Four Winns HD 180 Boat Test

A new runabout from storied boatbuilder, Four Winns

Four Winns HD 180 Running Shot
LOA: 18'6" | Beam: 8'4" | Draft (max): 2'11" | Displacement (approx): 3,100 lb. | Transom Deadrise: 19 degrees | Bridge Clearance: 3'9" | Fuel Capacity: 32 gal. | Max Horsepower: 250 | Available Power: MerCruiser sterndrives up to 250 hp and Volvo Penta sterndrives up to 250 hp | More Information: fourwinns.comCourtesy Four Winns Boats

This is the new shape of entry-level boating. The Four Winns HD 180 melds a runabout’s aft cockpit with the broad bow of a deck boat in a family boat that offers the best of both formats. It’s a formula Four Winns has already offered on four HD series models from 20 to 27 feet in length; the HD 180 scales it down to offer economical cost and operation, plus the ability to tow with a midsize vehicle.

Four Winns HD 180 Bow Seating
The bow is roomy and offers comfortable seating.Courtesy Four Winns Boats

We tested the sterndrive version of the HD 180 with base power, but the same boat is offered with outboard power up to 150 hp, starting at less than $35,000. In either case, you get room for four adults in the bow, with a pair of bucket seats and a bench-style seat in the roomy main cockpit. The sterndrive HD 180 offers a full-width swim platform, but it’s only about 10 inches deep without the optional 20-inch extension ($1,053), a design that allows the sun pad to be longer. That sun pad flips open to starboard to ease entry to the cockpit, and can be propped up to create a backrest. Cockpit carpet is not an ­option, but you can choose to cover the standard nonskid sole with either soft Marine Mat ($633) or vinyl reed mat ($513). An optional Marine Mat cover for the extended swim platform ($1,053) is also available with the SLX Package ($1,633), which also includes bow fill-in cushions, bow and cockpit canvas covers, and walk-through doors. A Bimini top ($867) is also an option, but it’s part of the LX Package ($1,720), which includes pull-up cleats and that reed flooring.

Four Winns HD 180 Helm
The two Medallion gauges displaying SmartCraft engine data.Courtesy Four Winns Boats

The helm features two Medallion gauges displaying SmartCraft engine data, plus ambient air and water temperatures. There’s also a ­cubby for stashing a cellphone, but it’s not padded. In our test, the 200 hp MerCruiser 4.5L V-6 was propped for a heavier load, and on the rev limiter at 5,000 rpm and 41.3 mph, bow rise blocked our view on hole shot with this engine, so if you plan to head out often with more than a couple on board, moving up to a 250 hp engine option ($3,700) might be advised. The HD 180 did deliver a smooth ride and confident handling through lake chop.

Four Winns HD 180 Aft Platform
The extended swim platform is a great social space.Courtesy Four Winns Boats
Four Winns HD 180 Engine
The HD 180 delivered a smooth ride and confident handling.Courtesy Four Winns Boats

High Points

  • Looks and feels bigger than an 18-foot boat should, with lots of leg- and elbow room all around.
  • Stylish bucket seats have a ventilated back for no-sweat comfort.
  • Multifunction digital gauges display comprehensive data.
  • Outstanding battery and engine-service access.

Low Points

  • Several desirable features, like a sun top and walk-through barrier, are options.
  • Standard audio has only two speakers.
  • No hatch lip to keep rainwater out of the ski locker.

Toughest Competitor
The 19-foot-6-inch Sea Ray SPX 190 ($39,163 with 200 hp MerCruiser and trailer) also offers a broad bow with roomy seating, with the advantage of a deeper swim platform and a standard premium audio system.

Price: $40,000 (with test power and trailer)

Available Power: Sterndrive

Four Winns HD 180 Certified Test Results
Four Winns HD 180 Certified Test ResultsBoating Magazine

How We Tested
Engine: Single 200 hp MerCruiser 4.5L 200
Drive/Prop: MerCruiser Alpha/Mercury 14" x 17" stainless-steel 3-blade
Gear Ratio: 1.81:1
Fuel Load: 10 gal.
Crew Weight: 370 lb.

Four Winns Boats - Cadillac, Michigan; 231-775-1351; fourwinns.com