They Say: The Cobalt 230 proves more is better.
We Say: Supersize me! Cobalt stretched its existing 202 bowrider to gain valuable inches both fore and aft, upped engine choices to 17 total, and bumped the fuel capacity by 10 gallons. At the helm, rich textured and stitched vinyl looks upscale and prevents glare. Cockpit bench seats pivot on two-part piano hinges to provide full access to stowage and the insulated cooler. The Lexan walkthrough windblock door won't warp or discolor, and it features beefy latches. Windshield supports are made from solid stainless steel, not the typical hollow tubing. What truly sold me is the 230's exceptional ride. Crank a turn at speed and the boat never banks excessively, bucks, or blows out the prop. Instead, it carves with precision. And forget backing down for a sizable wake. Crossing launches that I feared would be spine-crushers produced nary a jolt. Credit the hull, which is reinforced with vibration-dampening Kevlar along the keel and chines and designed to distribute water effectively along its surface. Top speed with a Volvo Penta 5.7 Gi was just over 50 mph; the boat jumped onto plane in three seconds. Negatives? I'd like to see a bow ladder sharing space in that anchor locker, as well as clips to hold the anchor's stock. And there's painted fiberglass on the underside of the ski locker hatch, whereas the competition uses shiny gel coat.
Who'd Want One: The boater who knows what matters most.
Another Choice: Sea Ray's 230 Select offers a bow boarding ladder, an integral swim platform, and a choice of three floor plans. It costs $54,446 with a 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG MPI Alpha stern drive.
MSRP: As tested - $59,635
Contact: 620.325.2190 www.cobaltboats.com