One of the most desirable items on a Cobalt is not an accessory, but rather that iconic logo badge on the side of the hull. It connotes quality, luxury, style and performance, telling every boater in the know that you have indeed arrived.
Cobalt earned its reputation over decades of delivering superb boat-owning experiences, and the new R33 carries forward the panache of the Cobalt name. It does so not just with the badge, but with a big, stylish and exquisitely appointed runabout design that’s adept at day cruising, watersports, rafting and anchoring up, motoring to dinner at a waterside eatery, and even overnighting.
We tested the sterndrive version (it’s also available with twin or triple outboards) featuring twin Volvo Penta 380 hp V-8s with Ocean X Duoprop drives. The Volvos propelled the R33 to plane in 4 seconds and reached 30 mph in 8 seconds. Top speed was an exhilarating 54.2 mph at 6,000 rpm.
For fuel-efficient cruising, however, you’ll want to throttle back to 4,000 rpm, where the R33 runs at a brisk 32.3 mph and burns 19 gph for 1.7 mpg. That equates to a cruising range of nearly 230 miles based on 90 percent capacity of the 150-gallon fuel tank.
The R33 can do it all in some of the biggest lakes, rivers and bays, thanks to Cobalt’s next-generation deep-V hull design featuring fiberglass stringers and Kevlar-reinforced construction. It offers 33 feet in length overall and a stable 10-foot-6-inch beam.
A storm had roiled up the waters on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, where we tested the R33, providing a good opportunity to test the ride of this Cobalt in rough conditions. It did not disappoint, taking on the steep 2- to 3-footers as if they were not there. Cornering was smooth, confident and predictable, and the Duoprops held their bite even in hard turns at speed.
The helm area is a piece of art, featuring a pair of Garmin 12-inch multifunction displays flush-mounted into the dash, which has an upholstered brow to reduce glare. The MFDs allow you to view engine-operating parameters and free the dash of traditional instrument clusters. A switch panel, an inductive phone charger, and a controller for the Fusion stereo (networked with Harman Kardon amps and 14 speakers) reside on the port side of the wheel.
To starboard of the wheel is the control binnacle for the Volvos, a keypad for the Lenco trim tabs, and the joystick controller, which a flip-down/flip-up armrest cleverly protects from inadvertent use. An electric helm chair on our test boat let us easily and quickly adjust the seating to our liking; it features a flip-up bolster for a taller point of view from the wheel.
Want to take a big crew? Family and friends can easily step aboard using the starboard side door and enjoy the abundant seating, including comfortably wide seats for the helm and port console. The port seat swivels to join the cockpit’s social area, which includes plush L-shaped seating along the port side and stern, with a big storage area under the port seat.
The backrest on the stern seat can pivot back to create forward-facing seating, or it can swing forward to create an aft-facing rumble seat. There’s also an optional cockpit galley with an available electric cooktop and fridge, as well as a sink and countertop abaft the helm seating.
Upholstery work on the R33 is world-class, with double stitching and contrasting inlays with classic diamond-tuck patterns. Snap-in 40-ounce marine carpet covers the deck yet removes easily. An integral fiberglass hardtop with forward-raked supports on our test boat looked good and protected the midcockpit from occasional drizzles on test day, and will provide shade on nicer days. An additional sun awning extends from a pocket within the hardtop to shield occupants in the aft cockpit from UV rays.
The bow area serves as another inviting social area, with wraparound seating and backrests to face forward while lounging. The removable dinette table can be used in the bow or cockpit area.
Cobalt’s R33 delivers fun with a big aft E-Step swim platform that lowers at the push of button. You can also deploy a step in the middle to ease the climb back aboard.
With the Cobalt Splash & Stow system, a big inflatable mat rolls out from the giant stowage compartment under the stern pad. An optional air compressor lets you pump up the fun. There’s also a dedicated storage pod for a Yamaha Seascooter.
A posh cabin resides in the starboard console and features a berth, smart TV, storage cabinet and skylight for comfy, cozy overnighting. An optional air-conditioning system cools the cabin. An enclosed head compartment with 5 1/2 feet of headroom is located in the port console.
If you’re looking for a comparison, check out the Sea Ray SLX 350 ($389,169 base with twin 300 hp MerCruiser 6.2L MPI Bravo III-X sterndrives with Axius joystick). It offers comparable amenities, but 18 inches less length and less horsepower than our test boat.
If you want to treat a big crew to luxury and fun on big waters—and prove to everyone that you have arrived—Cobalt’s R33 might well be the boat for you.
How We Tested
- Engines: Twin 380 hp Volvo Penta V-8s/Ocean X Duoprop sterndrives
- Drive/Props: Sterndrive/Volvo F6 stainless-steel Duoprop set
- Gear Ratio: 1.95:1 Fuel Load: 95 gal. Crew Weight: 400 lb.
- Wraparound windshield features polished stainless-steel frame.
- Shore-power charging system has galvanic isolator to prevent electrolysis.
- Volvo Penta joystick system eases docking.
- Optional Seakeeper gyrostabilizer eliminates roll in rough seas.
- Rainwater leaked into the compartment under the stern pad during testing.
- Door for the walk-through to the bow rattled loose during testing.
- Countertop for the summer galley could use a fiddle.
Pricing and Specs
|Price:||$364,423 (with twin 380 hp Volvo Penta V-8s/Ocean X Duoprop sterndrives and joystick)|
|Displacement:||11,193 lb. (with power)|
|Transom Deadrise:||21 degrees|
|Fuel Capacity:||150 gal.|
|Bridge Clearance:||10’4″ (with hardtop and radar)|
|Max Cabin Headroom:||5’6″|
|Available Power:||Twin MerCruiser or Volvo Penta sterndrive packages up to 860 hp total|
Speed, Efficiency, Operation
Cobalt Boats – Neodesha, Kansas; 620-325-2653; cobaltboats.com