Boat Test: 2005 Lowe Lowe Suncruiser Trinidad 200

Boat Tested2005 Lowe Lowe Suncruiser Trinidad 200
Price As TestedNot Available
Category Pontoon Boat
Manufacturer Lowe
Length16ft 6in / 5.03 m
Engine MakeMercury
The first word that Diana thought of as we walked up to the side of the Lowe pontoon boat was: evolution.We've been out of the pontoon loop for a while, our 'toon experience restricted to old beer- and bait-stained veterans.

From a distance, the Trinidad 200 looked like any previous pontoon, big cigar tube floats, large, flat, carpeted floor, alloy fence around the perimeter and a familiar interior layout - an assortment of bench-like seating opportunities including an "L" at the stern served by a kidneyshaped table and loungers on either side of the bow. Up close, the evolution becomes apparent, starting with the furniture. Handsomely cushioned and inviting in appearance, the seats are soft and the backs are supportive, arrayed at just the right height. Done up in taupe, grey and cream, the vinyl is obviously top-grade and carefully sewn. The bench in the starboard bow takes advantage of the back of the helm station to create both a forward- facing lounge position plus some spacious underseat storage. That helm station is a gleaming piece of the acrylic-moulder's art. It's a far cry from the wood-framed and vinyl-clad consoles of old.

And what appears to be an oversized motor box doing double duty as a tanning pad hides a further innovation. The top lifts to provide space for a pop-up privacy enclosure. A place to get in or out of that bathing suit.

Soft, textured, snagless, hoseable, UV-resistant carpeting is the topside's crowning touch. What a contrast to the scratchy, turf-like, "indoor/outdoor" we used to know.

Look closer and the evolution is apparent in the aluminum work.The "fence," built up with square-section anodized tubing, is both strong and graceful, punctuated by two wide side-gates plus one at the bow and at the stern. Moreover, the gunwale, if that is what we can call the rail that traverses the outside edge of the floor, is a wide, tough alloy extrusion that incorporates a bumper strip. Does its job, looks great.

Look up to inspect a top frame constructed from the same fulldimension square tube that forms the fencing. No longer a flimsy, rattly nuisance, the Bimini system sits solidly above you, fending off the rays.

Look further and realize that the wood in the seat backs and bases has been replaced by polyethylene. But our favourites were the rotocast storage liners. The wooden boxes that previously formed the combination seat base and cargo bin below the lounge benches are now made of composite - the politically correct word for plastic. In the case of a Lowe pontoon, it's thick, strong, well-finished, easy to clean plastic that will serve the life of the boat.

Look deeper and you'll discover that the only wood on the Trinidad is the seven layer IronClad plywood floor."IronClad" because it's pressure treated, rot-proof and carries a lifetime warranty. Plus, the seams are bonded to create a one-piece floor, for strength and to prevent the intrusion of water from below. Every fastener is stainless steel.

Once under way, the evolution of the pontoon's hull becomes apparent. The CAD-designed "nose cones" slice the water, Lowe's HydroWedge motor mount adds lift while reducing spray and keel strips running the full length of the tubes provide directional stability. The result is a pontoon that feels like a boat instead of a barge. Part of that can be attributed to the quiet contribution of Suzuki's 50 hp four-stroke. Combined with the efficient Suncruiser hull, the 50 manages a good turn of speed, without the din and stink associated with the old two-cycles.
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