The check box for “fun to drive”is always at the top of our runabout evaluation list, and we marked it with an exclamation point after putting the new 2016 Crownline 225 SS through its paces. Credit the Crownline F.A.S.T. Tab hull for extra smiles per gallon. Vented chines aerate the running surface to reduce drag, and the finlike tabs keep those vents from producing handling quirks. The hull sticks in turns, is responsive to trim, and really airs out at speed. Chop back the throttle and you can feel the vents working as the boat glides along for quite some distance before finally settling off plane.
To compete in the crowded field of midsize runabouts, this Crownline offers a cockpit with a little extra elbow room thanks to its L-wrap seating to port with a backrest at the console that pivots to face forward or aft. The area behind the captain’s flip-bolster helm seat is open so there’s easy access to the swim platform. Whether the crew is hot to get in on the water-sports action or you are anchored and socializing with a crowd aboard, this layout grants the 225 SS a highly functional cockpit.
Crownline provides for provisions with a 25-quart carryout cooler that stows below the platform walk-through, and a drained, built-in cooler below the aft seat cushion. Music lovers will appreciate a standard six-speaker Jensen Marine audio system with two speakers at the swim platform. There’s a long list of premium audio options available.
Fit and finish are generally good, and we noticed that all the grab rails are formed of robust, 1-inch-diameter stainless-steel tubing. The four-step swim ladder is equally robust, and there’s a grab handle positioned so even short-arm swimmers can climb back aboard. We like the way the aft seat base is hinged to improve service access to the front of the engine, and the light under the engine hatch is aimed right at the big storage compartment to port. This boat is loaded with the polished stainless steel that’s a Crownline signature, seen everywhere from the windshield header to logos on the hull to an inset in the bucket-seat back. The only thing brighter may be your smile as you go zipping across the lake in this entertaining bowrider.
*Hinged sun pad can be propped up to create an aft-facing rumble-seat lounge.
*L-wrap layout creates a spacious, comfortable cockpit.
*Crownline’s construction process creates a smooth ride and great performance.
*Dash features a designated area for a GPS.
How We Tested
Engine: Single 300 hp MerCruiser 350 MAG
Drive/Prop: MerCruiser Bravo Three 26" propset
Gear Ratio: 2.20:1
Fuel Load: 32 gal.
Crew Weight: 380 lb.
$72,500 (MSRP with test power)
Crownline Boats West Frankfort, Illinois; 618-937-6426; crownline.com