Sterndrives Play Well with Pods
Pod drives have given many boatbuilders fits, since adapting a conventional inboard-powered hull for them is problematic: The engines sit way aft, which shifts the center of gravity in a hull designed for conventional power. But today most everybody wants pods, so builders are forced to modify their designs to make them work, frequently widening the beam aft to better support the engines. No problem with the 37 Cruiser, though: She was created for sterndrive power, so switching to pods doesn't move the engines much– it just means installing them a little differently.
Cookin' With Gas
BoatTEST.com's captains have tested the 37 Cruiser several times over the past nine years, with gas sterndrives and diesel pods, so we have hands-on proof that the boat performs just fine with either power. With twin 375-hp Volvo Penta 8.1Gi Duoprops, our skipper discovered a top speed of 44.6 mph (71.8 kph), best cruise of 30.5 mph (49.1 kph) with a range at that speed of 190 mi. (306 km). These engines are still offered, but today they are catalyzed to meet emissions rules, and have electronic controls; base price is $486,610. Twin 380-hp MerCruiser 8.2 MAG EC Bravo 3s ($479,080) are in the same power range, and should produce similar performance.
We also tested the boat with a pair of 425-hp MerCruiser 496 Bravo 3s with Axius controls; today that engine has been replaced by the 430-hp 8.2 MAG High Output EC Bravo 3 ($495,510, plus $19,795 for Axius). The new engines have digital throttles and shifts, and catalytic converters. We think the performance should be roughly the same. Our captain measured a top speed of 46.9 mph (75.5 kph), best cruise of 30.7 mph (49.4 kph) and a cruising range of 190 mi. (306 km), same as the smaller engines.
Diesel Pods Have Long Range
And now we come to pods. In 2007, when pods were newfangled gizmos that many folks thought would never last, Formula offered them as optional power aboard the 37 Cruiser – at that time, twin 300-hp Volvo Penta IPS400s. Our captain discovered the boat ran slower at top end than with the substantially more powerful gas sterndrive engines -- 37.9 mph (61 kph) -- but cruised only a tad slower, 28.6 mph (46 kph). However, range skyrocketed to 295 statute mi. (475 km). Welcome to the world of diesel, and pod, efficiency. Today the diesel pod option is twin 330-hp IPS450s ($579,840).
Formula also offers the 37 Cruiser with twin 370-hp Volvo Penta D6 Duoprops ($560,230) and twin 400-hp gas IPS550 pods ($520,900). We haven't tested the boat with either of these engines.
More Than Just Engines
The Formula 37 Cruiser is more than just engines: She's a well-found express cruiser that will sleep four in two cabins, plus two more if the dinette is converted. She has a complete galley with a two-burner electric stove, dual-voltage fridge, microwave oven and, most important for many of us, a Krups coffee maker. A 7.3-kW Kohler gas or 7.6-kW Kohler diesel genset is standard to power the appliances.
If you're shopping price first, don't bother your Formula dealer -- these boats live near the top of the price range, and with good reason: They are well-engineered, well-built, well-appointed and well-finished. They also come with a sterling reputation among folks who know boats, and none of the preceding comes cheap. On the other hand, Formula equips their boats, including the 37 Cruiser, exceptionally well for the "standard" price; many builders lure you in with a low MSRP, then clean you out on options. You can buy a Formula 37 Cruiser with no options, other than choosing your power, and have a perfectly fine boat.So our recommendation is this: If you have the budget, you won't go wrong shopping at your Formula dealer, and the 37 Cruiser is one of the company's best models. It's been around for almost a decade, has been fine-tuned and upgraded continually during its life and is an excellent example of an express cruiser. We say check it out, if only to find out what you're missing by not owning a Formula.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Optional|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
|10 Years Yes|
|5 Years Yes|
|2 Years Yes|
|5 Years Yes|
|ISO Certification NMMA Certification||Yes|
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