It’s not easy, but Starcraft found a way to take a design that earned a 2019 NMMA Innovation award and actually make it better. Just when you thought a multi-function lounger/bar layout couldn’t be topped, the CX 25 DLZ Bar comes along.
We might as well jump to the most talked-about rear layout in the pontoon industry right now as our starting point for this review. The transforming bar converts to a rear-facing lounger with just the push of two buttons. It was only available on its Sylvan line of pontoons last year, but has now expanded to include Starcraft models so more boaters can appreciate the ingenuity.
When first released, the four bar stools didn’t have a specific storage area when not being used and this is where the improvement comes in. Now there is a flip-down holder on the side rail that secures the stools when the wide lounger is being used. It’s so well done your guests might not even catch the design and ask you what the stools are for.
While the stern layout (rightfully so) gets a lot of attention, the beautiful helm console deserves a little of the spotlight as well. A small brow shades the chrome bezel gauges on the dash and the lighted rocker switches just above the Kicker stereo provide the captain with easy access to all the controls. Our favorite part just might be the USB and 12-volt outlets in the center that are hidden under a lid so your phone is protected from the elements when being used. The storage pocket right of the Verona steering wheel can easily be swapped out for a GPS map if wanted, but if we had to be picky we’d like to see some type of a locking storage compartment for the captain.
A high-back helm chair, small galley, mood lighting, pop-up changing room and the extended swim platform with a stainless boarding ladder round out just a few of the standard features on this beauty.
Below deck are three 25-inch diameter pontoons with lifting strakes on both sides of the center tube and on the inside of the two outer ones. It’s part of the optional HMX PR25 Performance package that also includes hydraulic steering.
Up top the rail height varies from 25 inches in the stern to nearly 30 inches tall around the perimeter. Another key measurement is the optional in-floor ski locker that is 17 inches deep and over 8 feet long with plenty of room to store all kinds of water toys. The stainless steel rails in the stern double as rear gates and the bow and port gates are solid doors but could probably use some type of a door stop.
Capable of speeds in the mid 40s at full throttle, we enjoyed the power of the Yamaha 250 on the back. She’s quick and responsive with a zero-to-20 mph time of just 4.5 seconds and we love the upgrade to the deluxe ski/tow bar that we feel is going to see a lot of good use with this hull and outboard pairing.
More than just a transforming bar layout/rear lounger, this Starcraft has a great mixture of standards and key options as tested to keep everyone on board having a great time.
New Paris, Ind.
Number of Occupants: 14
Price As Tested With Power: $87.1 K
Maximum Speed: 44.4 mph
Wild Ponies: 250 hp
No. of Gates: 4
0-20 MPH: 4.5 seconds
Ladder Measurement: 3’ 8” deep
Why we love this boat…Clearly the stern bar table layout with four stools that can convert to a rear-lounger sets this pontoon apart from its competitors.
Just being picky…A lockable glove box for the captain is really all this beautiful helm console is missing.
Verona Steering Wheel, Mood Lighting, GPS Speedo w/Pigtail, Gauge Package, 10-Foot Bimini Top, Trailering Legs, High Back Helm Seat, Stainless Steel Ladder, Lounge Arm Change Room and Extended Rear Deck.
OPTIONS ON TEST BOAT
HMX PR 25 Performance Package (3 Tubes, Strakes, Hydraulic Steering), Full Teak Weave, In-Floor Storage, Playpen Cover, Deluxe Deck Mounted Ski/Tow and Black Painted Rails.
LOA: 26’ 8”
Beam: 8’ 6”
Hull Design: Three Tubes w/ Strakes
Dry Weight: 3,250 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 60 gallons
Engine: Yamaha 250
Cylinder Type: V6
Cubic-inch Displacement/Horsepower: 256.3ci/250hp
Lower Unit Gear Ratio: 1.75:1
RPM vs. SPEED
Price As Tested (Boat and Motor): 87,068
Base Price (Boat Only): $44,778
This article originally appeared in our 2020 Shootout issue. If you are interested in seeing more boat tests like this, click HERE to subscribe.