Cruisers Yachts 300 CXi

Fiscal prowess, yes, you can get more for less. Here’s how.

If you lust after a 30' express cruiser, you probably value living space and amenities above all. So make a beeline for the Cruisers Yachts 300 CXi. It's more cruiseable than many 30-footers I've tested. And chances are you'll save a lot of cash.

The 300 CXi is frugal without being cheap. Look at such features as the head. The commode is electric instead of a costlier vacuum-flush model. The entire easy-to-clean head compartment, except for a bit of wood cabinetry, is fiberglass, not fake granite. You get everything you need, tastefully shaped, ergonomically sized, and robustly built, but without the trappings that drive up prices. The galley offers a single-burner stove, not a double or triple, plus a microwave. The cockpit wetbar comes with a cooler, not an icemaker, which guarantees better tasting drinks, I think. The forward berth is a slab. It's not as impressive as an island berth, but you get a bigger bed that doesn't protrude as much into the salon, and there's less carpentry required to build it. Note these features: walkthrough windshield; anchor windlass with footswitches; radar arch; a standard Bimini top with side, aft, and front curtains; and cockpit carpet underfoot. Finally, the 300 CXi includes something even lots of the big yachts lack: service access. Due to smart layout and V-6 engines, the seacocks, batteries, and bilge switches are all within easy reach. Everything is supported, chafe-protected, labeled, sealed, and bonded in excess of my expectations.

Most boats this size are powered by small-block V-8s, which take up more space. My test boat's 225-hp Volvo Penta 4.3 GXi/SX V-6 stern drives powered us to 39 mph and cruised most efficiently at 30 mph and 4000 rpm. Inclination and acceleration were reasonable, and, unless you routinely load a dozen people and their gear, these smaller engines should provide good service.