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Princecraft Vogue 25 XT - 2014

Published By: Jonathan Lee

By Craig Ritchie

One of the most enduring trends in boating over the past 10 years has been the steady growth in popularity of large, powerful and luxurious pontoon boats. With their plush interior appointments, ample power and full complement of amenities including change rooms and toilets, these game-changing craft succeeded in raising the image of the pontoon boat from a mere “party barge” to a legitimate alternative to a pocket cruiser. Add that the pontoon offers seating for a dozen passengers or more and it is easy to understand why they have grown so popular with Canadian boaters.

As a leading pontoon manufacturer, Princeville, Quebec-based Princecraft Boats has been in the forefront of this change. The company’s new Vogue series, represents what can only be described as a significant step forward in pontoon design.

Our review boat, a Vogue 25 XT, stretched a full 25 feet, 11 inches in overall length and accommodating outboards up to a staggering 300 horsepower. No question – it’s a sharp looking boat, highlighted by what Princecraft calls its new Advanced Premium Styling (APS) concept. Pontoons traditionally have the side body panels secured on the inside of the fencing, or sometimes on the outside to provide a cleaner look. Princecraft has taken this a full step forward with APS by enclosing the fencing both inside and out, giving the Vogue a neat, smooth and more finished look that truly suits a high-end boat.

That look if further complemented by a stylish, molded fibreglass front deck hood that’s been borrowed from the company’s top-of-the-line SVX series. Molded-in LED docking lights are a nice touch, as are the quartet of pop-up cleats that provide a secure place to tie-off without fear of stubbing toes.

The Vogue 25 XT follows the proven front-lounge/helm/rear-lounge layout that allows for no less than three distinct seating areas. Up front, an aluminum seat base between the twin front seats accommodates a removable, pedestal-mount table.

Entry is via one of three gates – one located amidships on the port side, plus one each along the centerline from the bow and rear decks. Most often, that bow gate will sit behind a removable seat that fits between the twin front loungers to provide full wrap-around seating. However, the removable seat is just as likely to wind up across the transom, between its twin lounges there to provide a forward-facing wrap-around stern bench. Versatility is a big reason Canadians choose pontoons, and the 25 XT allows you to set up the interior seating any way you like.

Amidships, the Vogue 25 XT provides twin Captain’s chairs for the driver and navigator. This feature distinguishes the boat from the similar Vogue 25, which uses an expansive L-shaped portside lounge instead. I prefer the twin Captains chair setup though, and really like the versatility of the XT layout, which was first introduced on Princecraft’s 2012 Vantage series.

The Vogue series is built to last, using 5052-H36 marine-grade aluminum alloy for its pontoons and structural assemblies, supporting 2.5-inch heavy duty Z-shaped cross channels and pressure-treated decks covered with plush, marine-grade carpet. The full-length pontoon keels and skirting are extruded aluminum for strength and durability. Underwater lighting is available, and is a nice option.

The lounge seats sit on vented Rotocast bases that conceal cavernous, secure dry storage for all sorts of gear. The upholstery is supple and plush, with the tight stitching and firm, comfortable cushions so typical of Princecraft. Further storage can be found behind the flip-up seatbacks of the forward-facing bow loungers. Thick marine carpeting provides a comfy and secure deck surface throughout, while no less than seven stainless beverage holders (plus two more in the removable pedestal table) keep a cold drink always close at hand. The carpeting extends from the cockpit to cover the entire front deck, while the expansive rear swim platform uses a sensible faux teak finish. This boat is made for family fun – as evidenced by the rear deck’s sturdy, folding boarding ladder and stainless safety rail with a tow point, suggesting lots of time spent swimming, tubing, boarding or skiing. Since this area will spend a great deal of time getting wet, the non-slip faux teak is a sensible and stylish alternative to traditional carpet. A standard Bimini top covers pretty well the entire rear half of the boat, from about the helm console back to the transom. After all, at some point everyone will want a break from the sun.

The passenger Captain’s chair is surrounded by a pair of great features. Just behind it is a neatly designed rack that provides secure storage for the pedestal table top when it’s not in use. This is a nice touch – it’s easy enough to store the pedestal by simply tossing it under one of the bow seats, but this rack keeps the tabletop secure, where it won’t bounce around or become scratched.  Ahead of the passenger Captain’s chair, and slightly forward of the portside entry gate, flipping up a panel on the rear face of the front lounge seat reveals the Vogue 25 XT’s pop-up privacy area. Apart from providing a secure spot to change out of wet swimwear, this area also neatly houses a compact chemical toilet that slides out from under the console.

To starboard, the stylish, fibreglass helm console provides a sink with faucet and integral fresh water tank, as well as a pair of cup holders just ahead of the compact windscreen, and secure dry storage below through a locking door. The helm itself sits within a molded burl wood dash, with a sporty, wrapped steering wheel. All of the key gauges – tachometer, speedometer, voltmeter, trim and fuel – are well positioned and easy to read. Our review boat also included Mercury SmartCraft controls, available as an upgrade option. The driver’s reclining Captain's chair sits on a sliding, swiveling base for optimal comfort.

Astern of the helm, twin rear-facing lounges on the 25 XT provide a great spot to take in the watersports action, or just spread out and relax. Interior courtesy lights activated by touch (touch on, touch off) are a thoughtful feature, as is the 200 watt Clarion AM/FM/CD stereo with wireless remote control, USB port, MP3 and iPod inputs. It drives four 6.5-inch flush-mount speakers and sounds great, though true audiophiles can pump up the volume further by opting for an available stereo upgrade.

With an ability to handle big power, the majority of Vogue 25 XTs will likely be ordered from the factory with the optional Performance Package, which includes a third centre pontoon, under-deck spray shield, Sea Star hydraulic steering, a tilt wheel, lifting strakes, and a large built-in fuel system. The Performance Package’s third log also provides a pair of centerline in-floor storage lockers – one up front in the bow, and a second, larger locker for skis and big gear closer to amidships. A gas ram holds the door open so you can use both hands to load or remove gear. Where the base Vogue 25 XT is rated to handle outboards up to 175 horsepower, the Performance Package allows power options all the way up to a massive 300 horsepower Mercury Verado Pro.

The standard power for the 25 XT is a Mercury 40 horsepower four-stroke. It’s  ample power for boaters on smaller lakes and rivers, but it’s hard to resist the promise this ship can offer – especially with the optional Performance Package. Mercury’s popular Verado 225 offers an appealing combination of price and performance – spinning its standard 17-inch, three blade stainless prop, this proven engine will push the 2,461-pound Vogue 25 XT to over 45 mph at wide open throttle, and cruise economically all day long, at an easy 25 mph. It’s close to a perfect match.

Princecraft’s new Vogue 25 XT is a great example of why pontoon boat sales increased by more than 20 percent last year across Canada. Large enough to handle the whole family plus a couple of guests, yet fast enough to provide some thrills and priced to appeal to a majority of Canadian families, it checks a lot of boxes and represents great value.


Princecraft Vogue 25 XT

LOA:    25' 11"
Beam:    8' 6"
Dry Weight:     2,461 lbs.
Passenger Capacity: 12
Fuel Capacity:    121L/32 gal.
Power (max):        300 hp
Power (as reviewed): 225 hp
Retail Price (base): $35,665 (w/Mercury 40 four-stroke)
Retail Price     (as reviewed): $60,109 (w/Mercury 225 Verado)

 
Review Boat Provided by:
Princecraft Boats Inc.
725 Saint-Henri
Princeville, Quebec
G6L 5C2
(800) 395-8858
www.princecraft.com

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