On the interior, Cobalt’s aft lounge can be converted from a forward-facing bench three persons wide to an aft-facing seat or sun pad. Most welcome, though, is the ease with which the movable backrest works. Press down on it to release a latch and slide it to the alternate position, where it automatically locks into place. Unlike many convertible lounges, a child could manipulate this, and we spotted no obvious pinch points that could do harm.
The cockpit is spacious and yachtlike. Cobalt believes the customer rarely uses the head, and eliminating it maximizes passenger space. By contrast, Sea Ray offers the 250 Select EX ($99,500) comparably appointed with quality vinyl and hardware, but its cockpit is encroached upon by the fully enclosed head, which also expands the boat’s otherwise sleek profile.
The A25’s rich look is also enhanced by the sisal-mat sole covering, which Cobalt says is its exclusive offering in the stern-drive market for 2010. It gambles that boaters will choose it over carpet for its excellent traction, easy sweeping or even easier cleaning by hose after removing the snap-out accessory from the sole. Textured leather-like vinyl upholstery adds an even richer look to the cockpit in a soft creamy color. For final accents, the console dash panels are also upholstered in vinyl that looks so much Cobalt A25 like leather you’ll have to sniff it for a reality check.
The coup de grâce in Cobalt’s design is in the forward seating area, where traffic passages are enhanced by a unique three-seat arrangement. Two can face forward, leaning against the cockpit bulkheads, while one faces aft, centered at the bow. Why not offer the typical wraparound u-seating, we thought? We lifted the bulkhead seats and flipped out hinged filler cushions that quickly united the three-piece ensemble into one.
Luxury was matched toe-to-toe with performance in our test boat, thanks to its big-block V-8. The MerCruiser was coupled to digital instruments that gave a clear readout on engine operations and included a depth finder to help keep the bottom clear of prop-munching rocks. The throttle was traditional, not digital, but the installation made control of speed and shifting smooth in our test drive. The craft cornered like Capt. Jack Sparrow’s club-hauling pirate ship. The 21-degree deadrise hull will comfortably cleave chop on popular waters like Lake of the Ozarks or the Chesapeake Bay.
While some may raise their eyebrows at the deleted head, being a Lake of the Ozarks-bred boater myself and knowing no water dogs are more than a few minutes from a watering hole (and public restroom), I can see why Cobalt held to its sexy, sleek lines. And its low profile adds at least a feeling of enhancing, if not actually improving, its strong cornering capabilities.