Bennington calls the SX 24 a “premium entry-level” boat, so it’s a step up from the basics. The amenities show just how it gets there — they’re anything but sparse. The exterior styling might be classic, but inside, where you’ll spend your time, this boat is advanced and elegant.
The forward layout is traditional, with wraparound seating offering two forward-facing backrests. The aft layout is a different story. Featuring a huge portside lounge with a reversible “swing-back” backrest, this area is great for watersports and sightseeing; its stainless-steel rail enclosures allow for riding here even at speed, safely surrounded. The effect of the plush two-tone vinyl, with its detailed stitching, coupled with the Seagrass Slate vinyl flooring, is one that conjures an ambience of high quality. It’s not hard to see the net result is a solid upgrade from entry-level. The driver’s console is raised for better comfort and visibility, and it’s outfitted with a styled steering wheel connected to standard SeaStar hydraulic steering to make piloting a low-effort endeavor. In the SX, the co-pilot enjoys the same seating as the pilot: twin captain’s chairs with standard slide and swivel.
Performance during our sea trial proved strong. Powered by a Mercury 150 hp four-stroke, it’s a stout performer — reaching 30 mph from a dead stop in a mere 7.3 seconds, with a top speed of 35 mph at 5,800 rpm. That’s a powerful showing for a 150, and it demonstrates the efficiency of the Bennington 25-inch-diameter pontoon configuration. Like most pontoon hulls, the SX 24 planed quickly with minimal bow rise on its way to achieving its most economical cruise speed right around 15 mph and 3,000 rpm, where the Mercury drank its 87-octane fuel at 3.2 gph and 4.8 mpg. With a compact 24-gallon fuel tank, this boat’s range at this speed is slightly over 104 miles with a 10 percent reserve. Handling is solid at any speed; even at hard full-lock wheel over, the propeller doesn’t lose grip, and the boat does not lean excessively while turning.
* Rear “swing-back” sun deck with stainless-steel rail surrounds and chain-link safety enclosure makes for a great rear relaxation area, facing forward or aft, even at speed.
* Two-tone high-density “Driftwood” vinyl with sandstone accents is nicely stitched and detailed, giving the appearance of fine furniture.
How We Tested
Engine: Mercury 150 hp four-stroke
Drive/Prop: Outboard/Mercury Enertia 15.6″ x 13″ 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 2.15:1
Fuel Load: 12 gal.
Crew Weight: 400 lb.
$47,228 (as tested)
Bennington Pontoon Boats Elkhart, Indiana; 888-906-2628; benningtonmarine.com