Captain's ReportPontoon boats are evolving quickly, far beyond their traditional image. Both in form and function, things are changing quickly. Premier Marine has been in the business of building nothing but pontoon boats since 1992. Their lineup includes some of the most luxurious models on the market. Along with luxury, you’ll find innovative features up and down their line up. Right about in the middle of their fleet in size, is the 231 Alante. It has all the features your family needs for cruising and it’s got a really well equipped fishing area back aft. In addition, the unit that we tested featured what Premier calls the PTX option. It’s actually a 36-inch wide cross between a pontoon and a hull with a 12-inch flat surface, offering the performance of a V-hull with the comfort and stability of a pontoon. In addition, the PTX hull configuration allows for a towing post, so the kids can bring the skis, boards, and tubes along for the day. Design and FunctionExperience has taught the folks at Premier an awful lot about boat building and they build their boats to last. Details like solid aluminum keels and multi-chamber tubes maintain the boat’s strength and integrity. Transoms are reinforced to prevent racking by attaching them to several crossmembers. They heat-shrink all of the electrical connections to keep them dry, which is something that the big boys do. It’s an out-of-sight detail, yet it’s a valuable one. If you’re serious about customer satisfaction, those are the kinds of things you need to do.Another item that distinguishes Premier from the competition is in the seating. First, the individual units are rotocast, which means that they’re wood-free in construction. You’ll find an increasing number of mid-priced pontoon boats to be built this way. However, the hinges are what makes this product unique. They’re a welded aluminum device which functions better than anything I’ve seen so far. The seat top lifts and then tilts down, out of the way, so it stays open while you stow or retrieve your gear. Gone are the days of little jury-rigged hooks and lanyards that you find around so many boats. Stainless steel cleats, polished corner castings and flush-mounted docking lights are useful and attractive details which not only look good, but they’re functional and they add value. And the list of standard features doesn’t stop there. Things like courtesy lights, a bimini top and quality, marine grade carpeting add to both comfort and value. The 231 Alante construction features 16” crossmember spacing for strength. In the deck you’ll find a seven foot storage locker, big enough for skis and other water toys. Stainless steel cleats, polished corner castings and flush-mounted docking lights are some of the standard features you’ll find when you look around. Premier’s 231 Alante PTX is 21’ on deck and 22’4” overall. She’s 8’6” wide and carries 16 persons for a capacity of 3525 pounds. Tube diameter is 25 inches, and the 231 PTX version can safely handle an outboard of up to 225 horsepower. The Alante’s LayoutThe forward seating area features two curved sections with a chaise lounge to starboard. You can order an optional filler couch, and you’ve got luxurious wraparound seating. The stylish fiberglass console is fitted with a complement of standard instrumentation including a speedo, tach, voltage, horn, trim, and fuel gauges. A clever little drinkholder, on the forward side of the console, lifts to reveal a paper towel holder. Tilt steering and a Flexsteel 7-Star helm chair will pamper the skipper in luxurious comfort while underway. Storage is found underneath and for entertainment, a marine-grade Sony CD stereo is part of the package. Opposite the helm console is an access gate for docking alongside, and a L-shaped chaise lounge is just aft. It offers a removable table and underneath the headrest cushion is a place for a trash can. A little door allows you to place refuse in the can without lifting the seat. Storage is underneath, of course, and a changing room is included, for when you forget to put your swim trunks on at the dock. An eleven foot bimini provides plenty of shade and it comes with a trailering kit. Back on the aft deck you’ll find a well-designed area that’s all set up for fishing. Leave the family up forward while you and your favorite fishing pal can each enjoy the comfort of your own fishing chair, one on either side of a livewell. It features a handy beverage holder and a rod holder on each side. An additional rod rack for is located on the port railing, and a bifold door and swim ladder are found on the starboard side.Our TestOur 231 Alante was rigged with a 150 horsepower Mercury Verado outboard. Mercury set out to design a four-stroke engine with automobile-type acceleration and performance. The result is the supercharged Verado. Innovations include sound and vibration improvements and the latest control systems like electro-hydraulic steering and Mercury’s Smartcraft technology. With an outstanding factory warrantee and advanced corrosion protection, the Verado promises season after season of exciting, dependable boating. The 150 Verado put the Alante PTX on plane in 3.2 seconds and we reached 30 miles an hour in 8.3 seconds. Our top speed was 32.7 mph at 5500 rpm. We found the best fuel economy to be at 3500 rpm where we burned 4.9 gallons per hour at a speed of 20.7 mph. That works out to 4.26 miles per gallon. This boat is a classy little package that offers you and your family the opportunity to have lots of fun doing the variety of things families like to do on the water.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Premier 231 Alante (2008-) is 32.7 mph (52.6 kph), burning 15.0 gallons per hour (gph) or 56.78 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Premier 231 Alante (2008-) is 20.7 mph (33.3 kph), and the boat gets 4.26 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.81 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 127 miles (204.39 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 150-hp Mercury Verado.
Standard and Optional Features
5-year bow to stern