Hampton may be a new name in the pontoon game, but the parent company, PlayCraft, is well-known in boating circles. While the upper end of that brand focuses on bold graphics, sporty interiors and thrilling performance, the Hampton line focuses on luxury in an affordable package.
As would be expected of a brand that aspires to upscale appeal, the Hampton 2485 XLT boasts plush, patterned deck carpet, premium four-tone upholstery and a reclining captain’s chair set behind a sleek fiberglass helm. In short, exactly the sort of things you would expect with an up-market brand.
What is less expected is this boat’s running performance. Strap a big outboard on almost any pontoon and you’ll get a decent turn of speed, but most still handle like a floating boxcar. Hampton models can be fitted with a center log and the same combination of concave fins and water-deflecting underliner found on high-performance PlayCraft models. The result is a boat that lifts at the bow as speed increases — almost as if it were planing — and cuts through chop with significantly less slapping or bumping than the average pontoon. With a Mercury OptiMax 200 Pro XS on the transom, this fully loaded 24-footer can top out a touch faster than 40 mph.
To handle the increased stresses that come with higher speeds, Hampton models ride on two 25-inch round outer pontoons and one foam-filled, U-shaped center log. Cross members are attached directly to the pontoons’ flat upper surfaces on 16-inch centers, and a sevenply, one-piece deck completes the structure. You might not be aware of this substantial undercarriage when you sink into a reclining deck lounge, but it’s nice to know it’s down there.
• Utilizes the same innovative performanceenhancing running surfaces as PlayCraft’s high performance boats.
• Three-foot swim platform, sturdy ladder and optional ski tow ease water entry.
• XLT package and rear chaise lounge options take seating and socializing capacity to the max.
• Heavy-duty side deck bumpers and corner caps provide protection from dock rash.
Test Drive * Test Engine: Mercury Optimax 200 Pro XS * Test Prop: Vengeance 19 * Test Load: People (450 LB.) Fuel (30 GAL.) * Top Speed: 41.2 MPH @ 5,800 RPM * Time to 30 MPH: 8.2 sec. * Most Economical Cruise Speed: 21 MPH @ 3,100 RPM, 5.0 GPH Vital Stats * Length Overall: 24′ * Beam: 8’6″ * Dry Weight: 1,175 LB. * Seating/Weight Capacity: 15/3,000 LB. * Fuel Capacity: 30 GAL. * Max HP: 200 * MSRP: $39,790 * NMMA Certified: Yes