2016 Princecraft Jazz 180 Pontoon

Boat Reviews

Boat Review by: Matt Spencer

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Pontoon boats have come a long, long way. They’re bigger, they’re faster, they’re more comfortable but they are also more expensive. It’s a simple equation: add more features, pay more money, that is just the reality of the market. The boating market however is fueled and driven by affordable, quality built boats that have simple features ­- enter the Princecraft Jazz 180.

A new boat for 2016, the Jazz 180 is a what you see is what you get pontoon boat that doesn’t have bells, it doesn’t have whistles, infact even the horn is an option. That being said, I love this boat. With an overall length of 19.5 feet, the Jazz 180 is proof that good things do come in small packages and with small price tags.

Sitting dockside I was first introduced to this stylish little pontoon and it’s “magnetic grey” colour. As I was drawn closer I noticed extruded style lines on the exterior gates, the Princecraft Logo and corrugated aluminum side walls that add strength along with style.

I opted to enter the boat from the port side entry way (one of three in the boat) and I saw a simple yet effective layout. There were facing benches in the bow along with a bench along the rear port side edge across from the helm. The smaller 8 foot 1 inch beam keeps things intimate as those on the rear bench can chat with themselves or keep the Captain company.

Sitting on the heavy duty vinyl lounges I was immediately drawn to the red accenting stripe that is part of the Regal package for this boat that takes a simple boat and adds some curb appeal. Upon further investigation I found out there is also an Electric Lime colour option ­ something I would love to see.

The helm on the model I tested was nothing short of spectacular. While most of the features I was presented with were options, they were options every boater is going to want to get. Princecraft knows this and created the “Concert Package” that includes a stereo, speedo and tachometer, horn, docking lights and windscreen. So it’s a basic boat that has modular packages to tailor your boat and budget which is an absolute must do to be successful in the ultra popular pontoon market.

Having seen enough at the dock I wanted to get out in the lake to see how this bad boy would handle the slight chop we had on the small, Quebec lake. Now even though the Jazz 180 was shown with the max horsepower of a 60 hp Mercury, I knew I wasn’t going to be breaking any speed records. With a top speed of 22 mph going with the wind will be enough to take the kids tubing, but if you add more people and gear you’re going to lose a few off your top speed. But even still the boat felt solid, the ride was quiet, the frame didn’t shift or creak at all at high speeds and turns with and against the chop. Like all Princecrafts it’s a seaworthy boat that I would feel safe bringing my family aboard.

I walked away from this boat with a really great feeling. I’ve tested bigger, more expensive entry level pontoons that I didn’t think had the value that this Jazz 180 has. Packaged right you’re going to get an awesome pontoon, one that can seat 6 people comfortably with lots of storage all at a price tag that won’t break the bank.

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Length: 19' 16" 6 m
Beam: 8' 1" 2.5 m
Dry weight: 1456 lbs 660 kg
Draft: 8"
Base Engine / Drive: Mercury Outboard
Engine HP: 60 Four Stroke
Fuel Type: Gas
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