REVIEW: SIGNATURE 495F

By: KEVIN SMITH, Photography by: KEVIN SMITH

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

For budget-conscious boaters, Signature’s 495F is a quality package that won’t break the bank.

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HIGHS

  • Decent performance and ride for a small boat
  • High freeboard maintained to stern
  • Towability and ease of use

LOWS

  • A bit more angle to the dash would be good
  • No kill tank built into deck

REVIEW: SIGNATURE 495F priced from $37,699 (BMT package with Suzuki DF60)

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Summer boating is just around the corner and if you’re thinking of upgrading or buying a new boat, this is the ideal time to shop as manufacturers and dealers release new models and have some of the best deals going.

Even if you’re not a budget or entry-level boater, getting value for money is priority number-one for most of us, and while we may dream of a top-of-the-range 100-grand trailer boat, the reality for the average income earner is that the mortgage, family and cars generally take precedence; a boat only gets what’s left over.

If this quandary sounds familiar, look no further – Signature Boats has a solution with its latest 495F. Designed and packaged to suit budget-conscious owners looking for a quality fibreglass boat, these little rocketships pack an X-factor punch, sporting Signature’s stylish lines, a spacious layout and standard inclusions to please the family and avid anglers. Getting you on the water for just under $38,000, well that definitely caught my attention.

CHAMPAGNE FOR BEER

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You may know the legendary 493F from quite a few years back; Signature has made considerable changes in developing the 495F.

As well as subtle changes to the styling and cleaner lines throughout, there’s a reworked bow section including bowsprit, and a user-friendly hatch through the cab top to access an anchor well that’s large enough to take the windlass.

An extra six inches has been added to the cockpit, where a redesigned dash caters for screens up to nine inches, and multiple gauges. Personally, I’d like a bit more of an angle to the flat section of the dash for a clearer view of the screen while driving, whether seated or standing.

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Storage space has been increased throughout, with the side pockets running full length into the cockpit and up to the forward console. Wide and shelved, they’re spacious enough to load quite a bit of gear into.

Another positive to the layout is the stern set-up with a full-length rear bench that folds vertically to serve as a really comfortable area to lean into when fishing. The high freeboard and gunwales maintained through to the stern are also great for the extra stability when fishing, and having two good-sized bait wells definitely appeals to me. Although lacking a decent kill tank, you could get away with chucking some ice into one of the bait wells, or just add an Esky as there’s enough deck space.

POCKET ROCKET

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On the water this little pocket-rocket is impressive – fitted with the maximum 90hp rating the 495F gives a healthy 34-36kt in varying conditions, with economy around 35L/h at WOT. For a civilised cruise the 495F performs best between 17 and 24kt and, surprisingly for its size, produces a very comfortable, stable and dry ride in rough conditions. Signature’s Variable Deadrise Hull (SVDH) is ubiquitous through the range and works exceptionally well – a good ride, quick to plane, and good economy on the 495F.

For the more budget-conscious boater not chasing performance, the 495F is rated from 60hp, which apparently doesn’t do a bad job. It would lighten the transom a fair amount and probably run a bit lighter on fuel – not that it chewed gas with the 90hp. More power suits me and were I buying, the 90hp Suzuki four-stroke would stay.

THE WRAP

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As a family boat, bay cruiser, a boat to pull the kids on tubes, and not a bad little fishing weapon for bays and light offshore work, the Signature 495F ticks plenty of boxes. For me, it’s all about multi-purpose use – it’s an easy tow with a medium-sized vehicle, you don’t need extra hands to operate it, and it’s pretty good value for money, starting at $37,699, especially when you consider the quality and standard inclusions.

Like any boat, upping the power and ticking options will bump the price, but fully loaded with extras and the maximum horsepower as tested, she’s still yours for under 50 grand, which just ain’t bad at all considering the attributes, accessories and quality. 

SPECIFICATIONS

PRICED FROM

$37,699 BMT package with Suzuki DF60

OPTIONS FITTED

Suzuki DF90 ATL, bow rail, gas strut on forward hatch, two-tone hull, ladder, transom steps with rails, bimini, M50 battery, Garmin Echomap CHIRP 55CV

PRICE AS TESTED

$47,699

GENERAL

Type Family/bay/light offshore

Material GRP

Length 5.09m

Beam 2.01m

Weight 705kg (hull only)

Tow weight 1180kg (approx)

Deadrise Variable 21-33˚

CAPACITIES

People 5

Rec. HP 70hp

Max HP 90hp

Fuel 75L

ENGINE

Make/model Suzuki DF90 ATL

Type DOHC 16-valve four-stroke

Weight 156kg (L) 160kg (X)

Displacement 1502cc

Gear ratio 2.59:1

Propeller 19in

SUPPLIED BY

SIGNATURE BOATS

140 Viking Drive, Wacol, Qld 4076

Web www.signatureboats.com.au

Phone +61 7 3271 4400

Email info@thehainesgroup.com

Check out the full review in issue #496 of Trade-a-Boat magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.

 


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