In today’s world, the Starcraft EXS-3Q is really an entry-to-midlevel pontoon, with some extra oomph from the optional Mercury FourStroke 200 to add some zoom. This Starcraft has a little something for everyone. For the performance and economy buff, it zips to 30 mph in just 5.7 seconds and tops out at 42 mph. At a cruise speed of 15.4 mph, which is perfect for party cruising, people-watching or a late afternoon beverage jaunt, it sips fuel at just 3 gph. That’s over 5 mpg, with a resulting range of 276 miles from the 60-gallon fuel tank, using 90 percent capacity. Yes, long weekends on a tankful are part of what the EXS-3Q is all about.
Fit and finish are one of the EXS’s strong suits. The standard HMX PR25 performance package includes three 25-inch-diameter tubes with lifting strakes strategically designed and welded to the insides of the outer tubes and both sides of the center tube. These strakes provide lift for speed and efficiency, along with a drier, more stable ride and less banking in tight turns. The logs are all secured to Starcraft’s heavy hat-channel underdeck structure.
Topside, the soft-touch upholstery proved supple and impressed us during our test. The seating feels nice to the touch and comfortable when seated or while lying down to relax. Your guests will be impressed. Roto-cast plastic seat bases provide good storage underneath; the speakers installed therein are protected with covers and wire loops, a nice Starcraft touch that is usually seen only on higher-priced craft. Up front, twin facing lounges provide a nice conversation pit. The pilot’s console is clean and uncluttered, but has the requisite instruments to adequately monitor the Mercury outboard. The cushy captain’s chair swivels and slides, with thick padding to keep the pilot comfy on long, hot days. In the stern, the L-shaped party pit with a swing-back convertible backrest gives plenty of room for gatherings, with an easy view of the stern watersports activities. For that, there’s an extended aft deck with optional ski-tow pole. In-floor storage amidships gives room to stow the boards and skis.
- Spirited performance combines with a low price.
- Forward-facing bow lounges with aft L-shaped swing-back lounge.
- Niceties include hydraulic steering, black perimeter railings, Bimini top and extended aft deck.
Dry Weight: 2,380 lb.
Seat/Weight Capacity: 12/2,550 lb.
Fuel Capacity: 60 gal.
How We Tested
Engine: Mercury 200 V-6 FourStroke 200 hp
Drive/Prop: Outboard/Mercury Mirage Plus 15″ x 15″ 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.85:1
Fuel Load: 25 gal.
Crew Weight: 250 lb.