Starcraft Elite 226

The Elite 226 pontoon may just be the centerpiece of Starcraft's universe.

What we think: The Starcraft brand has been around for a century, and during much of that time, they've been making stellar pontoons and aluminum fish boats. The Elite 226 pontoon may just be the centerpiece of their universe.

First we found cutting-edge, top-shelf luxuries and features on board. Two cocktail tables are standard, and the forward one comes with a picnic umbrella for fun and comfort. At the helm station, Starcraft took it up a notch, too, by adding a Lexus-like dashboard panel to the all-fiberglass station. A tilt wheel is standard, and we found the reclining lounger at the helm comfortable both for driving and for snoozing while at anchor. A Sea Worthy stereo is also standard, and Starcraft popped an MP3 auxiliary input on the dash to match the way today's boaters carry their tunes on board.

You expect living-room-quality furniture on a pontoon, and this one didn't let us down. In fact, we noticed oversize bolsters under the thighs and behind the backs that added extra support and comfort. Many 'toons have a pop-up changing room, but the Elite's is easy enough to pop up and stow that you'll actually use it. It's under the sun pad, and even that has bigger bolsters to keep a snoozing sunbather on board if he rolls in his sleep.

The tow bar, freshwater wash down and digital depth finder were among the few options on this well-equipped boat. And if performance is your gig, add a center tube and an extra 100 horsepower.

Who should buy it: Starcraft is an expert in pontoons, and a boater wanting a full-featured rig with a 100-year pedigree should give this one the nod. It even comes with a full mooring cover standard.

Vital Stats * Length Overall: 22'3" * Beam: 8'6" * Dry Weight (boat only): 2,315 lb. * Seating/Weight Capacity: 12 people/1,700 lb. * Fuel Capacity: 30 gal. * Maximum HP: 150 * MSRP (w/ Yamaha F150): See local dealer * NMMA Certified: Yes

Power Picks
* Yamaha F115 -- See local dealer

*** Yamaha F150 -- See local dealer**

Also consider...
Starcraft Elite 206
Length:
20'3"
Beam: 8'6"
Max HP: 115
The 206 gives a similar deck plan in a shorter deck length, with comparable performance on less horsepower.

Starcraft Elite 246
Length:
24'3"
Beam: 8'6"
Max HP: 150
This one gives maximum crew space and great seating. Add a third tube and a 225 hp outboard for maximum fun.**
**

Test Drive * Test Engine: Yamaha F150 * Test Load: People (420 lb.); Fuel (16 gal.) * Top Speed: 26.6 MPH @ 5,200 RPM * Time to 20 MPH: 5.0 sec.