Starcraft hasn’t forgotten the original appeal of deck boats. The MDX 201 EIO’s family-friendly open design encourages socializing in the cockpit, but it retains the handling attributes of a V-hull below. Instead of being narrow, the bow cockpit squares to maximize passenger space and prevent occupants from doing the Top-Sider tango. Abaft, an L-shaped lounge spans much of the remainder of the interior, continuing the seating started forward and inviting yet more family and friends to join the cruise. The generous bow platform is great for fishing as well as boarding, thanks to its depth and covered telescoping ladder. Aft, an equally generous 5-foot-4-inch-by-2-foot-11-inch sun pad awaits those intent on soaking up the rays.
That’s not to say the MDX is old-school in its approach. That sun pad features both a rear-facing, multiple-position backrest to transform it into a swim-platform-focused seat, as well as a port cushion that raises to create a sideways-facing lounge. In the cockpit, a portside entertainment center briefly breaks up the seating with a freshwater sink, a pair of cup holders, and storage below. Remove the cushion covering the step to the bow platform, and below the step access is an insulated cooler — or an optional livewell if you plan on baiting a hook. Add the extended swim platform and you’re ready to hang out at the sandbar or gear up for your favorite watersport. The latter crowd will appreciate the in-floor ski locker, with woven matting to protect skis and boards.
The optional SX package includes color-changing speakers and cup holders, rope lighting under the seats, a flip-up helm bolster, and a stainless-steel rub rail. With it, our test boat looked sharp at the dock and underway. The choice of sterndrive power keeps that platform open and inviting. Our test boat’s choice of power was a MerCruiser 4.5-liter rated at 250 hp. It pushed the boat up and onto plane in 5.5 seconds, continuing past 30 mph in 9.3 seconds. At 5,000 rpm we recorded a respectable top speed of 45.1 mph.
* Finished cockpit liner and large deck drains simplify washdowns.
* Open stowage below aft bench offers easy access to the 36-quart Igloo cooler.
* Underseat stowage is finished on the interior with vinyl, avoiding the potential for soggy carpet. Raised perimeter edges and drains channel away water.
How We Tested
Engine: MerCruiser 4.5
Drive/Props: Alpha/14½" x 18" 4-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.62:1
Fuel Load: 29 gal.
Crew Weight: 310 lb.
$57,669 (with test power)
Starcraft Marine New Paris, Indiana; 866-772-4538; starcraftmarine.com