The Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX for 2012 has been redesigned and modified to improve its fishability and safety. This twin-toon has an 8'1" (2.46 cm) beam, weighs 1,375 lbs. dry, and has a max rated hp capacity of 75. We tested her with a Mercury 40-hp Big Foot 4-stroke.
Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX (2012-) Captain's Report
By Capt. Dan Armitage
The Bass Buggy is supported by twin pontoons that are 24 inches in diameter, which is pretty much standard.
The name of this boat describes its mission: a pontoon boat that has specialized features for bass or multi-species fishing. Because it has twin toons and an affordable price, she is intended for more sedate running, so this is not intended for high-speed towing. Sun Tracker has other boats for towing watersports.
Having said that, during our test of the 18 DLX powered by a 40-hp Mercury four-stroke, we had a WOT speed of 16.8 mph on average, burning 3.8 gph. So that means that you can tow a banana or some other water toys in a pinch, but if that is what you want to do, you should get more power, and maybe even consider a tri-toon.
At best cruise, which was at 3500 rpm, we averaged 7.4 mph, burning just 1.3 gph and got 5.34 mpg, for a range of 168 miles from the boat's 35 gallon fuel tank -- with a 10% reserve. This is the speed that most people will run the boat most of the time. At that speed you can motor around for 24 hours without refueling.
The new Sun Tracker’s deck is surrounded by metal "fence" panels that are corrugated for extra strength. We prefer to call them "bulkwarks."
Going for a more upscale look, the 2012 Bass Buggy features corrugated deck "fencing" coated in a high gloss black finish and fewer graphics than found on previous models. The deck features a new extruded aluminum edging and has full-width Z-bar supports and sport cleats at each corner.
The Bass Buggy’s extended motor pod frees up space on the deck, allowing maximum use of its 17’8” length.
The all-welded-aluminum motor pod is new for the Bass Buggy this year, and serves double-duty by securing the boat’s built-in fuel tank beneath the aft deck. The reservoir’s 35 gallon capacity is generous, and by containing the weight of the fuel centered and below deck level, its position helps keep the boat’s center of gravity low.
We like the Bass Buggy’s oversized boarding ladder with wide steps and large handrails.
At the stern to starboard of the motor pod is a heavy-duty boarding ladder that appears to be designed for a larger boat. The ladder has three rungs, unfolds to drop 38'' from the deck, and leads to a small boarding deck outside of the fencing.
The aft fishing station combines rod and cup holders with an aerated livewell/baitwell within easy reach of the rear fishing seat.
Anglers find two aerated livewells aboard the DLX, one on the fishing deck aft and another built into the front of the steering console. Both livewell stations offer rod holders.
We found that the throttle position at the helm of the DLX is positioned to allow the operator to sit or stand when running the 18 footer.
An optional fish package adds a Lowrance X-4 Pro fishfinder and a MotorGuide W55 Wireless Series 12V, 55-lb. thrust trolling motor with remote control. The bottom panel of the Bass Buggy’s bow gate is cut out to accommodate the head and shaft of a bow-mounted trolling motor when it is flipped up onto the deck between deployments. This feature allows the gate to remain in place and secured despite the presence of the optional secured motor.
An L-shaped couch with roto-molded base features deep padding and hides storage lockers.
The deck of the DLX is a hybrid, with 22-ounce marine carpeting underfoot in the cockpit and easy-to-clean, skid-free vinyl flooring on the fish platform aft. Accessories such as cargo netting on the underside of flip-up seat bases add utility to the storage capacity of this 18' boat.
A standard 7' Bimini top protects occupants from the elements overhead.
We appreciate the coverage of the Bimini top, as well as the options for stowing it while fishing, cruising or trailering: folded overhead and secured against the aft supports or dropped down to stow atop the stern railing. Note the amount of deck space to port of the helm in the bird's-eye photo. We like the way the contours of the re-designed helm console reflect those of the helm seat and the lounge seat base, giving the boat a stylish appearance.
There are three gates to allow passengers to gain entry to the Bass Buggy DLX, each fitted with dual-locking latches. The aft fishing seat is under the rolled up Bimini.
An overhead view shows just how much space is available to passengers – including elbow room for anglers – aboard this 18 footer. Check out the combo cup-holder/tackle racks on the bow and the vertical rod storage rack adjacent to starboard of the forward fishing seats. The aft angler has a deck to his or her own, complete with livewell and a rod holder.
On the trailer, the 18' Bass Buggy DLX is easy to tow, maneuver and stow back home. We’d like to see a folding tongue as an option to make the rig more family garage-friendly.
On the Road
The trailer for the Bass Buggy is custom built for the boat, with full length bunks supporting the pontoons and the trailer’s wheels underneath. The trailer structure offers direct support and a broad stance for stable towing. The three-step entry with handrail on the winch stand is a welcome standard feature, as are the EZ Lube hubs and the trailer’s powder-coat-over-galvanized “Galvashield” finish.
If you’ve got any of these, you’ll like one of these…
Most of us here at BoatTEST.com have children of our own and appreciate any attempts at addressing the needs of families – especially where boats are concerned. The stability and high bulwarks (aka "fences") inherent with most pontoon boat designs make them an excellent choice for anyone considering boating with youngsters. Just remember that pontoon boats are designed for use on protected waters.
With features such as pinch-free folding seats, dual-locking latches on the gates, a sturdy, deep-reaching boarding ladder, enough elbow room on deck and plenty of protection from the sun and rain overhead, the Bass Buggy DLX is about as family friendly -- and affordable -- a boat as we can find. Even without the optional fishing package, the boat can serve as a fine fishing platform for occasional angling.
At the end of the day, the 18' Sun Tracker rig is easy to load, trailer back home and store. You can match the boat to the outboard power and price point you wish to hit, and get the family on the water for what we feel is a very reasonable cost.
Our test boat was powered by a 40-hp Mercury ELPT four-stroke EFI Big Foot has an MSRP of $14,595.
Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX (2012-) Test Result Highlights
Top speed for the Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX (2012-) is 16.8 mph (27 kph), burning 3.8 gallons per hour (gph) or 14.38 liters per hour (lph).
Best cruise for the Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX (2012-) is 8.6 mph (13.8 kph), and the boat gets 5.34 miles per gallon (mpg) or 2.27 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 168 miles (270.37 kilometers).
Tested power is 1 x 40-hp Mercury EFI BigFoot.
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels go to our Test Results section.
Standard and Optional Equipment
Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX (2012-) Standard and Optional Equipment
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc
= Standard = Optional
Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX (2012-) Warranty
Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX (2012-) Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX (2012-) Price
Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX (2012-) Price
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.
Members must log in to view the test results section.