Boat Review by: Richard Crowder
Bennington is a prolific manufacturer of pontoon boats from sixteen to thirty feet including some with fibreglass and some with aluminum-based superstructures and some with extra-wide ten foot beams and some that are “luxury” models, some “sporty,” and some “value” models.
There are five main Bennington series plus several sub-series with literally dozens of available floorplans. There are fifty-eight floorplans alone from which to choose in the R series ranging from twenty to twenty-eight feet and sixteen floorplans of the R23 alone. The 23RCW designation refers to the Center Walk-Through floorplan. The “23” refers to the approximate length of the pontoons as the overall length of the deck is actually over twenty-five feet. This 23RCW has the usual eight-foot, six-inch beam.
Being a “Walk-Thru” configuration with an unobstructed centre aisle from the bow entry gate the full length of the boat to the stern entry gate, it features a couch in each corner of the deck. On closer inspection, the execution of this layout and the construction and features of the “couches” and helm console go way beyond the “ordinary” of expectations and predictability.
All of the Simtex vinyl upholstery comes in six standard two-toned colour choices with available Carbon accenting at no charge. All of the upholstery is tufted and luxurious looking and the “couches” are all contoured and rounded and form-fitting. There are two stern-facing “Super Lounges” with enhanced headrests and grab handles and built-in cupholders. The starboard stern lounge features a standard pop-up privacy enclosure.
Two “Wide Berth” chaise loungers with fold-down armrests with cupholders, a comfortable two-seater to port and a larger three-seater to starboard immediately ahead of the driver’s console, complete the bow. Immediately ahead of the port stern lounger is another forward-facing lounger which ends at the portside entry gate. All furniture is constructed with Duraframe bases with storage beneath the seat cushions and with powder coated hinges.
Seagrass “Slate” flooring is standard throughout with vinyl “Teak Slate” optionally available. A Zebrawood Slate trapezoidal table is standard as are two portable cupholders with Zebrawood Slate trim, a self-draining bench seat cooler, and with stainless steel and woodgrain accenting throughout the interior.
The one-piece fibreglass driver’s console has a built-in footrest and storage within. The standard back-lit V3 brushed aluminum Sterling gauge package includes tachometer, fuel, trim, volt, and hour meter as well as a GPS-driven speedometer with compass heading. A new restyled V2 Pure Comfort reclining high back captain’s chair with integrated headrest faces the custom tilting steering wheel with Zebrawood Slate accents. A Striker 4 fish graph is standard as is a Kicker KMC 10 stereo with RGB lighted Kicker speakers.
A pair of 25-inch pontoons is standard as is an extended aft-deck with wide tread telescoping boarding ladder. Instead of a stern fence, the 23RCW comes with sporty stainless steel stern rails and gate. LED docking lights are standard as are underdeck spray deflectors plus extruded splash guards. A quick-release ten-foot bimini top with boot and a Surlast mooring cover, both available in two colour choices are also standard. You may choose from twelve panel colours and nine choices of optional graphics packages and even a Blackout Luxe Edition.
There is a vast selection of available options. Your first decision will likely be to choose from one of five Performance Packages which will increase the horsepower rating from 150 up to a maximum of 350. Then choose your engine brand from Yamaha, Evinrude, Honda, Mercury, or Suzuki. You can even choose a Torqeedo or MinnKota electric package or no motor at all.
Interior upgrades include a bow gate seat, coffee table, refreshment table with cooler, a captain’s chair to replace the lounger opposite the helm console, upgrades to the captain’s chair including a height adjustment, ottoman with cooler, and a stowable sun lounge. You may elevate the helm console, choose a Corvina stainless steel steering wheel, Simrad GPS, and upgrade to a Kicker KMC 20 stereo with Sirius Satellite, amplifier and subwoofer, Roswell speakers, and a stereo remote.
Further choose underwater lighting, side illumination, porta-potti, raw water washdown, pop-up cleats, refrigerated cupholder, and four choices of ski tow bar or ski pylon. You may also want an in-floor storage compartment, Sea Star hydraulic steering with or without power assist, dual batteries, lifting strakes, underdeck wave shield, and/or a Rough Water Package. There are also several bimini top upgrades.
If you do your research and with a knowledgeable dealer, there will most certainly be a Bennington pontoon boat that, with the right floorplan and options, will suit precisely your on-water recreational needs and desires.
|Dry weight:||2,554-3,238 lbs||1,158-1,469 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||25 US gals||95 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Yamaha, Evinrude, Honda, Mercury, Suzuki Outboard|