If you haven’t shopped an aluminum boat in a while you may be shocked to see how much they have improved in recent years. A great example is the Crestliner 1850 Sportfish, which upon first viewing, looks like a fiberglass boat with its smooth hull.
But there is more to this boat than first meets the eye.
The Crestliner 1850 Sportfish reflects the growing trend of multi-use boats, that is, a boat designed both to be a great fishing platform, and a family fun boat for wake boarding and skiing. The Crestliner 1850 fits both bills with a remarkable number of features plus the rugged durability and smooth ride you get in an all-aluminum boat.
The smooth surface of the hull is the result of special extruded-aluminum manufacturing process that eliminates the rivets aluminum boats have long been associated with. The all-aluminum hull is fully welded and has no rivets. What this means is that you get a hull that is super strong and durable, with none of the flexing you might see in other aluminum hull boats.
Crestliner is so confident of their hulls that they offer a lifetime warranty on the welds of the hull and a full three year warranty for everything else.
Good Use of Space
This roomy 18.2-foot boat first impresses with the amount of open deck space and walkaround room available throughout. A large fishing platform fore and aft, plus a roomy cabin provide the space to fish or ski. Standard equipment is extensive. Such things as an aerated livewell, a large rod locker, full instrumentation, tilting steering wheel, and a CD radio are just a few of the things you get.
On board storage is plentiful including specialized storage for rods, and large lockable bins for gear. t what is truly impressive is the way Crestliner has made this boat a real convertible.
The bow and optional stern seating areas can be folded over to create much larger and flat fishing platforms with all the room a serious angler would need. These conversions, which Crestliner has patented, take only a couple of seconds to perform and do not require removing cushions or seats. The great part is that when seating for your family is a premium concern, you have what you need. But when fishing is called for, you have the open and flat deck space that usually only a dedicated fishing boat offers.
If there is a downside to the conversion process it is that the rear platform is large and a bit heavy. There is no hydraulic assist to make folding the platform less strenuous.
Abound with Storage
For storage needs, the Crestliner 1850 Sportfish doesn’t disappoint. It is likely you may forget some items in the numerous storage compartments found from bow to stern. Practically every space onboard has been utilized and well thought out.
We also like the numerous hand holds installed throughout the cabin for passengers. Combined with the deep 27-inch freeboard, young kids will feel safe at high speeds.
Adults will like all the room to get around. All the main cabin seats are on pedestals and are removable for use at the bow and stern fishing platforms.
Comfort While Driving
The seats deserve special mention the company spent over a million dollars in research and development money on those seats to make them durable and comfortable.
The seats even have their own name, Concept DX, and they are designed to channel water away from the seat to help keep them dry from water spray and rain. I found them well padded and the back rest provides plenty of support, much better than the flat-style seats on other boats. There is also no wood used in the seat, so they will provide years of use.
Performance and Ride
Over the water the Crestliner 1850 offers a remarkably smooth and predictable ride. It is also very quiet with very little of the slapping noises you hear from the hull hitting the waves.
The helm answers easily and the 1850 Sportfish is fun to drive. It also provides a modest wake at speed but wakeboarders won’t be disappointed.
What we really like is how the 1850 Sportfish cuts through waves and wakes that would jar many other boats. For a boat that feels light on its feet, the performance is more like a heavy boat in cutting the waves. It is clear the Crestliner’s engineers have been hard at work on hull design and your passengers will appreciate not being bounced around in rough water.
Part of the quiet performance mentioned earlier is due to a special coating on the backsides of storage bins and more called “Crest-Liner” by the company. This coating, which is much like the spray-on material on pickup truck beds, reduces the noise from vibrations and practically eliminates corrosion on the coated panels. The coating is used liberally all over cabin and behind storage compartment doors and we can say that is does work for reducing sound vibrations.
Out test boat was powered by a Mercury 150 horsepower Direct Injection outboard. Performance with this power was more than adequate with a top speed of 48.3 mph. This is good speed out of a 150 and no doubt due to the hull design and light weight.
With so many innovative features that don’t compromise a wide variety of uses, the Crestliner 1850 offers value, rugged durability and performance that would make this boat one to own.
Crestliner Sportfish 1850 OB Test Result Highlights
Top speed for the Crestliner Sportfish 1850 OB is 44.2 mph (71.1 kph), burning 14.8 gallons per hour (gph) or 56.02 liters per hour (lph).
Best cruise for the Crestliner Sportfish 1850 OB is 27.4 mph (44.1 kph), and the boat gets 5.22 miles per gallon (mpg) or 2.22 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 183 miles (294.51 kilometers).
Tested power is 1 x 150-hp Mercury Optimax.
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels go to our Test Results section.
Standard and Optional Equipment
Crestliner Sportfish 1850 OB Standard and Optional Equipment
EZ-Loader outlet as well
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc
= Standard = Optional
Crestliner Sportfish 1850 OB Warranty
Crestliner Sportfish 1850 OB 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.
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