Boat Review by: Richard Crowder
The LX series pontoon boats by Starcraft are new for 2020 and offer eight cruising layouts and three fishing layouts from sixteen to twenty-two feet. Starcraft claims this new series is “perfect for a family on a budget,” but even so it comes with many standard features that are often considered upgrades elsewhere.
Starcraft is a huge manufacturer of both fibreglass and aluminum boats in seven major categories: Jon boats, Utility, Fishing, Pontoon, Runabouts, Deck Boats, and Surf boats. In the pontoon boat category alone there are nine series comprising just under one hundred different models from sixteen to twenty-six feet!
The LX 18F is the smallest of three fishing layouts in the new LX series, which run up to twenty-two feet. They all offer the same standard equipment and available options, except that the larger two can offer a more complete range of pontoon enhancements with greater horsepower options. All LX models ride on a 96-inch (eight foot) beam.
The fashionable and functional molded helm console is centered along the starboard side rail of the 18F. This same modern console is found in all LX models and is practical and easily readable with a pair of large multi-function analog gauges flanking a rectangular shaded center section reserved for your choice of screens for charting, fishfinding, etc.
Lots of room is left on the dash for mounting of smaller diameter auxiliary gauges, for a dash remote for the optional stereo, or VHF. A cupholder is supplied on the top right of the console and also within the left hand side. A thickly padded and vinyl upholstered swivel and adjustable captain’s chair with fold-up armrests is standard, as is a Torcello Lite steering wheel.
The front half of the LX 18F is reserved for the fishing enthusiasts on board. Two high back contoured pedestal fishing chairs are centrally mounted within the open bow area, leaving lots of room between them to deal with frisky fish. A plumbed livewell box with padded lid suitable for extra seating is located immediately ahead of the helm console.
A rail mounted cupholder on each side is within easy reach of the respective fishing chairs. Landing any fish is made easy by utilizing either the center front entry gate leading to the full width bow platform, or via the centre portside entry gate. Brown Sea Weave flooring is standard and is much easier keep clean and cooler than traditional flooring materials.
The aft of the LX 18F floorplan is a more traditional cruising layout. Aft of the helm chair is a two person triangular-shaped bench seat which fits snuggly in the corner curving around to the center stern entry gate. A stretched out J-shaped lounge person bench seat fills the aft port side from the side entry gate around to the stern entry gate. The stern platform provides a folding aluminum boarding ladder on the starboard side.
All upholstery is tan colour and plush padded, and the portside lounge has centered recessed cupholders. Storage is found within all bench seating. You have your choice of standard black or burgundy exterior fence colour, and the standard bimini top is available in your choice of black, burgundy, or tan.
A pair of standard 23-inch diameter tubes of .080-inch gauge may be optionally protected with a Sila Shield Protective Coat, and speak to your dealer about possible upgrades to the standard tube offerings such as a Performance Shieldor lifting strakes.
One option almost all buyers of the 18F will choose is the Convenience Package which includes a Jensen AM/FM Bluetooth capable stereo, docking lights, mood lighting within the seat bases, Extreme tilt steering, a GPS speedometer, plus separate volt and trim gauges.
Individual available options include a pop-up lounge arm change room which can be further outfitted with a porta-potti. A playpen cover, pedestal table, ski tow pylon, stainless steel grill, Humminbird® Helix 5 in-dash GPS/fishfinder, digital depth finder, Minn Kota® Talon shallow water anchor, hydraulic steering, and trolling motor bracket are all additional options. The 18F is rated for a maximum 60 horsepower short shaft from the major outboard manufacturer of your choice.
However you outfit it to your individual taste, the new Starcraft LX 18F is adaptable for cruising, fishing, watersports, exploration, and lots of great all-round family enjoyment.
|Dry weight:||1,425 lbs (Boat Only)||646 kg (Boat Only)|
|Fuel Capacity:||21 US gals||79 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Evinrude, Honda, Mercury, Suzuki, Yamaha Outboard|
|Engine HP:||Max 60|