Boat Buyer's Guide 2014
Author: Alan Jones
Just because you want a pontoon doesn’t mean you need to renounce your need for speed and diminish your lake-cred. Not with PlayCraft’s Powertoon Xtreme 2700 prowling the waters. For model year 2014, we saw a new color scheme. It still displays the in-your-face attitude with finish-line checkerboards and sim-flames, but instead of mixing yellow and orange together on our test boat’s interior, it was PlayCraft’s signature orange paired with a less out-there taupe, which look great together. PlayCraft really sets itself apart from the pontoon herd with U-shaped 24-inch Mega Toon tubes and rails that are powder-coated white. Not only does it look edgy, but it also offers greater protection in salt water.
In case you were wondering if the racy outer habiliments are just for show, consider Ken Gouty’s Xtreme 2700, Little Putt Putt, which he drove to a top speed of 104 mph at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in 2011. Of course, he had slightly more power than our test boat, which features a 430 hp MerCruiser 496 MAG HO sterndrive. Gouty had 920 more horsepower thanks to his twin Whipple superchargers and 540-cubic-inch Dart block that cranked out a startling 1,350 hp. But perhaps the most impressive part of Gouty’s feat is that his PlayCraft pontoon was completely stock, so chances are pretty good your Triple-Toon Xtreme can handle anything you can dish out. Our test boat was plenty sporty, with a time to plane of 3.5 seconds with minimal bowrise and a time to 30 mph of 7.5 seconds. Table Rock Lake near Branson, Mo., was calm the day we tested the 2700 and probably cost us a few miles per hour on the top end, since a bit of chop reduces wetted surface. Unlike Carolyn Doris, wife of PlayCraft owner Jim Doris, who drove this very boat to a class win at the latest Shootout with a 60-plus mph run, we could only squeeze out 57.8 mph.
While the Xtreme 2700 is fun ripping over the lake, it’s equally adept at rest. One of its signature features is the patented Swim Step, which are wide steps built into the starboard-side tube in addition to a boarding ladder that makes it easy for swimmers and skiers to reboard. There’s plenty of seating for 15 passengers with an L-Lounge and twin bowrider lounges up front.