Boat Review by: Matt Spencer
Rinker Boats, made in Syracuse, Indiana, secured themselves a strong reputation in the boating industry of building one of the most value packed boats for the price that had great performance and delivered where it mattered. The past few years however have been challenging for the boat builder as their parent group went under, leaving their future hanging in the balance. Bennington Pontoons came to the rescue of Rinker, throwing them a lifeline by purchasing the brand and bringing them into the family.
The first order of business for the new owners was simple: let’s get back to our core values and what we are known for, performance and value. I could tell Rinker was on the path forward because of their increased presence at this year’s Toronto International Boat Show, which is where I got my hands on their 23QX.
Part of this new focus for Rinker was to separate their boats into two distinct segments: the cruisers are EX models and the sport boats are QX.
The QX line starts at 17 feet and goes all the way up to an impressive 30 foot day boat. The 23QX fits nicely in the middle of that line up with its nimble size on the water, but spacious capacity for both people and value.
The Rinker 23QX features classic styling. The one on display in Toronto featured deep red side decks, with a subtle grey accenting stripe with white hull and topsides. Something they started doing a few years ago and are continuing with is cutting back on vinyl graphics, opting instead to use in gel styling. That said, this 23QX still featured a subtle, yet stylish “R” graphic on the hull sides for a splash of sportiness.
The swim platform is built into the deck and features a curved design with convex sides, which will feel nice against the back of the legs as you sit and dangle your feet in the water. Something that’s important with Rinkers is an abundance of drink holders and before even entering the boat I have spotted two here at the swim platform. There’s a ski tow, courtesy lights and a boarding ladder built into the platform itself, revealed by lifting a hatch.
The classic styling continues with a full width sunpad engine hatch. This will be a popular spot to lay out and soak in the vitamin D, but you’re probably thinking “I don’t want to walk over that every time I want to enter the boat. The beauty is, you don’t have to! The starboard end of the sunpad hinges up giving you a spacious transom walk through into the cockpit.
Once in the cockpit you will spot the two captain’s chairs and the large rear bench seat. The cockpit features a full deck liner, matching red and white upholstery to complement the exterior styling of the boat, along with stylish wrap around bucket seats that swivel around.
Like I stated at the top of this review, Rinker is all about packing value into their boats. Sometimes it’s right under your nose and you don’t notice it upon first glance. This is the case when you look at the rear bench seat. You might think, “that’s great and all, but what if we have a few extra people on board?” Well like pulling a rabbit out of hat, two seats pull out of the freeboards, one on each side, to magically give you a large, U-shaped seat. This is great because when you don’t need the seating, they just slide back up into their hiding spot, waiting for the next time they’re needed.
This 23QX was shown with an optional wakeboard tower, so board sports will be happy to know that Rinker has a keyhole shaped ski locker in the cockpit sole. When you look at it from above, there is a rounded shape to the one end, this allows you to slide wider objects like wakeboards into the storage, where more traditional compartments don’t allow for such luxuries.
The helm of the 23QX is quite simple. It has the aforementioned sport bucket seat, along with tilt steering. Engine information is shown on the full gauge package that sets in the curved brow console. Rocker switches can be found directly below the gauges, just forward of the wheel. They’re easily visible and I like that you don’t have to take your hand off the wheel for long to quickly hit the desired switch.
The bow on the 23QX is as sizable as you would expect from a 23-foot boat. Rinker carries the beam well forward with the 23QX optimizing the amount of space they have to work with in the bow. The result of which is a more round design, almost like a bathtub, with plush cushions, grab handles, directional speakers, plenty of storage and of course, more of those drink holders I talked about, 4 to be exact. The speakers and cupholders are set into the freeboard of the bow so they don’t detract from the comfort.
When you’re in the business of always trying to come up with something new, you can easily lose focus on what made you successful in the first place. It’s refreshing to see Rinker locking their focus onto what they’re good at and what their brand has become famous for. It’s boats like the 23QX that exemplify this, and would look great in either your driveway or at the dock this summer.
|Dry weight:||4,370 lbs||1,982 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||41 US gals||155 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||MerCruiser 4.5L|