If it’s space and overnighting capabilities you’re after then you’ll have to take a closer look at this sleek-looking sportboat. The 263 offers something special for both the new and veteran boater looking to own a unique ride on the water.
Double helm seat
Large V-berth for overnighting
Removable table with filler cushion
Galley unit in cabin
10-year hull warranty
5-year powertrain warranty
Cobalt 263 Specifications
3' 3'' (max)
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.
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin was a beautiful setting for testing Cobalt’s newest line of pleasure craft. Temperatures were Florida like but lacked the humidity. Don’t get me wrong, it was still pretty hot and we did sweat a lot, but it was a nice place to work.
Cobalt builds their boats at the meeting of the rivers in Neodesha (Nee-oh-de-shay), Kansas. The Osage named the area because it was were the waters met. Well, there must be something special in the water there because they do build a great boat and have one of the best attitudes I have experienced in a long time. They claim they are customer oriented, which I have heard many times before, but they proved they were serious. Bret Chilcott, Director of Marketing, was constantly making sure we had everything we needed and keeping us supplied with cold water. As a customer, I am sure you will be treated royally.
The 263 is an example of how they build a boat that meets the needs of entertainment space and overnight needs in less than 27 feet. It felt much larger, yet was nimble handling. She is a yacht certified cuddy cabin that is built solid enough to serve you for many years to come.
I got in a day early and got the chance to run this one two days in a row, in two very different conditions. The first day was full of heavy wake from what seemed like over a thousand boats trying to get in one more dance before the summer got away. It also was a day of limited speed that kept me from seeing how she was at top end. The second day we were unlimited and with nearly calm seas. In rough lake waters she handled pretty good and gave a good dry ride. She turns fast enough to give a skier a fine time or a tuber a thrill ride. When we checked her out at top end, she was very nimble and turned quickly with little hesitation or cavitation.
She has so many features that it is not practical to list them all here, but I did enjoy walking through this boat. The stern is roomy with a nice concealed swim ladder, optional transom shower, optional transom tilt switch and removable ski pylon. There is even a wet locker that can double as a swim platform cooler. The cockpit is beautiful with wood accents on the dash, wide helm bench and European instruments. A remote for the stereo is right at hand as well as the stainless paddle switches that are all circuit breaker protected. Seats were all comfortable, but I could use more padding (or maybe less on me). The cockpit has room to entertain your friends in comfort. You will find plenty of space for storage throughout the boat. In the galley is a porta-potti, small galley, hanging locker and room to stretch out for a snooze or to let the kids play out of the sun. There are plenty more features throughout this sweet ride, so be sure and check out the video when you have three minutes.
The 263 is a comfortable cuddy cabin cruiser at 26’ 8” in length and a true trailerable beam of 8’6”. She weighs 4,700 lbs with a 22-degree deadrise and a draft of 39 inches with the drive down, or 22” with the drive up. She carries 70 gallons of fuel in her tank and can carry 10 gallons of fresh water. Her engine package is a full page of options from Mercury and Volvo including Mercury’s 500 EFI and Volvo’s 8.1GXi. As you can see, you can make her a beefy boat capable of holding her water with the big bad boys out there.
She starts out pretty quiet with only 79 dBa for sound levels and got up to 99 dBa at top end. We managed to top out around 4,500 rpms which delivered 51.8 mph. At top end you can expect to be burning 45 gph or get about 116 miles between tanks. She really seemed to be happy cruising at about 2500 rpms. Cruise sound levels were 90 dBa, a bit louder than I would have liked at cruise speed, but her fuel burn was only 8 gph. She could happily cruise 190 miles between fill ups at this speed. She hops up to plane in only 4.2 seconds and was passing 30 mph in just 7.2 seconds.
The 263 packs a lot of space for fun and the power to deliver it within her 26’8”. She makes a great family boat for a long day on the water or even quick overnight. There is certainly more than you would usually expect on a trailerable cuddy cabin, but Cobalt seems to always give you more than you expect of everything.
By Capt. Bob Smith
Cobalt 263 Test Result Highlights
Top speed for the Cobalt 263 is 51.8 mph (83.4 kph), burning 28.00 gallons per hour (gph) or 105.98 liters per hour (lph).
Best cruise for the Cobalt 263 is 24.1 mph (38.8 kph), and the boat gets 3.01 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.28 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 190 miles (305.78 kilometers).
Tested power is 1 x 375-hp MerCruiser 496 MAG.
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels go to our Test Results section.
Standard and Optional Equipment
Cobalt 263 Standard and Optional Equipment
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc
= Standard = Optional
Cobalt 263 Warranty
Cobalt 263 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.