Affordable choices to please
I had the chance to test Bennington’s 21 SLX model at the annual Yamaha Media Days at the beautiful Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville early last summer. The ‘toon was equipped with Yamaha’s new VF150 four stroke outboard and I couldn’t wait to get my turn behind the helm.
The layout was typical for an 8’ 6” wide pontoon with twin facing sofas up in the bow with a gate between them to the forward deck, an l-shaped sofa to port and aft, just behind the port side entry gate, a single helm chair to starboard and an access gate to the aft deck to starboard opposite the sunpad. The colour coordinated bimini was up and the Yamaha outboard was purring quietly. We were ready to go.
As I pulled away from the dock, the new VF 150 VMAX SHO outboard purred and once I got to open water it’s 2785cc displacement across four inline cylinders showed no hesita-tion in pushing this roughly 2500lb boat and motor up onto plane quickly and effortlessly. As I was putting the 21 SLX through my usual testing routine, my wife who was along for the day with me, remarked that it seemed quieter than other pontoons we’ve tested: no rattles, no shakes, no complaints as I pushed the hull through aggressive turns at various speeds.
We talked easily while underway. That’s no doubt thanks to the VF150’s engineering and the air intake labyrinth in the cowling, and yes I’ll admit that the tall sunpad at the stern certainly helps to separate the passengers from the engine better than a ‘toon with an open centreline layout. There’s a lot going on at a test day event, and I opted to spend my entire time slot on the water playing with the new engine and experiencing the smooth and quiet ride of the Bennington, choosing to get the specs and details from their website later.
As it turns out, that was a great choice. When I sat down to write up the test I had the chance to experience Bennington’s new website. The 21 SLX is one of many models in Bennington’s S series of fishing and cruising pontoons. These models offer the high quality construction and excellent design that peo-ple have come to expect from Bennington, yet they still provide a price point that the value conscious consumer – ones who don’t need all the bells and whistles – are looking for.
Bennington’s awesome new Design Centre launches when you select the ’Build and Price’ button from the S series overview page. I played around a little bit until I found the ‘long form’ button, then a host of options far too long to list appeared on my screen. Even on this entry level ‘toon, I found I could custom-ize the 21 SLX just the way I would want it to arrive at my dock.
You can choose from nine different colours for the panels; from black to white. There are carpet or vinyl deck options, three different colour choices for the upholstery, with an additional four accept colour options to coor-dinate of course with the three canvas colour choices. Click an option, and see it reflected in the photo of the model as you build your Bennington. Go ahead and add performance options, cup holders, and a ski tow bar. Then submit your wish list and Bennington will contact you to confirm before they start to build. It’s about as custom as it gets.
The 21 SLX is a great choice for anyone looking to get into an affordable pontoon with a reliable outboard that will serve them and their guests for years to come. And, with the long list of options available you can trick this ride out any way you want it.
LOA: 21’ 10” / 6.55
Pontoon Length: 20’ 4” / 6.1 m
Deck Length: 19’ 11”
Beam: 8.6” / 2.55 m
Pontoon Diameter: 25”
Max HP: 150
Fuel Capacity: 21.4 gals / 81 L
2805 Decio Dr., Elkhart, IN 46514
By Brad Roberts