Review: Crestliner 1600 Vision

By: John Willis, Photography by: Ellen Dewar & John Willis

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The Crestliner 1600 Vision is a modular boat package. Simply choose your options to suit your style and budget.

I love Crestliner boats, and so does every one of our judges and reviewers that has had the privilege to drive them over a number of years, including throughout three Australia’s Greatest Boats competitions.

Crestliner has provided the surprise package of the decade, with functional designs that suit a very wide range of boat buyers. But the second big revelation we keep raving about is their riding quality. We don’t know quite how Crestliner does it, but they do it really well.



Crestliner 1600 Vision

The Crestliner 1600 Vision is just a little bit different again from previous Crestliner aluminium boats. The Vision is a modular package that allows the purchaser to optimise their options to suit various styles, budgets and intentions.

I had a ball taking the Crestliner Vision for a pre-dawn sojourn chasing Port Phillip snapper and learnt plenty about the boat. Because truly, there is a lot to like.



Crestliner 1600 Vision on the water

My day started with some pre-dawn chop – you know, the kind that rattles your teeth out and splits your spine in many tinnies. Not so in the Crestliner 1600 Vision.

I ran from my launch ramp at Beaumaris around 5nm off Frankston in a flash at comfortable, economical and sensible speeds between 18 to 23kts at 4000 to 4500rpm.

She just gobbled up the small head-on slop with ease and, as usual for a Crestliner boat, took the punishment quietly and without flinching.

The selected outboard motor for this package has become an old friend also – the 60hp Mercury four-stroke with a CommandThrust leg.

This outboard/hull combination is as close to ideal as possible with very pleasing performance. There are those that believe every fishing boat needs to do 45kts – I don’t.

I opened the Vision up to Wide Open Throttle after a fishless sunrise as the bay glassed off and achieved a top speed of 30.3kts at 6100rpm on a brand new engine, straight out of the box, with a standard 14in alloy prop.

I have no doubt that once run in, the package will top the 32kt (60kmh) mark and that’s enough for me.

There is a ton of hull lift resulting from a mild 10° deadrise – so much so that it’s actually quite hard to find the true planing speed as the attitude is so flat and even.

Being a big bloke, I often worry about travelling in a relatively small side console or runabout without a counterweight by my side. However, any fears were quickly dismissed as I planted the throttle.

I loved the feeling of total control accentuated by a high degree of trim range which allowed me to perfectly tune for load and conditions.

She’s light, nippy and agile but still a dependable friend in the slop. I could have counted the spots of spray on the windscreen on one hand even after the head-on run to my (unproductive) fishing spot.

While many will love the big open cockpit produced by the single side console, it just wasn’t quite me. But the good news is that being modular in design you can actually order a passenger console direct from your local dealer as part of the new package, or you can retrofit one any time you like if your needs change.

And change they often do … I can foresee an enthusiastic young fishing tragic starting with the side console version to satisfy the maniacal piscatorial urge, before maturing to a second console as a partner and family enters his or her life.



Crestliner 1600 Vision layout

The Crestliner 1600 Vision is a beautifully presented package, as are all Crestliner boats.

The console and helm work well with the screen providing good wind and spray protection, combined with exceptional visibility.

Crestliner consoles do not allow for large screen electronics – however I notice a Lowrance HDS7 on the optional equipment list. So all options must be top-mounted as there is no allowance for through-dash mounting in the console.

However, the console itself is neat and compact, with space for the analogue speed and tacho – plus switches – but no trim gauge.

I actually found the overall helm simple but pleasurable, with the standard throttle falling in the right position and a deluxe upholstered swivel seat adding that extra layer of comfort. There’s plenty of leg room for a big bloke too.

Crestliner does a sterling job with its sensible internal trim. All upper surfaces and platforms are carpeted and the upholstery is well constructed from marine-grade finishes. The hard wearing and easy-clean non-skid vinyl floor works well too.

There are compartments and storage everywhere – in fact a surprising number, considering the hull is entirely foam-filled.

Crestliner 1600 Vision stern fuel tank

The bow section has a small anchor locker, plus three underfloor hatches where you can store all of your goodies including safety equipment and the detachable anchor light.

But you may need one of these lockers for the battery and switch gear should you decide to fit an optional bow mount electric outboard.

The bow comes without any mount or bow roller as standard. Our review boat was already fitted with the wiring, switch gear and plug in socket for an electric motor, and it also had a small cockpit light for night use.

There is also a socket for the movable helm seat, and you can even order a bolster for comfortable casting. Yet another compartment holds an aerated livebait tank.



Crestliner 1600 Vision cockpit

As we step back down to the main cockpit, we find the second floor insert where the passenger slots in, and there is another of these in the centre of the rear platform for comfort while casting from the stern.

Centrally located under the floor is a sizeable multi-use rod locker that keeps unused equipment well out of harm’s way. There’s further rod storage down the port side wall.

The rear platform is a beauty. It all folds down flat as a large casting platform, but has nifty convertible seating that easily extends the capacity for watersports and cruising when the gang arrives for summer fun.

There’s even a funny little hinged splashguard on top of the starboard transom that folds up to extend the transom height and stop things from rolling out the back. Its real purpose is to make it easier for boarding from the optional rear ladder.

I really did miss side coaming decks on the Vision. Crestliner has introduced a rail mount coaming system for the gunwale extrusion, but it is just not flexible or functional enough for me.

But others will love the extra internal space afforded by the lack of internal side decks, and will set their rail-mounted rodholders as they desire. Personal preference, again…



Crestliner 1600 Vision ride

Crestliner offers a limited lifetime warranty on all mainsteam welds and a three-year bow-to-stern warranty on virtually everything else. This warranty also includes transfer to future owners.

I really liked the Crestliner 1600 Vision and I loved its flexibility. I also love the construction, the appearance and particularly the ride quality. And when it comes to the cash register you will like the price as well.

The Crestliner 1600 Vision can be ordered it as a base package that will grow with you, or as a complete custom sports fishing boat that will convert to a capable family runabout.



• Functional modular design

• Ride

• Crossover boat

• Very capable

• Finish



• No bow roller

• Fuel tank popped hatch

• No side decks

• Limited dash space

• No trim or fuel gauge





3200 (planing)












6100 (WOT)


* Sea trial data supplied by the author



Crestliner 1600 Vision price: $32,790 (price as tested)

Dual Console Upgrade price: from $33,690



TYPE Side Console runabout

MATERIAL Aluminium


BEAM 2.05m

WEIGHT 980kg (BMT)





REC. HP 50 to 60


FUEL 45lt (portable)



MAKE/MODEL Mercury 60 EFI with Command Thrust outboard motor

TYPE Single overhead cam EFI, four-stroke outboard motor


WEIGHT 112 kg


PROPELLER 14in alloy




1301 Crestview Drive, Little Falls, Minnesota, USA




Avante Marine

345 Dorset Road, Boronia, VIC, 3155

Phone 03 9760 2222




See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #462, February / March 2015. Why not subscribe today?


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