The mission of the Sea Ray 230 SLX is to combine the sportboat handling the company is well known for with an elevated level of luxury beyond the normal category of offerings. Because this is such a popular size range, the 230 SLX is intended to compete toe-to-toe with the most premium boats in this category.
Elegant Exterior Styling –
This boat is replete with graceful curved and stylish lines that accentuate the level of luxury inside.
Bluetooth Stereo –
Few builders are taking advantage of this technology in the manner they should. That’s why we’re happy to see it on the 230 SLX. It allows anyone with a Bluetooth-capable device to control the music stream onboard. And let’s face it… some of our friends have better playlists than others.
Rich Upholstery Schemes –
All the materials have been upgraded, all the stitching is taken to the next level and multiple color choices have been blended together to bring this interior to the premium level.
Seating Capacity Increased –
The capacity has been increased from 10 to 11 persons, meaning that the owner who inevitably will have a lot of friends will now be able to have more of them onboard, and all will have a comfortable place to sit.
Snap-in Carpet –
Not only is this an attractive addition to the interior styling, it’s a standard feature.
Aft Sun Pad Lounger –
This large sun pad has a convertible backrest that creates an aft facing seat.
Standard 260-hp 5.0L Engine with B3 Outdrive –
No cheaping out in order to project a lower price here. Options go up to 300-hp.
Gel Coated Engine Room –
There is nothing worse than a grungy engine room, something that naturally happens unless it is gel coated which makes clean up quick and easy.
Keyless Ignition –
This feature solves lots of problem including faulty ignition switches in older boats that have been exposed to the elements.
Blue Lights –
Night lighting is blue and cool.
Optional Dynamic Running Surface
The Dynamic Running Surface is the latest “big thing” to come out of the Sea Ray plant. It allows the running surface to be changed throughout the performance curve creating a boat that planes at lower speed, improves acceleration, reduces bow rise, and keeps the boat at optimal trim no matter what the load. For wakeboarders, it also allows changing wake height and shape for getting that perfect wave. Large triangular planes integrate with the hull to create a changeable running surface. These planes can be controlled automatically, or manually with a small touchpad at the helm.
The Sea Ray 230 SLX has a LOA of 23’ (7 m), a beam of 8’6” (2.59 m) and a draft of 38” (96.5 cm). With an empty weight of 4,100 lbs. (1,860 kg), ¼ fuel and two people onboard we had an estimated test weight of 4,595 lbs. (2,084 kg). With a single 5.0L MerCruiser 260-hp MPI engine turning a B3 outdrive with 22.5 pitch propsets, we reached a top speed of 45.2 MPH at 5100 rpm. At that speed we were burning 19 gph giving us a range of 107 miles. Best cruise came in at 3000 rpm and 23.9 mph. That speed reduced the fuel burn to 6.2 gph providing a range of 173 miles and an endurance of 7 hours and 18 minutes while still holding back a 10% reserve. We had a time to plane of 3.6 seconds. Reached 20 mph in 5.5 seconds, and continued accelerating through 30 mph in 7.4 seconds.
Upon hitting the throttle, the 230’s bow rises only 8 ½-degrees and comes back down quickly with her 3.6 second time to plane. During that time there was no loss of visibility to the horizon. That quick planing time and low bow rise is due to the extended running surface that extends past the outdrive. She responds well to the helm with 3 turns from lock to lock on the wheel.
In turns she does seem to exhibit a bit of a chine walk during hard performance turns, a characteristic only noticeable when pushing the edges of the performance envelope. However, in normal turns she remains stable and docile leaning only 16-degrees into the turns.
She does tend to drive over the waves rather than slice through them, but that is characteristic of boats in this class due to their relative light weight. She has a slight tendency to bleed off speed in the turns but not as much as others we’ve seen. Simply advance the throttle slightly after the turn is entered.
An attractive feature of the 230 SLX is its reverse-raked transom leading down to the swim platform. The platform itself extends well past the bulwarks allowing easy boarding from either side without having to step over anything. Even the pull-up cleats are elevated off the platform.
, the swim platform extends beyond the lower unit when it is in the down position. This means swimmers can slide off or jump in the water without worrying about hitting the lower unit.
With a boat in this class, owners may want to give serious consideration to the optional SeaDek swim platform matting ($308) as well as the transom trim switch ($123). And we wouldn’t want to be without the stereo remote ($231). The aft facing seat is a nice touch and the convertible seatback easily transforms the chaise into a sun pad. Storage is underneath which we are always quick to tout as a great place to put wet towels and swimsuits, as they will dry from the heat of the engine underneath.
Entering the Cockpit
The transom walkthrough is on the starboard side, which has the added benefit of providing a clear sightline from the helm to the reboarding ladder under the platform. The entry gate lies flush to the portside bulkhead when opened. Just inside is a hatch in the deck leading to the house batteries.
The cockpit is fully fiberglass lined and covered with standard snap-in carpet. The seating consists of L-shaped seating to port with a pair of wraparound bucket seats at the consoles, all of which is commonly referred to in the industry as “sport seating”. The bucket seats swivel around to face the crowd when the itinerary calls for things like drifting with wine, cheese and crackers set out on the table.
Sea Ray added plenty of courtesy lights all around the cockpit as… well, a courtesy. At night they look cool. This is a feature started on megayachts years ago that has filtered down to the SLX.
In the center of the aft bench seat is a flip-down armrest that includes recessed drink holders, and underneath the seat is a built-in cooler that drains into the bilge.
The aft seat back lifts manually to get into the engine compartment. With gas struts adding to the lift we really found no need for the installation of an electric lift hatch so no points taken from Sea Ray on that note. There’s room at the front of the engine for climbing in if desired but two bulkheads to either side make things a bit cramped for more involved maintenance. However, they are easily removed and by disconnecting the support struts the hatch can also be opened fully.
is a MerCruiser 5.0L MPI ECT Bravo III Sterndrive (260-hp - 194 kW) with an upgrade to a 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG available ($5,140). An automatic fire suppression system is offered as an option ($538) and we’d highly recommend it.
The port console offers a dash panel trimmed in leather and wood. The glove box is lockable and the door is held open with a small strut… which is a nice touch. Inside we find the stereo controls out of the rain and weather, plus a bit of storage room. While the stereo takes up the bulk of the available space in the glove box, it’s really only useful for items needing to be locked up. Otherwise, there’s plenty of additional storage surrounding the seat.
The multiple shades of brown continue with all vinyl being hand-stitched onto the panels. A touch of wood trim, matching the glove box to port, completes the look of class and upscale charm. A stereo remote is to port of the three-spoke wheel mounted to its tilt base. The bulkhead is padded and upholstered in pleated vinyl that is soft to the touch while still being marine grade.
For this model year the 230 SLX’ helm has gone from three gauges to two, with a Raymarine a654 Chartplotter dropped into the center ($1,269). This setup cuts down on the clutter of the panel and makes a more efficient and good-looking helm. Also for this year Sea Ray offers an upgrade to a digital dash that centers around an e95 multifunction display ($3,000).
The Windshield – And A Secret
The walkthrough windshield is framed in anodized aluminum. Polished stainless steel windshield headers are offered as an option ($385), and we recommend them. A little secret: Polished stainless steel windshield headers seem like a small detail, but when it comes to the look of the boat its importance far exceeds its cost. That is why they are often offered as very expensive options on premium boats – not only are they costly to provide, put they also make the boat look like a million dollars. We think the $385 option cost is quite reasonable for this item and is money well-spent in keeping with the image the 230 SLX is trying to project.
A standard bi-fold door to block off the wind is flush mounted to the port side console.
The bow seating is in the usual configuration allowing for someone of average height, say a bit under 6’ (1.8 m) to have the legs stretched out, but more long legged individuals will suffer through having their knees slightly bent. So when underway, two people can sit here. At anchor or when at the marina, the bow can handle as many as five people sitting in an upright position. As always, there’s an optional filler cushion ($354) to turn the bow into a second sun pad, and one that can be used while underway.
The beautiful job on the upholstery, that is now a hallmark of the SLX lineup, continues here with it being easy to see how much extra work goes into adding so many different colors and patterns. We’d like to see the addition of flip-down armrests though. Drink holders are in a recess under the seats keeping them accessible without interfering with the seating itself.
Storage with Seat Hinges.
For those boaters used to forward seating that is held in place by small blocks of wood screed into the seat bottom, will appreciate what Sea Ray has done with the seating on the 230 SLX. Storage is under the seat cushions and the cushions themselves are all on hinged mounts so they won’t be bouncing off when a sudden wake crosses our path. The hinges also mean that one hand can move the cushion while the other puts in or takes out a needed article.Both seatbacks are also hinged and swing open towards the center of the boat to access the console storage behind. These are ideal places for water toys, air pumps and the like.
With an ever-increasing demand for being able to take advantage of watersports, Sea Ray makes a forward facing tower available in either white or black ($7,538). It includes its own Bimini top and an all around navigation light at the tow point on top. Wakeboard racks are also offered ($769). It’s an option that not only increases the functionality of the 230 SLX but also enhances her killer good looks. (We recommend black.) Combine this with the optional Dynamic Running Surface and a premium wakeboat is born.
Pricing and Observations
The Sea Ray 230 SLX comes equipped with many standards, including a 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0L engine, for $68,347. Fully loaded with the most desirable options brings her to $98,879. That price includes the stunning premium trailer with alloy wheels and dual axles. It’s a combination that takes the breath away and has to be seen to be believed. We saw it first at the NY boat show and it stopped us dead in our tracks. Those boaters not interested in high-testosterone watersports can bring the boat in for far less. The package that is easily handled on the water and easily trailered on the road.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Sea Ray 230 SLX (2014-) is 45.2 mph (72.7 kph), burning 19.0 gallons per hour (gph) or 71.92 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Sea Ray 230 SLX (2014-) is 23.9 mph (38.5 kph), and the boat gets 3.8 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.62 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 173 miles (278.42 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0 MPI BIII.
Standard and Optional Features
|Carpet: Cockpit||Standard Snap-in|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|