Boat Buyer's Guide 2014
Author: Alan Jones
To get an idea of what Harris FloteBote is all about, check out a decked-out Cruiser 200 — you’ll get a chuckle at what they term an “entry-level” pontoon. Because in term of luxury and performance, the boat we tested felt too far up the food chain to have that plebian moniker. For 2014, the Cruiser line has undergone a makeover, with all-new furniture that features pillowtop couches that absorb you rather than merely support you. The fencing has gotten fancier, with artfully scribbled graphics and more exterior rails that gracefully swoop down at the stern.
Our test boat features a new floor plan that has twin rearward-facing chaise lounges with a centerline walkthrough. The lounges feature a generous amount of recline with plenty of stretching-out room. Our pontoon has the optional faux mahogany deck that’s classy looking, easy to clean and is cool to bare feet on a sunny day. It’s up to you if you want to tell passengers what you paid for your Cruiser 200, depending on whether you want to look like a savvy shopper or an oil baron.
Powering our test boat is the Mercury Verado 150, which is the max for this model. That also gives you Mercury’s DTS drive-by-wire shift and throttle that will spoil you with its smooth operation. When you opt for a 150 hp engine, you are required to get the Performance Package, which gives you three 25-inch tubes, partial underskin, lifting strakes and hydraulic steering. Add the optional ski tow bar, and you are literally ready for any watersport. It got on plane quickly in 2.3 seconds, thanks to a kick in the seat of the pants from the Verado’s supercharger. Thirty mph was achieved in 5.8 seconds, and the Cruiser 200 reached a top speed of 48.2 mph.
In keeping with the theme of blowing up the entry-level barrier, our test boat features the Ultra Lux high-backed helm seat. And for fast forwarding the party vibe, it has the upgraded Polk Audio stereo complete with separate tweeters for a crisp high end and a subwoofer for added depth. There’s a pop-up changing room hidden within the back side of the port-side rear recliner, and this floor plan has a third chaise lounge in front of the compact helm console. This year there’s a new extra-large black cockpit table that has cutouts for wine glasses.