For 2017, Rinker has upgraded practically its entire line of boats to reflect a more upscale posture, and no other boat shows off the new styling scheme better than the QX 29, a big new bowrider with a long list of standard features. Perhaps the most noticeable change is the exterior, which eschews stick-on graphics — they often peel after a few years — in favor of a clean, gelcoat-only look. At the stern, the swim platform sits low to the water for easy entry and extraction, and a pair of integrated rumble seats are perfect for booting up for a ski run or hanging out when the key is off. Underneath the seat bottoms are two cavernous wet lockers. A centerline walkthrough makes it easy to enter the cockpit, and under the portside sunpad sectional is a flip-over filler cushion that helps create a really wide platform for catching rays.
The beam is 9 feet, 1 inch, which gives the boat extra room throughout, so the starboard-side entertainment center doesn’t dominate the passenger space. It features a Corian countertop with an integrated fiddle to keep things from sliding off and, like all Rinkers, it has a trash can. There’s a sink with a spigot, and below is storage and a carry-on Igloo cooler. A refrigerator and shore power are optional ($1,921). Rare standard features include a Raymarine A65 GPS/chartplotter and Lenco trim tabs. Rinker is using new fabric for its upholstery this year; it has a cloth-like look on the darker panels to keep them cooler. The deck is clad in standard snap-in Chilliwich Bamboo. To port is a second captain’s chair, and in front of that is a roomy head compartment that has a standard portable toilet. Our test boat had the optional folding Sport Arch ($8,221), which comes with an upgrade to a Kicker sound system and coffee-can speakers that are mounted high to avoid head clunking.
Pressing a button on our test boat electronically raised the engine hatch to reveal a 350 hp MerCruiser 6.2L sterndrive that had the twin-prop Bravo 3 outdrive, which provided sporty performance. The QX 29 launched well and was on plane in 3.6 seconds without the tabs engaged. Time to 30 mph was 6.8 seconds, and it hit a top speed of 44.8 mph. For skiing, add Star Gazer Perfect Pass speed control for $1,700. Volvo Penta power is available.