PDB Shootout: G3 SunCatcher Elite 326 SE

Published in the January 2021 Issue August 2022 Boat Test Monday

First Impression

There are a lot of upgraded features for the new model year for SunCatcher with some of those being obvious and others being a little more subtle, but all are designed to enhance your boating experience. From the beautiful black exterior rails complete with new model name badges, to the popular floorplan that includes an entertainment area, this value-packed 26-footer has a lot going for it.

Details

We were instantly drawn to the stern of the boat and the long entertainment table with a cupholder on each end and a footrest railing below. It creates a comfortable seating area with dual helm chairs that are identical to the one for the captain. Both swivel around to be rear-facing while remaining safely protected within the full stern railing. There is even a small padded bench that could be used as a footrest while enjoying the view across the water from the stern of the boat. On the 28-inch long swimdeck is a newly-designed stainless steel boarding ladder that has a curved shape to it, along with a new fuel fill just above the transom, plus a tall ski/tow bar.

As impressive as the entertainment center is, the raised helm and digital-style dash is noteworthy as well. It starts with the standard 7-inch Simrad GO7 touchscreen in the center of the console with push buttons below and on the right of the steering wheel, along with access to the Polk Audio sound system on the left. There are a total of six speakers on board, two in the bow and four in the stern, plus a large subwoofer for an amazing Polk Audio experience. Another feature we were happy to see at this helm is the built-in glove box right of the dash to keep your loose items such as keys and wallets protected.

The SeaDek mat for the captain looks great and is perfect for barefoot driving and we love that it ties in with the jellybean-shaped table that includes three cupholders plus a SeaDek insert to help keep items from sliding off.

Other key features include a 12-inch deep in-floor ski locker, new RGB LED floor lighting, backlit speakers and Infinity vinyl flooring. Built into the back of the portside chaise lounge are slide-out drawers for easy and convenient storage with a lockable glove box above.

Closer Look

Three U-shaped pontoons with a full-length aluminum underdeck performance shield is the foundation of this well-built boat. All SunCatcher pontoons feature the extra protection of heavier gauge aluminum in the nosecones and closed-cell foam flotation blocks inside each tube for an added measure of safety. Speaking of safety, the lowest rail stands 24 inches tall in the stern with the most of the boat’s rail measuring at 30 inches.

Throttle Down

With Yamaha's Digital Electric Steering (DES) the steering is quick, accurate and responsive, for complete control and a fun ride. We reached a top speed of over 40 mph at full throttle after a blistering 0-to-20 mph time of less than 4 seconds with the Yamaha 250 SHO outboard. She turns flat in the sharp turns and earned high marks for how well she handles.

Why Buy

The Elite series incorporates luxury, comfort and performance for a great all-around pontoon that comes in at a value-driven price as tested. It has a fun floorplan centered around a bar layout, plus comfortable seating with two chaise lounges in the bow and an L-shaped seating area across from the helm that could almost pass as your living room sofa at home with its rounded armrests.

Lebanon, Mo.
800-588-9787
www.g3boats.com


Number of Occupants: 14
Price As Tested With Power: $65.4 K
Maximum Speed: 43.5 mph
Wild Ponies: 250 hp
No. of Gates: 3
0-20 MPH: 3.96 seconds
Ladder Measurement: 4’ deep


Why we love this boat… The stern of the boat is our favorite area with the nice long table, footrest railing below and two oversized helm chairs that slide, swivel and recline.


Just being picky… At nearly 7 feet long and 12 inches deep we love the large in-floor ski locker, but a light in the locker would be even better.


NOTABLE STANDARDS

Roto Molded Furniture w/ Rain Drain Channel, Wraparound Lounge Seating w/Under Seat Storage, Anodized Deck Rails and Trim, ABS Pedestal Table w/Cupholders, Custom Stern Entertainment Area, Deluxe Console w/Full Instrumentation, SeaStar Power Assist Steering, Premium Polk Stereo, Simrad GO7, Yamaha Binnacle Controls, Elevated Helm Platform, Ski/Tow and Performance Lifting Strakes.


OPTIONS ON TEST BOAT

Black Painted Rails, Sunbrella Canvas, RGB Lighting, Storage Drawer Couch Insert and Teak Gray Flooring.


VITAL STATS

LOA: 26’ 5”
Beam: 8’ 6”
Hull Design: Pontoon
Dry Weight: 3,280 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 37 gallons


TEST DRIVE

Engine: Yamaha VF 250 SHO
Cylinder Type: V6
Cubic-inch Displacement/Horsepower: 256.3ci/250hp
Lower Unit Gear Ratio: 1.75:1
Propeller: 15 X 15 3/4


RPM     vs.      SPEED     vs.  DB-A

900                  1.9                   73
1000                4.3                   77
1500                6.5                   82
2000                9.7                   80.5
2500                11.6                 85
3000                16.3                 90
3500                21.3                 90.5
4000                26.2                 92
4500                30.3                 94.5
5000                33.4                 97
5500                38.3                 101
5900                43.5                 103


PRICE

Price As Tested: $65,361
(Boat and Motor)

Base Price: $56,827
(Boat and Motor)


This article originally appeared in our 2021 Shootout issue. If you are interested in seeing more boat tests like this, click HERE to subscribe.

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