The mission of the Mako 234 is to provide offshore anglers with a capable platform to take them out safely and bring them back, even in snotty conditions. Otherwise her layout, amenities and equipment have been refined over the last 40 years or so to provide virtually everything that serious anglers need. She is not a dual-purpose, ski-and-fish, do-everything boat. She's a workboat. Finally, the Mako 234 CC has been priced to be competitive with the numerous price-point center console brands that are now on the market, but at the same time provide many more important features as standard equipment.
With the majority of the center consoles being sold today in the low price-point category -- a place where Mako has lived since being bought by Tracker Marine Group many years ago -- it is important to point out the differences between the 234 CC and many of her competitors. The items listed below are often not found on price-point boats in this size range--
Many of these features are standard on many price-point boats, but among the ones that are be sure to note capacities and sizes.
The Mako 234 CC has a LOA of 23’4” (7.11 m), a beam of 8’6” (2.59 m) and a hull draft of 18” (55 cm). With an empty weight of 4,100 lbs. (1,859 kg), 88 gallons (333.1 L) of fuel, two people and test power we had an estimated test weight of 6,387 lbs (2,739 kg). With a pair of 150 Mercury 4-strokes turning 17-pitch propellers, we reached a top speed of 46.6 mph at 5900 rpm. At that speed we were burning a combined 28 gph giving us a range of 209 statute miles. Best cruise came in at 3000 rpm and 23.6 mph. That speed reduced the fuel burn to only 7.7 gph which translated to a range of 385 statute miles and an endurance of 16 hours and 24 minutes while still holding back a 10% reserve. That flat running surface at the keel did it’s trick as we had a time to plane of 2.7 seconds, reached 20 mph in 4.8 seconds, and continued accelerating through 30 mph in 7.2 seconds. Click on the tab at the top of this page that says "Test Results" for access to the complete performance table, charts and data.
The 234 CC is such a good handling boat and fun to drive. She’s also one of the most responsive boats I’ve ever driven. She comes up 18-degrees upon acceleration and that will block the view past the bow, at least for me, so the proper technique is to throttle up all the way and after she comes up on plane, which is under 3 seconds remember, then pull the throttles back to cruise.
Just a little bit of trim will get the spray back to the stern as she gets into her optimum running angle of 5-degrees bow high. I only needed the trim tabs to correct for an uneven distribution of weight thanks to the chunky cameraman, but certainly not to correct any performance deficiencies. There’s just a clean slice through the waves as we crossed back and forth across the wake and she remained perfectly dry with hardly any spray coming off the wide flared bows.
She turns like she’s on rails, and with me pushing her performance envelope, I found that she will easily out-turn everyone on board, so go easy on the cranking and banking. Full power turns will have her bleeding off speed to the point that she’ll spin out, but normal operations show her maintaining her speed quite well. She leans 21-degrees into the turns and that helps keep the turn comfortable as she clings to the water. And the props showed no signs of ventilating, even while maneuvering with both engines remaining in the trimmed position. When taking power off she settles back into the water stern first and the bow comes up again.
Since the Mako 234 CC is clearly a fishing machine, and one designed to be fished hard, let’s start by taking a look at some of her fishing features. She has port and starboard aft bolsters. Rods store in the usual places… under gunwales and in four rod holders in the caprails. More rod storage is available in the T-top rocket launchers and in rod holders at the bait station. The day's catch can be stored in either two in-deck storage compartments that are self draining and include diaphragm pumps, plus the 86 quart (81.39 L) storage under the bow seats if the fish are really coming over the rail.
The best of fishing boats is only doing half its job if it’s uncomfortable to be in and on. Crew needs somewhere to sit, the console needs to be ergonomic if we’re to spend hours getting out to the fishing grounds, and we have to be able to take a break and just sit while the lines are out on a drift.
Creature comforts may not make a big difference in and of themselves, but when put together as a collective, they can really make the difference between a good boat and a great boat.
How does she feel, is she functional or just pretty? These are the questions that are important beyond how well the boat is built and how well she looks. It’s about the functionality.
Engine Options and Pricing
Enter Mercury Marine.
Once a decision has been made on brand, the next biggest dilemma is which brand and how much horsepower to strap on the transom. Mako's parent company -- Tracker Marine Group -- builds more boats by unit count than any other boat builder in the world. Every outboard engine maker would give their first born for some business here, but Mercury Marine has virtually 100% of Tracker Marine Group's business.
While most of Tracker Marine Group's sales are freshwater boats, an increasing number are saltwater. We think it is noteworthy that Tracker Marine Group equips its Mako boats with Mercury, rather than going to another brand for this somewhat specialized application. To us that means that both Mako and Tracker Marine Group management feel that Mercury outboards are as saltwater-ready, as reliable, and as efficient as any other brand on the market.
6 Outboard Options.
The Mako 234 CC may be powered by single engines ranging from a single 225-hp Verado ($60,995) to twin 150-hp 150 XL Verados ($70,995) -- plus freight and dealer prep. The standard outboard package offered is the Mercury 250-hp OptiMax XXL for $58,995 -- plus dealer prep and freight. The engine package we tested is none of the above, but rather the twin Mercury 4-stroke 150-hp XL outboards, with a MSRP of $65,995, plus dealer prep and freight.
Which to Choose?
There are lots to choose from here -- 2-stroke, 4-stroke, and supercharged 4-stroke (the Verados). Discounting the 225 Verado, there is only a 50-hp difference among the other packages. All things being equal, using a rule of thumb of 7.5 horsepower for every mph of increased top speed, that means the 50-hp extra in the larger packages is worth about 6.7 mph at WOT.
A Weighty Matter.
But things aren't equal, and rarely are in boating. The twin 150-hp Verados weigh 523 lbs. (237 kgs.) more than the single 250-hp OptiMax 2-stroke outboard, which is the lightest engine package available. But, compared to the single 300-hp Verado, it is only 138 lbs. (62.7 kgs.) lighter.
The twin 150-hp 4-stroke Mercury motors we tested on the 234 CC weighed a total of 413 lbs. (187.7 kgs.) more than the standard 250 OptiMax power package. We have not tested the 234 CC with the 250 OptiMax, so can make no guess about which one might be faster -- does 50 more horsepower overcome 423 lbs. extra? However, we do think that the fastest WOT option is probably the single 300 Verado, particularly in hot weather.
Our Test Engines.
As far as best fuel consumption at mid-range cruising speeds go, again we do not have empirical testing data to back up a suggestion, but we think that the 3 mpg that the twin 4-stroke 150s got in our test will be tough to beat, particularly when the fact that there is redundancy is thrown into the decision-making stew. In any case, the standard 250 OptiMax XXL outboard package is clearly a good one with both weight and price going for it, if nothing else.
Mako Assurance Warranty Program
Mako says its warranty includes--
It’s a pleasure to see a well thought-out boat, especially when it’s a boat that is intended to be worked hard. Mako’s 234 CC has what we think are the right ingredients to satisfy the needs of even the pickiest offshore anglers. Mako has also priced her competitively, but that’s always been one of the company’s strong suits. Add to that the remarkable choice of engine options that Mako provides, we think that the Mako 234 CC is a compelling benchmark no matter how much one is prepared to spend on a 23' (7 m) center console.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Mako 234 CC (2014-) is 46.6 mph (75 kph), burning 28.00 gallons per hour (gph) or 105.98 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Mako 234 CC (2014-) is 23.6 mph (38 kph), and the boat gets 3.06 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.3 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 374 miles (601.89 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 150-hp Mercury FourStroke.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|