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2022 Bennington L23 Swingback

The L23 Swingback combines ­luxury, solid construction and innovation.

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Overview

Known for its top ­market ­offerings, ­Bennington pontoons combine ­luxury, solid construction and innovation at ­less-than-stratospheric prices. Case in point: the L23 Swingback. It tops 40 mph with a Mercury 200 and comes in at just over $91,000 as tested.

Bennington L23 Swingback cruising
The L23 Swingback is built for everyday cruising. Bill Doster

Interior and Accessories

The Swingback Lounge in the stern really makes the L23 a family and action craft in one. The wide lounge has a multiposition backrest to sit or recline facing forward or aft. A full perimeter stainless-­steel rail with a swing gate for aft-deck access provides ­security. On that deck, we discovered a stainless-steel ski tow and a black ­powder-coated, curved folding aluminum boarding ladder. This aft seating arrangement coupled with the captain’s chair provides a separate ­conversation area for six crewmembers. 

L23 Swingback helm
The pilot’s console features a Simrad GO7 screen. Bill Doster

Checking under the console and seating, we discovered supported wiring run straight and clean. There’s enough open storage under the seat cushions and inside the console to stow a day’s bring-alongs. ­Recessed seat bases provide a subtle improvement in available deck space while delivering sure-footedness when standing to access the ­underseat stowage.

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L23 Swingback bow seating
Forward-­facing lounges feature deep well seating. Bill Doster

Our test rig featured ­diamond-stitched luxury Simtex upholstery in graphite with vibrant ­Monaco blue accenting. High-speed USB charging ports abound. Upfront, facing lounges feature deep well seating and recessed seatback pockets for added convenience and a more secure feel while underway. The helm ­features a Simrad GO7 screen ­displaying all vessel and engine ­information without the clutter of individual instruments. A Rockford Fosgate stereo provides plenty of high-fidelity volume. 

L23 Swingback aft seating
Aft, there’s a spacious wide lounge with a multiposition backrest. Bill Doster

The premium blackout finish is a package most will desire; it adds a subtle yet sleek look with a blackout powder-coated finish on the perimeter rails, Bimini top frame, boarding ladder, deck rails and bumper trim. The L23 Swingback provides great value and is packed with features for those who want Bennington quality and performance at a midlevel price.

High Points

  • Aft lounge platform offers crowd control, with sunbathing room and forward-facing seating with a quick switch of the backrest.
  • Rear stainless-steel perimeter rail allows use of the aft lounge while underway.
  • Elevated helm station provides good visibility ahead.

Low Points

  • Steering is top-of-the-line SeaStar Pro hydraulic, so it was a surprise to find it a bit stiff and heavy at speed.
  • Low-profile Lexan windscreen didn’t offer much protection from the wind; added height and a curled lip at the top edge might help this.

Toughest Competitor

  • Viaggio’s Diamante 23Q is 1 foot shorter at 23 feet, 10 inches. It compares in speed (46 mph) with a Mercury 250 outboard, and comes similarly equipped at just under $97,000. Equipped with a 200, the price and speed would be close to the Bennington.

How We Tested

  • Engine: Mercury FourStroke 200 hp
  • Drive/Prop: Outboard/Mercury Enertia 15.3″ x 14″ 3-blade stainless steel
  • Gear Ratio: 1.85:1 Fuel Load: 13 gal. Crew Weight: 250 lb.

Pricing and Specs

Price: Price: $91,134
LOA: 24’9″
Beam: 8’6″
Draft: 2’7″
Displacement: 3,064 lb.
Transom Deadrise: NA
Bridge Clearance: 5’3″
Fuel Capacity: 32 gal.
Max Horsepower: 250
Available Power: Single Honda, Mercury or Yamaha outboard to 250 hp

Speed, Efficiency, Operation

Bennington L23 Swingback performance data
Bennington L23 Swingback Certified Test Results Boating Magazine

Bennington Marine – Elkhart, Indiana; 574-264-6336; benningtonmarine.com

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