Price tags for triple-tube performance pontoons can easily leap north of $50,000, so we weren’t surprised at the luxury on the Retreat 230 RFL’s spacious deck and the amenities for comfort and fun. We weren’t surprised it had a standard Bimini top to shade the cockpit. We were surprised, though, that the tow pylon was a standard since it is so often an option.
While those were obvious must-haves, we also noticed the sole was covered with expensive woven-vinyl matting with a teak and holly pattern that added richness that an owner of a pricey pontoon would demand. When we sat, regardless of where, we sunk deeply into multidensity foam cushions covered with supple vinyl. The look was finely tailored and more like a Lincoln Continental than a boat.
The sweetest seating in the 230 RFL is aft of the helm. Dual lounges stretch along the sides, offering thickly padded cushions and armrests with cup holders within easy reach. Forward wraparound seats are divided by a bow boarding gate that gives access to the foredeck, needed to safely secure a pontoon when you return to port. Also adding safety to the ride is the elevated helm station that provides a clear view over the head of passengers in the forward seating areas. Both passenger and skipper get a custom bucket seat that swivels and slides fore and aft for ideal riding comfort.
The helm itself is a three-spoke design, and it tilts for optimum comfort and visibility of gauges and toggle switches. A master switch makes it easy to ensure nothing is left on to drain the batteries during storage.
The horsepower range of the 230 RFL is 60 to 250 hp. Our tester boasted max power and hit 37.5 mph with it. All the while, the ride was smooth and nimble, thanks to power steering and richly appointed features that made it comfortable and plush. Then we saw the price and wondered how Lowe got all this luxury into this boat at such a modest number.
* Tow pylon takes advantage of horsepower for watersports.
* A center-tube ski locker keeps all riding gear secure.
* Storage beneath seats is guttered and drained to keep contents dry.
* Powder-coated rails around side panels add an elegant look and won’t corrode.
How We Tested
Engine: Mercury Verado 200
Drive/Prop: Enertia 14" x 14" 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.85:1
Fuel Load: 40 gal.
Crew Weight: 375 lb.
$44,200 (as tested)
Lowe Boats Lebanon, Missouri; 417-532-9101; loweboats.com