For model year 2021, the Sunliner is all-new and wow does it make a great first impression. From the deluxe tower and double Bimini top to the versatile seating, there are plenty of features and eye-catching beauty found on this Harris pontoon.
You’re most likely going to be drawn to the stern of the boat so we’ll start with the rear-facing lounger that utilizes a split swingback design with a permanent bench to increase the variety of ways you can enjoy this aft space. Next to the stationary bench seat are multiple cupholders and a USB port, and below this seat is a built-in drainable cooler. The speakers on the swim deck are rear-facing, and not only is the stereo remote accessible from the water, but so are a couple of cupholders back here as well, proving the engineers who design these pontoons are boaters too.
If you are looking for a pontoon with excellent storage capabilities, then look no further. There is plenty of gear space on board including under the swingback seat and beneath other bench seats. And that’s not even counting the optional in-floor ski locker with a 6-foot by 16-inch opening that is perfect for storing your tubes and other water toys. Speaking of watersports, the sporty wakeboard tower with a solid tow point, combined with the optional ski/tow bar, will give you plenty of options to dial in your fun.
In previous years it was only available on its higher-end models, but the soft touch vinyl is now included on all Sunliner models with the pillow top furniture and the cross-stitch accent piece adds an extra touch of luxury.
Because it’s an all-new model, all the furniture, helm and overall layout is brand-new.
Built into the dash is a large upgraded 9-inch Go9 Simrad touchscreen with VesselView that provides the captain all the data needed, and this is also where the JL Audio Diamond package sound system controls are located. Also part of the dash is a wireless charging station with a USB port and 12-volt outlet nearby. There are other USB ports throughout the boat, including in the bow above recessed cupholders, but if we were being picky it would be nice if the helm charging pad was better protected from the elements. Of course you could add the optional windscreen for added protection.
One option we really enjoy seeing are the dual high-back helm chairs that slide, swivel and recline, creating what could be the two most popular seats on board this 23-footer. Yes, you read that right. It’s hard to believe so much is packed into a boat of this size, and there is even a 25-foot version.
Three pontoons with lifting strakes on both sides of the center tube and on the inside of the outer tubes are the solid foundation for this model. Up top the rail height is a safe and consistent 25 inches tall with three gate openings.
Three and a half seconds to reach 20 miles per hour! Yeah, that’s impressive. Speeds near the 50 mph mark are also possible, thanks to the giant 300hp powerplant from Mercury on the back. Worth noting, she banks slightly into the sharp corners and handles like a dream.
From the Midnight Blue exterior panels to the French Gray interior including the Seagrass flooring, the balance of color and style make this package as tested a very attractive option for consumers on the hunt for luxury this year. While the price point won’t be for every budget, everyone will appreciate the quality and craftsmanship.
Fort Wayne, Ind.
Number of Occupants: 11
Price As Tested With Power: $96K
Maximum Speed: 49.1 mph
Wild Ponies: 300 hp
No. of Gates: 3
0-20 MPH: 3.51 seconds
Ladder Measurement: 3’ 4” deep
Why we love this boat… She’s a sporty and well-performing pontoon that happens to also have a well-balanced color scheme and key comfort features you’d want in an all-around family boat.
Just being picky… We absolutely love the wireless charging station at the helm for your cell phone, but the optional windscreen is needed to help protect it from the elements.
Tower w/Tow Point, Pillow-Top Furniture, Built-In Cooler in Aft Seating Area, Dual Helm Chairs, Swing Lounger in Aft Seating and Performance Package Level 2 Hull Configuration.
OPTIONS ON TEST BOAT
Black Edition Fence Rails, Simrad GO9 Display with VesselView, JL Audio Diamond Package, Upgraded High Back Helm Chairs, Ski Tow Bar, In-Floor Storage, Double Bimini and Interior Lighting Package.
LOA: 23’ 5”
Beam: 8’ 6”
Hull Design: Triple-Toon
Dry Weight: 3,098 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 37 gallons
Engine: Mercury 300L Verado AMS
Cylinder Type: V8
Cubic-inch Displacement/Horsepower: 279ci/300hp
Lower Unit Gear Ratio: 1.75:1
Propeller: 16 X 17
RPM vs. SPEED vs. DB-A
600 2.7 74.5
1000 4.2 76
1500 6.4 79.5
2000 8.2 83
2500 12.0 87
3000 14.7 89
3500 20.5 93.5
4000 29.6 96
4500 34.9 102.5
5000 40.7 104.5
5500 45.1 106
6000 49.1 108
Price As Tested: $96,059
(Boat and Motor)
Base Price: $38,269
This article originally appeared in our 2021 Shootout issue. If you are interested in seeing more boat tests like this, click HERE to subscribe.