PDB Shootout: Avalon

Avalon 2385 Catalina RL

Published in the January 2018 Issue July 2019 Boat Test Monday, Feature

First Glance

Like a ’58 Oldsmobile or a ’57 Chevy, the retro look of this Catalina was built to never go out of style. It gives you that high-end conservative yet classy look, without breaking the bank.


The “RL” in the model name stands for rear lounger and the engineers made sure these two seats would be the most sought-after. Like the rest of the furniture, the loungers are plush and very comfortable and include thick Matrix 50 (as in 50-ounce) Soft Touch seat vinyl, so fighting off stains has never been easier. Avalon hand-makes an estimated 85 percent of each boat in-house including the bench seats and with the aluminum seat bases you gain a lot of extra storage space below. There are also two chaise lounges located in the bow with a pop-up changing room hidden below the portside lounger that stands over five feet tall when open.

Centered and easy for the captain to see, two large multi-function gauges provide a lot of key engine information and just to the left is the Infinity stereo unit with a full display of lighted rocker switches below. There are even a couple of places to set your phone that are built into the fiberglass helmstand with an MP3/iPod jack close by and a 12-volt outlet located down low above the captain’s drink holder. Speaking of cupholders, there are over a dozen spread out throughout the boat, ranging from permanent to removable.

The helm chair slides, swivels and reclines and directly across is an identical one for the first mate. Other favorite features that we noted include the Deco 3 external multi-panel retro walls and the built-in chrome docking lights with an LED accent that provides a classy and distinctive look. One quick note on the stereo: we really like the location of the rear speakers that are part of the rear loungers so they’re up higher for better sound quality.

Closer Look

The splash fins are not an afterthought; instead they’re integrated into the nosecones, and other added touches we can appreciate are the double reinforced motor pod as well as the side keels and corner castings. One of the few options is the Express center pontoon, which not only improves the handling, but also helps create a smoother ride.

For added durability, the hat-channel style cross members provide added strength and the full aluminum splash skin ensures the boat will glide across the water. Up top there is more than 18 feet of deck space from inside the gates and the overall rail height varies from 24 to 26 inches throughout the boat.

Throttle Down

When you can go from zero-to-20 mph in less than four seconds, that’s beyond notable. The Evinrude 135 HO E-TEC is a great fit for this 23-footer that comfortably reached speeds in the mid 30s at full throttle. She turns flat and handles well; in fact, you could make a strong case for why a ski/tow bar should come standard on this model. It’s of course available as an option, but if we’re being picky we feel customers shouldn’t have to ask for it on a pepping boat like this one.

Why Buy

In order for the pontoon industry to continue to grow, we need great all-around models such as this Catalina RL that offer a lot of nice features while still coming in at a budget-friendly price. It’s extremely comfortable and designed to be an excellent cruiser.


Alma, Mich.





Number of Occupants            10                   

Price As Tested With Power  $59.7 K

Maximum Speed                    34.8 mph                    

Wild Ponies                             135 hp

No. of Gates                            3

0-20 MPH                               3.93 seconds  

Ladder Measurement             3’ 9” deep


Why we love this boat…Inviting is the best way to describe the furniture. This is a very comfortable pontoon that has a lot going for it.  


Just being picky…We know pulling tubers isn’t for everyone, but based on how well this pontoon performed, we don’t understand why a ski/tow bar doesn’t come standard.  



Ensign 2 fiberglass helmstand, GPS speedometer gauge, twin wide rear lounge seat, Commander reclining driver’s chair, Infinity PRV 315 BT stereo, tilt steering, Deco 3 external multi-panel retro walls, interior composite wall covering, docklights/nav light combo, courtesy light on helmstand, Greywood table, privacy station w/curtain, exclusive Matrix 50 Soft Touch seat vinyl, suspension seating, lounge arms w/storage, lifetime aluminum seat frames w/flow-through ventilation, decorative color-matched seat frames base cladding, moveable stainless steel cupholders, stainless steel telescoping rear ladder, and 29-gallon fuel remote fill transom.


Express center pontoon, ATD vinyl floor upgrade, built-in chrome dock lights w/LED accent, polished deck corners, side protector keels, mooring cover, four pull-up stainless steel cleats, and stainless steel insert vents for seat bases.


LOA                  23’ 3”             

Beam                 8’ 6”

Hull Design       Triple Express Pontoons

Dry Weight       2,450 lbs.

Fuel Capacity    29 gallons



Engine                                                             Evinrude 135 H.O. E-TEC

Cylinder Type                                                 V6

Cubic-inch Displacement/Horsepower           158ci/135hp

Lower Unit Gear Ratio                                   1.86:1

Propeller                                                          15 7/8 X 13 SST


RPM     vs.      SPEED     vs.    DB-A

600                  2.2                     73

1000                3.7                     73

1500                5.7                     82

2000                7.5                     81

2500                10.7                   90

3000                14.2                   91

3500                18.1                   93

4000                21.4                   99

4500                24.7                   100

5000                29.3                   102

5500                32.1                   103

5600                34.8                   105



Price As Tested                       $59,689

(Boat and Motor)


Price As Tested                       $43,407

(Boat Only)





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