NauticStar 2500XS Offshore

The 2500XS Offshore is perfect for anglers looking for big features and a reasonable price.

We Say: It was only five or six years ago that we saw our first NauticStar. We climbed all over it, notebooks in hand, expecting to jot down a six- or seven-point punch list that the new builder would want to address before hitting the market. We didn't find much then — and a recent walk-through of the company's new 2500XS yielded a similar experience.

The top-rated Yamaha motor, for instance, ran the boat quickly up to 48 mph after coming onto plane in just 3.8 seconds — ski boat fast. Its sharp V-entry cleaved wakes, and the 20-degree deadrise at the transom hull continued to smooth them as we let them slide by.

Surprisingly for a value builder, there were plenty of features for the family in this boat, including a head in the changing room, a quality stereo, comfortable forward seating and padded bolsters all the way around the cockpit. NauticStar also equipped our tester with a hardtop.

For the serious angler, tackle storage in the coaming took smart advantage of space lost by most builders, and our tester had three insulated fish boxes, a blue-tinted transom livewell, cast-net storage forward and a pressurized raw-water wash-down.

NauticStar has been around less than a decade, but it's using a half-century of boatbuilding experience to make its craft exceed expectation.
Who'd Want One:** Anglers looking for big features and a reasonable price.

Another Choice: Pro-Line's 26 Super Sport ($73,854 with a Suzuki DF250) also offers excellent fishability.

Bottom Line: $73,451 (for boat and motor only)