Review: G3 SunCatcher X322 RC
Time was that pontoon boats were strictly the purview of boaters on enclosed bodies of fresh water. However, over the past several years, even coastal dwellers have discovered the underrated utility, fabulous functionality and multi-tasking majesty of today’s super-luxe 'toons. The new SunCatcher X322 RC by G3 boats fits that description to a tee.
The X322 RC differs from the X22 RC in its number of pontoons. Where the X22 has two tubes, the X322 model designation denotes three tubes. The U-shaped pontoons measure 23 by 25 inches, and the outer tubes sport lifting strakes that help the boat onto plane in just about two seconds — no exaggeration!
I hit 30 mph in about six seconds, and all this with virtually unmeasurable bow rise. Add to that virtually flat cornering at any speed and a top end of just over 34 mph — thanks to the Yamaha VF150 SHO (for Super High Output) — and you have a potent package for myriad applications!
Not fast enough for your taste? SunCatcher rates the X322 RC for up to 225 horses. Rest assured that the construction of the X322 will easily handle that extra power, thanks to one-piece extruded cross-members holding the tubes together as well as supporting the deck structure, and closed-cell composite foam flotation adding security, stiffness and sound absorption.
SunCatcher and other manufacturers have really upped the ante in the sybaritic comfort department. For example, this X322 RC has wraparound seating both fore and aft, and I don’t mean the skimpy padding kind. This seating has heavy vinyl, thick padding and ergonomically designed backrests. Built-in leaning pads face aft for watching tow sports, while identical backrests forward let you watch the sunset while reclining at anchor. And, of course, every seat hides copious roto-molded bin storage, plus more for skis and other water toys in the centerline tube floor. A pop-up head/changing room hides under a starboard seat.
I found the transom deck particularly nice. So many pontoon boats give this area short shrift. The X322 RC has a large bracket deck that is clear for the full width. But most importantly, the newly designed swim ladder with four steps for deeper access has a less vertical angle and is deployable from the water, making egress much easier for the tired, old and large among us.
The all-important helm station has received loads of attention, as well. From the overstuffed, swiveling captain’s chair with standard armrests and optional ability to recline (with a mirror image seat opposite) to the wraparound dash and the tilt steering wheel with Sea Star hydraulic power-assist, this helm offers comfort for hours of non-stop driving. Our test boat on Lake of the Ozarks also boasted an hour meter, tach, trim and fuel gauges, Garmin Echo 200 sounder (standard) and two 12-volt outlets to charge your phone or power your spotlight.
You’ll surely want to keep your phone charging, since a Sony Bluetooth digital media center represents another standard feature. It has a control head in the helm console, another on the transom (so you can change tunes while swimming) as well as a remote control. Add the USB port and MPs jacks, and you’ll never want for entertainment. Another entertainment design element, an oversized cockpit table with integral drink holders, fits into a receiver in both the bow and the stern.
Lest you think that pontoon growth in the saltwater market is wishful thinking, I recently witnessed a 'toon fishing a reef on a calm day, fully 25 miles offshore. And believe me, they were fishing in far greater comfort than I was on a center console!
Certainly, that is not something most people would choose to do, nor would anyone in dicey weather conditions, but I count more pontoons on the coastal waterways every year and industry statistics confirm that it is one of the fastest growing market segments. I even saw one used as a tender on the upper deck of a megayacht in Fort Lauderdale.
All those people can’t be wrong. Pontoons are here to stay, and don’t worry, now you can own one and look sophisticated. www.suncatcherpontoons.com
G3 SunCatcher X322 RC
Length Overall: 22 feet, 6 inches
Beam: 8 feet, 6 inches
Dry Weight: 2,680 pounds
Fuel Capacity: 38 gallons
Max. Power: 225 horsepower
Base Price: TBD