The hard-working engineers who design Crest pontoon boats are clearly boaters themselves—based on the placement of specific features and layout designs. We’re constantly reminded of the careful thought that goes into each of their boats and the Classic Platinum 220 SLS is no exception.
For lack of a better adjective, the “sparkly” (custom black metal flake) helm stand is something Crest has been offering for years and we like the unique look it provides. The dash itself is centered on a couple of analog gauges with a Lowrance Hook 5 fish finder to the side and a row of rocker switches below the stereo controls. The Fusion stereo upgrade is just one of the few options on this pontoon, but it’s well worth the investment. The four-speaker system can only be truly appreciated when you’re listening on the water, but trust us, it sounds amazing.
The Lowrance unit is another option, but it feels like an afterthought the way it is mounted. If we had to be picky we’d like to see a more permanent or built-in spot for it since these screens are becoming more and more common on pontoon boats these days.
In the bow are two chaise lounges and we especially like the use of space below the seats as well as in the back of the port lounge where there is a folding pop-up table that requires only one hand to operate. Simply lift the table using the handle and it locks into place. The design is from Teak Isle Manufacturing who earned a 2019 NMMA Innovation Award at IBEX last fall and we have a feeling we’re going to be seeing more of their handy work in the future.
Getting back to engineers who actually boat and use the boats they design, the optional mid-ship storage unit behind the captain’s chair neatly hides your fenders when not in use, yet is easy to get to when you need them. We also like that below the starboard bow bench seat is a designated spot for a trash can, which is something we feel every boat should have. And the power Bimini is a nice added touch that allows you to lower and raise the top with just a simple press of a button. Boating made easier: isn’t that what’s it’s really all about?
In the stern is a multi-use layout that can convert a bench seat into a rear-facing lounger in seconds. There is also a ski/tow bar and an easy-to-use boarding ladder on the swim deck that is plenty big with room to towel off before coming on board.
Three 25-inch diameter pontoons make up the base of this 23-footer. Up top, the rail height is nearly 28 inches tall around the entire perimeter of the boat for a safe and family-friendly design.
We were pleasantly surprised by just how sharp this Crest can turn and by the overall handling. With the Mercury 200hp engine on the back she recorded an impressive zero-to-20 mph time of just over four seconds and at full throttle we nearly reached the 40 mph mark.
We’re guessing Crest does well with this Classic line because it has those features and amenities a lot of boaters are looking for.
Number of Occupants: 11
Price As Tested With Power: $76.2K
Maximum Speed: 37.7 mph
Wild Ponies: 200 hp
No. of Gates: 3
0-20 MPH: 4.24 seconds
Ladder Measurement: 3’ 9” deep
Why we love this boat…From the unique look of the helm to the multi-use loungers, this Crest has a lot going for it including several features designed to make boating easier.
Just being picky…The Lowrance fishfinder is an excellent addition, but it would be nice if there was a built-in spot for it on the dash so it didn’t feel like an afterthought.
Powder Coated Bimini Top, 29-Inch Helm Chair, Full Seagrass Flooring, RGB Interior Lighting, Changing Room, Soft Touch Upholstery, FG Docking Lights, Mooring Cover, Tilt Steering Wheel, Table and Full Instrumentation.
OPTIONS ON TEST BOAT
Power Bimini Top, Premium Fusion Audio, Lowrance Hook 4 and Mid-Ship Storage Unit.
LOA: 23’ 4”
Beam: 8’ 6”
Hull Design: CPT
Dry Weight: 2,975 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 48 gallons
Engine: Mercury 200
Cylinder Type: V6
Cubic-inch Displacement/Horsepower: 209ci/200hp
Lower Unit Gear Ratio: 1.85:1
RPM vs. SPEED
Price As Tested (Boat and Motor): $76,185
Base Price (Boat Only): $49,899
This article originally appeared in our 2020 Shootout issue. If you are interested in seeing more boat tests like this, click HERE to subscribe.