TESTED: CROWNLINE 19 XS

By: JOHN WILLIS, Photography by: JOE PRESS


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As TrailerBoat’s head tester, John Willis doesn’t use the word “perfect” for just any old boat, so the new Crownline 19XS must be something pretty special.

TESTED: CROWNLINE 19 XS
The Crownline 19XS. It's a trailerable luxury bowrider that suits anyone who loves outboards.

I am a man of simple tastes. All it takes is great company, a beautiful boat and a majestic location to make me happy. We managed to put all three together on a recent test, with the guys and gals from Melbourne’s BL Marine, the new US-built Crownline 19XS bowrider, and the impressive Mercury 150hp four-stroke all coming together in the early-autumn splendour of Victoria’s Lake Eildon.

This is the type of boat test I love. It’s not just about hopping into a rig and doing the same old, same old, but rather about putting a boat into the setting it’s intended for. In this case, the all-new Crownline 19XS (XS represents Cross Sport) has been designed as a family-friendly sports entertainment machine.

The 19XS is definitely that. I would even go as far as to call it the perfect all-rounder, and I am not one to use the word "perfect" lightly. It’s fun, fast and cruisey, and has exceptional ride and a people-friendly layout. To top it off, this Crownline has perfectly-matched power and is very well priced. You can’t ask for much more.



OUTBOARD IN

Australians love outboard engines, and with good cause. After all, "our land is girt by sea" (I always wondered about the word "girt"). Anyway, while inboards have come along in leaps and bounds in terms of saltwater corrosion resistance, to my mind they still don’t match the protection of an outboard, particularly since the majority of inboards are being imported without enclosed cooling systems. They may be fine for America’s predominantly inland freshwater lakes, but can prove costly in our combination of fresh and saltwater.

With this in mind, the 19XS was developed with a large amount of input from the Crownline’s Australian distribution network, while still retaining all of the quality and function of the American build. On that last point, I stand by my previous statements: Australian fibreglass manufacturers can learn plenty from these American hulls.

We are all benefiting from the high standards produced by all manufacturers who must come up with constant improvements to keep the pace. The customer is getting exceptional value for money from both local and imported product, and the Crownline 19XS has hit its mark perfectly.



FIRST CLASS

Quality design is timeless and from the bow back the Crownline 19XS exudes premium mouldings combined with functional ergonomics and beautiful presentation. The bow seating is soft and comfortable with plenty of leg room, grab handles and even a pair of speakers to keep you entertained. There is storage under the seats but no anchor well or bow fitting, however, you could store the anchor under one of the seats and tie off to one of the six pop-up bollards.

The helm of the 19XS is magnificent. Whether comfort, ergonomics or upholstery, Crownline takes great pride in its seating, and they got it very right here. These twin swivel bolster seats are equal to world’s best.

The driving position is well protected by the wraparound three-piece safety-glass windscreen, providing great visibility at just the right height. The dash presentation is simple yet very stylish. I love the Faria analogue gauges; you can read them quickly and easily in all light conditions.

The combination of sports steering wheel with tilt adjustment, instrument placement, and two-tone fibreglass and upholstered dash makes for a very satisfying driving experience. The passenger dashboard features a lockable glovebox, a small but handy tray for bits and pieces, grab handle for security, and a head unit for the sound system. The remote control for the sound system is found on the driver’s side, and there are four waterproof speakers throughout the boat. There are plenty of drink holders scattered everywhere you need them.

The convertible U-shape rear lounge works very well. It has enormous storage potential and a nifty mounting position for the removable cooler in the centre. The backrest and corner seat pad are removable from the starboard quarter, allowing a full walkthrough without damaging the upholstery. All of the seating is extremely well placed and comfortable, catering for up to eight passengers with a satisfying use of space.

There is more storage in a ski locker under the floor, upholstered side pockets and a further wet box on the port transom.

While the engine well is slightly larger than I expected, it certainly doesn’t impede on space. I actually tried to ski behind the boat but the old bones, not to mention the absence of a life jacket and more than 20 years without having strapped on the skis, kept me off the water. However, I was happy I tried because it emphasised the easy entry from the water via a four-step stainless steel folding ladder.

While the outboard configuration doesn’t supply the full staging platform you see on most stern drives and inboards, Crownline has made the most of the transom configuration, aided by the convenient walkthrough.



THE BEST PART

This thing really excels on the water. She is soft, quiet, powerful and beautiful. Need I say more?

Admittedly, I was a little concerned by the power-to-weight ratio of a large-capacity bowrider combined with a 150hp four-stroke engine — some competitors have disappointed. But I am pleased to report the 19XS is perfectly matched as an all-round family boat. Moreover, you will be amazed at how quiet it is through the hull transmission and the engine noise.

Running fast across Lake Eildon with a small surface ripple produced an exhilarating experience. She turns very well, is extremely stable for a 2.34m beam (legal for towing) and is very responsive to trim, with only a very small bow rise out of the hole.

The engine was a real surprise for me. I’d heard tales of this new four-stroke EFI Mercury, and I was more than a little apprehensive about the hype. Thankfully, my fears proved unfounded and I was very impressed.

Teamed with a 17in Enertia propeller, the engine gave impressive hole shot, a very responsive mid-range (even when carrying a large load), and a thrilling top end of 40.8kts (75.5kmh) at 5850rpm on a brand new engine. It has very even torque throughout the range and is exceptionally quiet at idle and, even better, at higher revs. This was a real surprise package.

I do have a few minor criticisms of the overall package, namely no anchor well or fittings, the throttle position, and the fact the trim switch needed some pre-delivery attention.

I also don’t like the use of access hatches in the wet area of an engine well, no matter their quality (even if this is now commonplace in many boats). I have all too regularly seen them lose their seals and crack, potentially allowing water to seep into the hull. But these really are minor gripes.

The finished quality of the Crownline 19XS is exceptional. Its mouldings and mirror-like gelcoat are faultless. The options such as the windscreen, stainless steel framed bimini, bollards, navigation lights, hinges, etc. are all top class, and BL Marine completes the package with an Australian-built Dunbier tandem trailer.

The whole thing comes in at less than 2t for convenient towing behind the family vehicle without the need for a trailer with expensive breakaways.



THE WRAP

This exquisite yet playful Yankee bowrider has a big future in this country.

The stakes just keep getting higher and higher in the competitive field of sports boats, but our exchange rate is keeping the prices relatively low. It’s hard for the locals to compete in this field, particularly when you consider the size of Uncle Sam’s sports boat market.

This 19XS is a product of innovation and experience that will keep Crownline high on the world market for many years to come. Boating really is all about fun on the water, and this rig packs it all into an exceptional family sports boat package.

This premium bowrider conforms to Australian towing specifications and utilises the world’s best manufacturing processes, and with a package price around the mid $50k mark we should get ready to see more of these on our local waterways.


On the plane...

  • Little bow rise
  • Premium upholstery
  • Functional layout
  • Well-matched engine
  • Deep boarding ladder
  • Rear walkthrough

 

Dragging the chain...

  • Trim switch a little sticky
  • Throttle position
  • Plastic hatch in enginewell



PERFORMANCE

11.7kts (21.6kmh) @ 2650rpm — on the plane

17.8kts (32.9kmh) @ 3000rpm

23.5kts (43.5kmh) @ 3500rpm

27.5kts (50.9kmh) @ 4000rpm

30.2kts (55.9kmh) @ 4500rpm

34.5kts (63.9kmh) @ 5000rpm

37.7kts (69.8kmh) @ 5500rpm

40.8kts (75.5kmh) @ 5850rpm — WOT





SPECIFICATIONS: CROWNLINE19XS BOWRIDER



HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $55,090

Options fitted: Bow and cockpit canvas; stainless steel bimini; middle hull deck band; 150 EFI Mercury four-stroke engine

Priced from: $52,990



GENERAL

Type: Luxury American

outboard bowrider

Material: Fibreglass

Length: 5.79m

Beam: 2.34m

Weight BMT: 1890kg

Deadrise: 18°



CAPACITIES

People: 8

Rec. HP: 150

Max. HP: 175

Fuel: 102L

Water: N/A



ENGINE

Make/model: Mercury 150hp

Type: 3L inline four-cylinder, eight-valve, SOHC 150hp EFI four-stroke

Weight: 206kg

Displacement: 3000cc

Gear ratio: 1.92:1

Propeller: 17in stainless steel Enertia



MANUFACTURED BY

Crownline Boats

West Frankfort

Illinois, US

Web: www.crownline.com



SUPPLIED BY

BL Marine

612-614 Plenty Road

Preston

Victoria 3072

Tel: (03) 9478 1420

Web: www.blmarine.com.au

Originally published in TrailerBoat #295, May / June 2013

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