This article originally appeared in our 2017 Shootout issue. If you are interested in seeing more stories like this, click HERE to subscribe.
When you first see this boat you’re automatically drawn to the oversized rear lounge that dominates the stern of the boat, but as we later discovered there is a whole lot more to this great all-around pontoon. Simply put, the more we looked around, the more we found that we liked.
Starting with the exterior, the red side panels with a cream-colored stripe are just one of the many color combinations offered as customers are now able to mix and match to truly customize the look.
Inside the boat, the array of vinyl colors and textures used for the seating helps give the boat a high-end look that is very elegant and attractive. Up front in the bow are two comfy chaise lounges with great storage below.
For the captain, upgraded switches have been added to the helm console for 2017 that the manufacturer refers to as “elevator” switches. The lighted push buttons improve the dash that includes a couple of large multi-function gauges along with a digital depth finder. Also included at the helm console are controls to your Infinity stereo and 12-volt outlet as well as a USB/Auxiliary port.
Directly across from the helm is a rear-facing chaise lounge that is part of the L-shaped rear seating layout, and worth noting is the LED rope lighting as well as lighted speakers that only add to the high-end look.
The vinyl decking from the bow to the rear gate is a soft woven vinyl for the majority of the boat, but transitions nicely to a teak-looking vinyl floor as you enter the stern. This dual flooring look is part of the Elite package that includes two more LED lighted rear speakers.
While a split-chair layout is also available for the rear-facing loungers, we kind of like the current setup of just one large lounger that features a big fold-down armrest. From both a cosmetic and a safety perspective, the stainless steel rail around the loungers is another beautiful and needed touch with this layout.
There is plenty of great storage below the rear lounger with room to store the removable ski/tow pylon when not needed. Of course, we have to mention the patented boarding system that is one of our favorites. Even though the outside of the pontoons are round, Hampton was still able to incorporate two actual steps that are built into the log with an additional two steps that fold down, which makes boarding extremely easy. The engineers really did a great job of maximizing all the available space with this layout.
A 28- by 24-inch U-shaped center pontoon is combined with two round-shaped, 25-inch diameter pontoons and all have heavy-duty extruded aluminum RAC-R-FINS for a unique performance hull. The cross members are on 16-inch centers for increased durability and another feature we love is the one-piece plywood deck with no seams, which also increases the strength.
Up top the rail height varies from 23 inches tall in the stern to 29 inches overall and as far as craftsmanship and fit and finish work, this Hampton earns top marks for the quality design.
With the Honda 250hp four-stroke on the back and Hampton’s unique hull design we received great results. She handles very well, banks beautifully in the turns and at wide open throttle we easily reached the 40 mph mark.
Performance will always be a big part and a main focus for this manufacturer, but with the high-end look and plush seating and great variety of features there is a lot to love on this particular model.
Number of Occupants 15
Maximum Speed 43.8 mph
Wild Ponies 250 hp
No. of Gates 3
0-20 MPH 6.71 seconds
Ladder Measurement 4’5” deep
Why we love this boat…More than just a great performer, we love the high-end look and feel of this pontoon that is truly a great all-around boat.
Just being picky…A lockable glove box at the helm would be a nice addition and possibly a stereo remote for the rear lounge because this is where you’ll want to be most of the time.
Rotocast seat frames, courtesy lights, 4 marine dual cone speakers, fiberglass console, stainless steel cup holders, limited lifetime CCA 1-piece 7-ply plywood deck, color-matched Bimini top w/ quick release fasteners and overhead straps.
OPTIONS ON TEST BOAT
Performance Pkg. (third pontoon, lifting strakes, aluminum underliner), Sea Star hydraulic steering and Elite Pkg that include teak-looking vinyl in stern plus 2 back deck speakers.
Beam 8’ 6”
Hull Design Three Pontoons
Dry Weight 1,775 lbs.
Fuel Capacity 30 gallons
Engine Honda 250 VTEC
Cylinder Type V6
Cubic-inch Displacement/Horsepower 219ci/250hp
Lower Unit Gear Ratio 2.00:1
Propeller 14 3/4 X 21
RPM vs. SPEED vs. DB-A
1000 3.5 74
1500 6.1 78
2000 8.3 79
2500 13.7 85
3000 20.3 90
3500 25.2 98
4000 30.8 101
4500 32.6 99
5000 35.9 101
5500 39.7 102
6000 43.8 107