One of Bennington’s most affordable models, the 21 SLX gets a makeover for 2016 with new furniture and console accents. Seating, split between 6- and 4-foot-long bow lounges, a helm seat and a nearly 9-foot-long L-shaped aft lounge, is swathed in the supple, soft-touch vinyl. Raised cushions below the thigh along with a recessed lumbar region add comfort and security, and there’s ample stowage in the exposed roto-molded bases. That treatment is carried over to the aft sun pad, which lifts to reveal an oversize changing room, ready to handle swimsuit changes on the fly or nature’s call with an optional portable head. The stern platform includes a three-step ladder with handrails spaced 2 feet apart for easier ascent after a dip. And the fiberglass helm is far from basic with its three-spoke, stainless-steel tilt wheel, matte-wood accent panels, stainless-steel-rimmed gauges and a contrasting vinyl accent strip. Add the optional two-tone fence panels, stainless-steel rub rails, pillow-top upholstery and teak-look vinyl flooring, and you’ve really got a looker.
Overhead, the Bimini top measures in at 8 feet 6 inches by 10 feet, offering extended shade for multiple passengers. A trapezoidal dinette table serves occupants of the aft lounge while not intruding upon passenger flow. LED docking lights add a functional touch for nighttime operation. Teak dash accents, along with the aforementioned vinyl, add additional class to the helm.
Our test boat was equipped with Bennington’s SPS performance package, which uses a trio of full-length, 25-inch-diameter pontoons with solid, round keels, and adds lifting strakes to the center log and performance foils to the inside of each outer pontoon. SeaStar Solutions’ hydraulic steering and an underdeck wave shield complete the picture. With a fuel-efficient Evinrude 115 E-TEC, the SLX handled precisely and topped out at a brisk and easy 28.6 mph.
*Standards include full-length extruded skirting, a one-piece fiberglass console and a concealed Bluetooth stereo system.
*Saltwater package adds anodes to protect aluminum tubes from corrosion.
*Optional Blackout package includes anodized rails, smoke-chrome logos, Vapor graphics and a Bimini top.
How We Tested
Engine: Evinrude 115 E-TEC
Drive/Prop: 15½” x 11″ 3-blade aluminum
Gear Ratio: 2.25:1
Fuel Load: 30 gal.
Crew Weight: 370 lb.
$44,459 (as tested; $29,857 base)
Bennington Marine Elkhart, Indiana; 888-906-2628; benningtonmarine.com