2023 Legend 18 XTR Ultimate

Boat Reviews

Boat Review by: Rick Layzell

legend-18-xtr-port

Legend are well-known for listening to their customer base and creating simple package options that take the confusion out of the buying process. The 18 XTR has been a staple in their fishing lineup, and the new Ultimate Edition takes their base model and turns it into a dream model.

She carries an overall length of 17’ 6” and a modest beam of 7’ 8” which positions her right in the seam of her class. Her exterior aesthetics are on point with stunning curb appeal thanks to deep and dark Legend logo placements and eye catching multi-tone graphics. Her size and look leave little doubt that Legend has targeted the 18 XTR to the on-water ‘SUV segment’ – families who want to capably tube or ski with the kids while confidently taking the angling crew out for a fish.

Jumping onboard on our late fall test day, I quickly noted the DuraDeck vinyl flooring, another point to the positive for Legend. Any experienced boater knows there’s nothing worse than getting home from a great day on the water and having to deal with pop and chip stains, or some fish slime embedded in the carpet. Vinyl flooring makes regular cleanup a breeze and gives more time for creating moments that matter.

The vinyl flooring stretches from the transom of the 18 XTR right up through the forward casting deck/lounging area. This area is prewired for your choice of 12/24V trolling motor, plus there’s a standard seat base, a massive 114 L aerated livewell/baitwell combo, cup holders, an oversized storage locker, and curved back rests. Included in the Ultimate Fishing package is a 70 lb Minn Kota with iPilot and a Humminbird Helix 7 GPS/Fish Finder.

Behind the generously sized (think height + weather management = longer angling seasons) windshield, Legend does an exemplary job on both the captain and co-captain helm stations. On the passenger side, I was elated to find a glove box that could fit a small human (please don’t, but seriously this thing is huge!). The captain’s seat rides on a slider behind a well-equipped console with tilt steering system, in dash 5” GPS/Fish Finder, Sound system with BlueTooth and MP3 port, gauges dressed with chrome bezels and EZ reset circuit breakers. A total of four seat bases are well located in the cockpit.

Interior gunnel mounted lockable rod boxes can hold up to 7’ rods and an additional in-floor rod locker with tube holders takes care of up to six rods. The stern jump seats quickly (think 10 seconds or less!) convert into a generously sized rear casting platform. You’ll also find another aerated livewell on the stern with a 45 L capacity, two more seat bases, as well as battery storage. A simple reboarding ladder is included, and this is the one area on the 18 XTR I’d like to see upgraded. A three-step telescoping reboarding ladder would be an affordable game changer. A stand-up canvas package rounds out the overall lengthy list of Preferred Equipment Package inclusions.

With dockside duties completed, we headed out onto Lake Simcoe just as fall temperatures were getting cooler and the winds were lighting up the water. Perfect timing and awesome wave conditions for true product testing! With waves now consistent at 12-24” and winds blowing from what seemed to be every angle, the 18 XTR was given ample opportunity to stretch her legs. She did so effortlessly.

Most of the testing was done with just myself and a full tank (95 L / 25 US gal.) on board. The reverse chines were one of the first things I noticed as they efficiently and effectively knocked the waves back down while I put the 18 XTR through the paces. She turns capably and confidently with little to no cavitation once trim angles were identified. With the Mercury 115 Pro XS nestled on her transom she repeatedly delivered hole shots of well under 4 seconds.

After investing time to learn her hull and get a good sense of her performance capabilities, I moved over to examining cruising speeds as well as top speed capabilities. Please note that before doing so, all good captains must ensure that they are aware of their surroundings and appreciate the many variables that affect performance testing. Wind and wave, ambient air as well as gear and passenger load on board can all affect your overall results. My recommendation is to do your testing with a safety-first approach while openly communicating your intentions with your crew.

In the end I found cruising speeds at 23 and 26 mph at 3,200 and 3,900 rpm, respectively. In both cases, the bow stayed up and out of the water and the hull ran perfectly. For top speed (in swirling winds) I was pleased to see my handheld GPS note 48 mph at 6,050 RPM on the gauge. All the results are exactly in line with my expectations of this craft.

The Legend 18 XTR with the Ultimate Package hits the bullseye from many angles. She’ll look great in your driveway, behind your vehicle on the way to the ramp, or in your boat slip. Your family will be proud to spend time together on the water, creating moments that matter together and your partner might even say you’ve hit a home run with this one.

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Length: 17'6" 5.3 m
Beam: 7'8" 2.3 m
Dry weight: 2,654 lbs 1,204 kg
Fuel Capacity: 25 US gal 95 L
Base Engine / Drive: Mercury
Engine HP: 115 Pro XS
Fuel Type: Gas
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