Family Transportation

 

Hot Boat

October 1996

By: Bob Brown

Back in our January í96 issue, we carefully scrutinized Commanderís 2300 LX family bowrider as part of our annual Performance Evaluations program. That particular model enjoyed the muscle of one of MerCruiserís new 7.4LX MPI (330 pshp) engine/Bravo One packages. And after digesting the comments and performance data collection by our talented test team, the 2300 LX earned and enthusiastic two-thumbs-up review.


Now itís time, however to reassess this roomy family bowrider and draw a few comparisons between conventional sterndrive power and the reemerging interest in jets. Twenty years ago, jets in big bowriders and medium-sized day cruisers were all the rage. Then came concerns about fuel efficiency, and jets took the rap for being an all-too-frequent visitors at the gas pumps. Jets and 20-footers all but disappeared from the recreational boating scene.


But that was then, and this is now. Jets are making a comeback, starting small (14 to 16-footer) and slowly reappearing in some of the larger full-sized family models, like Commanderís 2300 LX. And the match is a good one; it is a super luxurious, well-styled spacious bowrider with the inherent safety, simplicity and maneuverability that only a jet pump can offer.


Put aside any thoughts that Commanderís 2300 LX is stretching to make its 23-foot claim; itís not. The centerline measurement is a full 23 feet. It also has a wide-body 97-inch beam, which tells you that this is truly a generously proportioned boat. Both cockpit and forward bowrider sections are enormous. So is the gunnel, in-floor and underseat, storage compartment areas. No reason here to leave anything lying out in plain sight; thereís ample room to tow even large items like slalom water skis and wakeboards. And when it comes to passenger capacity, the 2300 LX acts like an on-the-water Suburban.


One of the most important features of the 2300 LX is its 18-dgree deadrise bottomóplenty of vee to ride rough water and deliver a smooth, dry, stable ride. When originally tested with the MerCruiser 7.4 LX MPI package, acceleration from zero to 30 mph was not especially lively, taking a little over eight seconds. By comparison, the jet (a454-c.i. Marine Power engine, Premium Sport Package 390 hp with a Dominator Jet Drive) got to 30 mph in just under six seconds. It wasnít until the 2300 LX hit 50 mph that the stern drive really took over, topping out at a cheek-tugging 65 mph on radar. Sorry, the jet didnít fare nearly as well here, squeezing out a full throttle effort of approximately 50 mph at a very conservative 4,300 rpm.


What is impressive about the jet package is the overall responsive feel and outstanding maneuverability. Commanderís 2300 LX bottom is very well adapted to a jet, keeping the intake well loaded, both on the straight-aways and in tight turns. Kist a quick flick of the steering wheel and a little extra jab of throttle makes the 2300 LX come around in a hurry. A fun boat to drive, although, some will undoubtedly crave larger top-end numbers. If thatís the case, get the stern-drive package because reaching 60 mph wonít be any problem.


What you canít deny is Commanderís ever improving gelcoat graphics and overall quality. They rival the very best custom builders in the marketplace with a price tag thatís always extremely competitive. Hand lamination techniques are first rate, gelcoat precision is flawless and the vinyl upholstery and interior carpet are class act. Youíve also got to like such standard features as a Sony stereo system, stainless-steel bowrails, a handsome set of anodized gauge bezels, twin built-in ice chests and an electric engine hatch lift. All the good stuff that a custom boat should have but, in a price range that brings it into the realm of possibility for most quality-minded performance boaters. The Commander 2300 LX is family transportation at its best.

 

 

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