2024 Starcraft SLS 5 Q DH

Boat Reviews

Boat Review by: Rick Layzell

starcraft-sls-5-q-dh-running

In Starcraft’s extensive pontoon lineup, the SLS Series is positioned within their upper end of their model offerings. The SLS 5, in particular, is the flagship with a nearly 27’ LOA (26’8” to be exact). We were a very happy crew to be granted the opportunity to test this stunner of a pontoon on a calm and warm Indiana afternoon.

If your purchasing checklist puts curb appeal with plush interior seating and wicked fun riding characteristics at the top, then get this sweet boat on your shopping list now.

She greeted us at the docks dressed in a drippy combination of emerald green fence panels, playful stainless steel accents, and a supple tan interior. My heart skipped a beat as this combination really worked for me. She was decked out in Starcraft’s ‘SB Package’ which gave us a smoked design on the upper sections of the emerald green panels with black striping on the lower parts. SB also adds black rails – which have some extravagant styling cues as well as black painted tubes. We are seeing painted tubes more and more on the upper end pontoons we test, and for me they are an absolute home run. As an admitted curb appeal guy, the painted tubes really pull the entire package together – on the SLS it absolutely rocked it. The SB Package also gives us the sexiest marine mat accented flooring I’ve ever laid eyes on. Stainless steel was visible on the helm and used extensively on the transom. This boat was love at first sight for me.

The transom featured a white painted Yamaha 300 four-stroke engine that had me anxious to play… I mean, work. But the crew said we weren’t done yet. Stainless steel is featured throughout on a generously wide 4-step reboarding ladder and the ski/tube tow bar. The stainless steel rails wrap from port to starboard, adding to the feel of the SLS 5. I smiled noting not just one, but two rear gates were incorporated in the design.

Moving into the boat, a large rear sunpad easily expands thanks to an easy-to-use backrest. With the stainless rails in place, your guests can sit or lay here while underway – awesome set up for a spotter while the kids are playing on tubes. Multiple under seat rotomoulded self-draining storage compartments are scattered throughout the interior, including under the sunpad. Up top there are also beverage holders and charging ports for the inevitable devices on board. On the starboard side of the rear entry, Starcraft has incorporated a large storage trunk – think tubes, ropes, and lifejackets. Great use of space here.

Heading inside, we are greeted with a large L-shape lounger with dinette table on the port side. Both the captain and co-captain share in the richness of the luxurious helm seats. The helm station itself is rotomoulded, meaning it too will last a lifetime. The captain enjoys a functional dash with easy access to the rocker style circuit breakers switches for electrical components. A Simrad Go 7 had been added to our test boat (optional allowing you to choose what’s right for you). The Yamaha digital gauges were front and centre, and a covered storage pouch housed a variety of charging options. The digital throttle and shift binnacle control was ergonomically positioned in perfect reach for the captain.

In the bow section, your guests are welcomed with opposing luxury loungers - both of which are outfitted with forward facing backrests for stretching out. The port side lounger also neatly houses a quick and easy pop-up changing room (the kids will thank you on those early spring and late fall boating days).

All in all, this is an exceptional layout.

The crew finally had enough of my drooling and agreed it was time to get off the docks. I had failed to mention to them that we were being treated to Starcrafts HMX tube package, which gives owners an aluminum performance shield, better lift, reduced surface drag, quicker on plane speeds, a tighter turning radius, and improved top speed capabilities. We eased away from the docks with me in full grin mode knowing what was about to come.

Our weekday test welcomed us with near zero boat traffic meaning, I was free to play. And did I ever! The Yamaha 300 is a great marriage to this hull and consistently had us up and on plane in 3.7 seconds. That’s with 3 of us on board and a full 227 litre / 60 US gallon fuel tank. The fun was just beginning.

After a half dozen or so holeshot trials, we moved into cornering. The tighter I tossed her into a corner, the better she seemed to behave. I seriously was blown away by a nearly 27’ pontoon with a pre-engine weight of 3,250 lbs / 1,474 kg cornering this well. Next up was cruising speed trials. She’s on plane in seconds and holds as low as about 18 mph. For our crew we found her dreamy to cruise at anywhere between 21 and 25 mph.

Last was the top speed test, which I had anticipated would see 40 mph and maybe a little more. The Yamaha proved me wrong! We were clocked on both the Yamaha digital gauge and my own GPS speedometer at 43 mph. Very nice.

There is so much attention to detail here. From the incredible dockside styling, to the not-so-subtle logo accents in the flooring and stitched into the interior, to the attention paid to things as minor as the storage compartments. Starcraft’s SLS 5 Q DH was an absolute win for me - certainly one of my favourite pontoon boats I’ve ever had the pleasure of testing. You would be very proud to proudly show her off on your dock.

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Length: 26'8" 8.13 m
Beam: 8'6" 2.59 m
Dry weight: 3,250 lbs 1,474 kg
Fuel Capacity: 60 gal 227 L
Base Engine / Drive: Yamaha
Engine HP: F300XCB2
Fuel Type: Gas
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