How about a well-equipped, quality pontoon for less than the cost of one V6 outboard? That’s what Bennington has in mind with the 22 SLi. Hang a Yamaha F70 on the transom, and you’re on the lake for $19,634.
That includes top-line features like a pair of chaise lounges, upholstery made from supple, durable Soft Touch vinyl and plush Palm carpet underfoot. Factor in the stainless-rimmed cup holders and a kidney-shaped dining table (which, besides looking great, I found practical for sliding out from behind), and Bennington manages to maintain a delightful dose of luxury, the rock-bottom price notwithstanding.
Of course, since few people complain about more horsepower — you can always pull back the throttle, right? — we had Bennington equip our tester with the maximum power, a Yamaha F115, as well as Bennington’s exclusive Express Tube performance package. So equipped, the 22 SLi accelerated to tubing speeds in an admirable 5.2 seconds before reaching a top speed of 36 mph.
So which power option would we choose? If your favorite sandbar resides across a big lake or you cruise with a large crew, spring for the 115. If you subordinate time and distance to purchase cost, stick with the 70 hp engine. While fuel-burn will be greater, your mileage will be about the same due to the increased speed capable with the 115, so operating expense shouldn’t factor much into your decision.
Riding 25-inch-diameter tubes — and fitted with full-length underskirting stainless-steel deck bolts and stainless-steel corner castings — the 22 SLi boasts robust construction like Bennington’s larger luxury craft. In all, it offers top-end features, combined with affordability, to a market cluttered with expensive gold-plated pontoons.
Quality construction and luxury amenities combine with a low price.
Stainless-steel bolts connect deck and tubes for longterm durability.
Kidney-shaped table looks great and is also ergonomic.
Stainless-steel corner castings take the worry out of “oops” docking moments.
» Test Engine: Yamaha F115
» Test Prop: Yamaha 13¼” X 15″ Three-Blade Aluminum
» Test Load: People (390 LB.); Fuel (24 GAL.)
» Top Speed: 36 MPH @ 6,300 RPM
» Time to Plane: 5.2 sec.
» Time to 30 MPH:** 10 sec.
» Most Economical Cruise Speed: 17.2 MPH @ 3,500 RPM, 3.2 GPH, 5.3 MPG
» Length Overall: 21’10”
» Beam:** 8’6″
» Dry Weight: 1,745 LB.
» Seating/Weight Capacity: 11 People
» Fuel Capacity: 24 GAL.
» Max HP: 115
» MSRP: $24,814 (as tested)
» NMMA Certified