Aspen 26

The Aspen 26 mixes killer fuel efficiency with plentiful deckspace.

We Say: Here's evidence that killer efficiency is possible with an internal combustion engine pushing 26 feet of boat. Powered by a single 110 hp Yanmar diesel inboard, the displacement-hulled Aspen 26 burned 5.8 gph at 25 mph, netting a superthrifty 4.3 mpg. At slower speeds, it sips so little fuel that our test gear couldn't record it.

Deckspace abounds in the Aspen 26, but founder Larry Graf learned that customers wanted more length, so he made a 28-foot model available just before press time.

The engine is installed in the starboard hull, a hull that would be considered oversize were it half a standard catamaran. The shape allows the use of a more efficient shaft angle of a scant 8 degrees, so thrust is more dead ahead than typical inboards, putting more thrust into forward motion. The big starboard hull offers plenty of stowage as well. The port hull is some 35 percent narrower yet the profile is the same, preserving the boat's visual symmetry.

Each hull is uniquely shaped to balance the single starboard engine's weight and offset thrust efficiently. We found the boat followed a course effortlessly with no wandering, and it rode smoothly in chop with a solid stance. A pair of standard electric bow thrusters assists in docking, although it's annoyingly loud.

Who'd Want One: Efficiency hounds willing to forego the offshore pounding and 30-plus mph speeds of planing hulls.

Another Choice: Glacier Bay's 26-foot-2-inch 2665 tops 40 mph, but it can't touch the Aspen's fuel economy.

Bottom Line: $89,900; www.aspenpowercatamarans.com