Formula 280 Sun Sport (2005 - ) (Not in Production) Captain's Report
Tested By Capt. Ron Svoboda
If you’ve outgrown your ear shattering performance ride, but just can’t see yourself tooling around in a ‘sleeps six, floating condo’. Then Formula has something for you. Capable but not aggressive, the 280 Sun Sport is a melding of comfort and speed, with a satisfying emphasis on the speed.
By cross-breeding the best of their performance line with one of their cruisers, Formula has produced one of the best built, multi-use fun machines on the market.
The cockpit of the 280 is where all the action is. Just aft of the helm station, a U-shaped settee provides comfortable seating for the whole crew. As you might expect the seating converts with a table for meals or sunset cocktails and can also be made into a super sun pad. Since no party platform would be complete without a well stocked wet bar.
The Sun Sport ensures a good time with a port side wet bar, supplying generous counter space, an alcohol stove for outdoor cooking, and a freshwater sink. The dual cabinets below the counter provide room for a refrigerator / freezer combo, as well as storage and access to battery switches and circuit breakers.
At the Controls
Like all the Formula control stations, the 280’s helm is top notch. From the twin command seating with flip-up bolsters, to the VDO gauges in the dash, she is thoroughly complimented with a pair of silky smooth, Quicksilver shifter and throttle levers. The helm console also includes molded steps for foredeck access.
When it comes to overnight accommodations, the cabin is small but proud. The interior features all the luxuries a couple or small family will need on weekend adventures. Flanking the companion way is a full head and shower compartment to starboard, across from a micro galley to port.
The galley offers a microwave oven, some storage space and even less counter space, but is beautifully trimmed in cherry wood cabinetry.
Interior seating is designed around a large V-shaped lounge. The convertible space has a roomy dining format with a cherry wood table that can be quickly made into a small berth with the added cushions. Although I found the double berth inviting, it was much too short for someone of my stature, over 6 feet tall, to be used often.
Specs and Performance
From the dock, the sleek profile of the Sun Sport is 29 feet, 6 inches long with a wave slicing beam of 9 feet 2 inches. The offshore capable cruiser tips the scales at 7,300 pounds and guarantees 120 gallons of fuel capacity. Powered by MerCruiser or Volvo Penta power plants, the 280 can be ordered with single or twin engines. Our test package delivered excellent performance in both acceleration and in handling. The bill at the gas pump wasn’t too bad either with almost 1.9 miles to the gallon from the twin small block motors.
There is no doubt that the folks at Formula build a premium product and make great strides in providing real performance to the consumer. The 280 SS is a perfect example of how much room a 30-foot boat can offer, top that off with excellent performance, and you have yourself a nice cruising package.
Formula 280 Sun Sport (2005 - ) (Not in Production) Test Result Highlights
Top speed for the Formula 280 Sun Sport (2005 - ) (Not in Production) is 50.3 mph (81 kph), burning 39.9 gallons per hour (gph) or 151.02 liters per hour (lph).
Best cruise for the Formula 280 Sun Sport (2005 - ) (Not in Production) is 27.6 mph (44.4 kph), and the boat gets 1.88 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.8 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 203 miles (326.7 kilometers).
Tested power is 2 x 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG Horizons Sterndrives.
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels go to our Test Results section.
Formula 280 Sun Sport (2005 - ) (Not in Production) Warranty
Formula 280 Sun Sport (2005 - ) (Not in Production) 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.