and pocketbook) is. It's a perfect setup up, with a lot of extras your first boat doesn't have and it comes at a reasonable price.

With a mid-level, you will most likely find yourself spending between $25,000 to $50,000, depending on options and the engine. Buying mid-level will open up more seating layouts and performance packages. It used to be that if you wanted it all, you probably needed to consider more of a luxury or higher-end model. But these days, manufacturers are really good about squeezing in a lot of extras into the mid-level offerings. For example, the Vista and the Vista Quad Lounger series from Tahoe Pontoons are great mid-range boats that give you the most bang for your buck without sacrificing any major amenities.

History Lesson

The great thing about Tahoe Pontoons is that the company has been producing high-quality boats for over 40 years. They make a `toon in almost every price point, so you can take advantage of the company's experience, no matter how much you want to spend. For the mid-level buyers, taking a look at the Vista Quad Lounger will let you know some of the things you can expect to find in a great mid-level boat.

This `toon is designed to have a sporty retro model feel so your passengers will feel like they are reliving the spirit of a classic rumble seat roadster. It's an extremely versatile boat with a long list of standard features including a Bluetooth stereo, LED enhanced docking lights and an easy access pop-up changing room. Plus a spacious rear deck platform, which easily accommodates twin ladder access and water toy storage. The two-tone color scheme and plush furniture that come on this model make it a desirable departure from a more traditional pontoon.

At The Helm

One of the main upgrades you will find on most mid-level pontoons versus an entry-level one is a helm station with more amenities. An entry-level would provide more of the basic things required to drive a boat, such as a fuel gauge and a simple stereo. On a mid-level, the helm station would be more likely to include extra gauges such as battery selector and a tachometer. A sound system with satellite capabilities would be something you could realistically expect too. With Tahoe, its entry-level boats come with a very nice fiberglass helm station while the Vista Quad Lounger takes it to the next level with a wood grain finish. It also comes standard with vinyl wrapped storage trays and Jensen MS2013BT Bluetooth stereo with four speakers. Both helm stations work great, but a mid-level has a sleeker look to it and nicer finishing touches.


Lighting is also different depending on your price point. Every Tahoe model comes standard with USCG navigation and stern lighting. But its mid-level models include SST docking lights that are built into front walls in heavy-duty reinforced chrome housing and a bimini top light, as well as the standard navigation lighting. When it comes to its luxury boats, you get everything included on the other models, plus stainless amber floor mood lighting and lighted cup holders in the rear lounges standard. While those touches certainly won't make or break the deal, they are fun additions.

The good thing is that if you want to buy a mid-level boat, you can pick one or two luxury options and have them installed without increasing the price too much. Tahoe luxury models come standard with an exclusive stylish round smoked glass tables with wine glass holders and stainless decorative cup holders. You can add it as an option on the Vista Quad Lounger and it will improve the resale value of your boat. Another standard convenience amenity on the Vista Quad Lounger is the 32-gallon fuel tank versus the 12-gallon tank on its entry-level models.

Under Foot

Carpeting is another standard upgrade you will find on most mid-level boats. Flooring is a big deal because if it's too cheap, you'll end up spending more money fixing it and it also helps create the first impression of your boat. Carpet on a mid-level will have a higher face weight, which means more ounces of fiber per square yard. So in theory, much better carpet. An entry-level `toon will typically have 20-ounce carpet while the Vista Quad Lounger comes standard with 28-ounce Escalade Hi-Lo carpet. Another thing to consider is going with vinyl flooring and snap-in carpet, which is an option on most mid-level boats, including from Tahoe.

Beyond Compact

Size also sets a mid-level boat apart. Most entry-level keep the price low by being smaller in size and have more compact features. When you start venturing into the mid-level range, boats start getting longer with better swim platforms. The Vista Quad Lounger has 13-inch rear deck area with a tapered front deck. Perks like these are what make a mid-level a great buy.

At Tahoe, construction is not something that is going to change based on your model. Each boat will be produced in a quality way with the best materials. The Tahoe construction process doesn't cut any corners and you should expect this out of any manufacturer. One of the exceptional things about Tahoe is that they use aluminum seat frames because they are stronger and provide more storage space than plastic. Plastic frames can crack and sometimes hold water, but aluminum frames do not. Another great feature is the additional storage space in aluminum seat frames, as well as the space is more effective. Tahoe's aluminum seat frames have Flo thru ventilation so your equipment will dry even if the storage area is closed-and also mildew and fungus are much less likely to occur. It's good to know great details like this are the same, no matter the model.

There is a place for every type of `toon, whether it be an entry-level, mid-level or high-end. Owning an entry-level now could easily escalate into owning a mid-level one day just like that could turn into a luxury model. It's all about what you need at the time or purchase. When those needs change, it could be time to change your boat. Knowing what to expect out of each is the important part.



 Tahoe Vista vs. Tahoe Vista Quad Lounger

Length                          24-foot             26-foot

Pontoon Diameter         25-inches         25-inches

Width                           8.5 feet             8.5 feet

Dry Weight                   2,250 lbs.         2,475 lbs.

Max. Weight Cap.        2,600 lbs.         2,840 lbs.

Max. Engine HP           150hp              175hp

Max. People                 13                    14

Max. People Lbs.         1,850 lbs.         2,000 lbs.



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