This SX23 Premium Swingback is a convincing combination of Bennington quality and attention to detail, with a price that gives budget-minded boaters, and especially first-timers, true excellence without a huge payment. Fitted with a four-cylinder Yamaha F150 four-stroke outboard, the boat has performance and economy tied together at the hip. During testing, we recorded 38 mph at 5,900 rpm, swinging a 15-by-14.5-inch Yamaha Reliance three-blade stainless-steel propeller through 2:1 gearing. Minimum planing speed at 14.5 mph and 2,900 rpm gave the SX23 a slow cruise without plowing. Our best cruise speed, where the SX23 Premium Swingback proved most economical, occurred at 4,000 rpm and nearly 23 mph. At that speed, the F150 sipped fuel at 6.4 gallons per hour, garnering just under 3.7 mpg. Acceleration from a dead stop was brisk as we raced to 30 mph in just 7.7 seconds. This is a package with plenty of juice for watersports and big loads.
Our test boat’s raised helm station is optional. It worked well to elevate the captain, thus providing better visibility. At the helm itself, basic analog instruments (tach/trim/fuel), plus optional Garmin GPS and depth gauge, and a Yamaha binnacle control combine to give the captain plenty of information about this ’toon’s systems as well as good control. The Simtex Sandstone vinyl upholstery features pressed carbon-fiber diamond-pleated insets for a higher-end look and feel. The bow section features facing loungers, but the real attraction is the Swingback stern seating, which features an L-shaped couch encircled by a stainless-steel keeper rail — a great safety feature that still maintains a relaxed and versatile seating platform. With the seat back adjusted forward, the rear-facing entertainment area for sunning and watersports opens up; with the seat back adjusted aft, the party center in the aft cockpit is enlarged.
The detailed extruded-aluminum perimeter fencing has curves and welds that match the Bimini top and stern ladder for a well-coordinated and sleek look. A changing station is optional, as is a Simrad digital GPS/information center. Astern, rear speakers hide behind a stainless-steel grille that adds a custom touch.
- Seat “pocket shelves” provide a nifty place to keep cellphones and sunglasses.
- Changing room offers privacy in a pinch.
- Solid and secure handling and flat cornering at any speed give sure-footed confidence.
Price: $71,732 (as tested)
How We Tested
Engine: Yamaha F150 four-stroke
Drive/Prop: Outboard/Yamaha Reliance 15″ x 14.5″ 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 2.00:1
Fuel Load: 8 gal.
Crew Weight: 400 lb.
Bennington Pontoon Boats – Elkhart, Indiana; 888-906-2628; benningtonmarine.com