Captain's Report by Capt. Steve
Over the decades Tiara has built its sterling reputation because of its rugged construction, reliable systems, and world-class customer service. The 4500 Sovran, like all Tiara boats, has the distinctive look of a Tiara, an exterior design that has been carefully nurtured over the last couple of decades. It has only a hint of Euro-style, but has not gone as far into the extremes of that look as have many builders. It's topsides are rounded and flowing and the sheer comes horizontally back to the transom and does not fall away to the swim platform like many American express boat designs. The style is uniquely Tiara, and you can recognize one at a distance. We like that.
The Sovran line was started many years ago to address the cruising boat market, and the 4500 Sovran is a cruising boat for both short and long hikes for two couples or a family. Her secondary mission is to be a comfortable day cruiser for entertaining and short jaunts. It is not unusual to hear that owners use the larger Sovrans as a movable summer cottage. And, of course they can range far and wide, and you will find them anchored in coves and along beaches all over the world.
Frankly, there are no drop-dead incredible innovations or design features in the new 4500 Sovran that we can detect. Rather, there are a lot of little refinements within the envelope of the “tried-and-proven” 4300. But that is not to say there are not important distinguishing characteristics. There are--
Evolution not revolution.
When addressing the 4500 Sovran we can not help but think of general aviation aircraft and how it generally evolves – slowly, based on hundreds of hours of testing and use. There, models stay the same for decades, but get better incrementally every year or so. That is what has happened with the 4500 growing out of the 4300. Tiara is owned and run by the second and third generation of the Slikkers family, many of whom are private pilots. Tiara evolves its design just as is done in general aviation.
Visibility from the helm.
To our eye one of the most captivating things about the 4500 is the design and shape of her windshield. It is not only an improvement over the 4300, we think it is a thing of beauty. Look how it curves around the pilothouse and sweeps aft. It is raked back, but not too far. Note that there are only three narrow mullions, one of the centerline and one on each side. From the helm this boat has one of the very best lies of sight forward and to the sides. There is no walk-through windshield and its requirement of an extra mullion. Side decks are wide and well equipped with hand holds for going forward.
The 4500 is vacuum bagged and infused with resign in order to get high glass-to-resin ratios that keep weight down and make the boat stronger. All fiberglass parts are made by a closed-mold process. The interior is made outside the hull using best practices. Where possible high-tech glues are used in the joinery work instead of screws for greater strength. Wiring harnesses are custom-made for each boat utilizing plug-and-play vapor-proof connectors.
The advent of the IPS system has caused a new focus at Tiara on "quiet technology." Because the IPS system allowed the engines to be moved to the back of the boat away from the living spaces, and because it used huge rubber donuts to insulate its machinery from the hull, the 4300 became much more quiet when underway. Tiara engineers began utilizing the rubber donut concept to double bed the generator and all bilge pumps. All of the holes through bulkheads for wires and plumbing are now carefully sealed to prevent sound transmission. The result of this and more is a far quieter boat.
Reliability of boat and management.
There is only one Leon Slikkers and he works nearly every day at Tiara. Now in his mid-80s he is still there talking with his children and grandchildren who run the company -- three generations of Slikkers who nuture the company and carefully guard its reputation for their family's future. It is probably the best consumer protection plan ever devised. Tiara builds reliable boats because it plans on staying in business with reliable family-run management.
Changes From the 4300 to 4500 Sovran
Dealer and customer feedback was important to identify critical areas needing change. In the 4300 installing an optional combo washer/dryer was problematical. By modifying the accommodation plan Tiara's design team was able to include a large locker in each 4500 Sovran, big enough for a washer/dryer if the owner wanted one. Dealers can add the units at the time of sale.
Sunroof. Standard sunroof.
One popular feature of Tiara's 5800 Sovran is the sunroof in the hardtop. The pneumatically actuated sunroof admits lots of natural light into the pilothouse, and air, and happily makes know noise when at speed and open.
Big changes aft.
By adding 2' to the stern of the boat Tiara was able to install a 420 cu. ft. locker in the transom bustle. Now there is enough room for all manner of fenders, lines, water toys, cleaning supplies and mops and all of the other things needed to keep the boat in Bristol fashion. The swim platform was enlarged so that it could now hold a tender or PWC. An hydraulic platform is an option and we're told that most new 4500's go out the door with this $40k option installed at the factory.
BBQ on the transom.
Lastly, an electric grill was installed in the transom on the port side and this has proved to be a popular addition, getting smoke and grease out from under the hardtop. The table in the cockpit was enlarged and now 8 people can be served on deck.
Like all Sovrans, the new 4500 relies on Volvo Penta IPS drives, in this case 435-hp IPS600s. It is standard equipment along with a joystick. We haven't been able to corral a 4500 for testing yet, but Tiara provided us with their complete test data. With full fuel, water and waste tanks, and three engineers on board, the 4500 topped out at 31.2 knots.
At 3200 rpm, best cruise speed was 26.1 knots, fuel burn 33.6 gph (127.2 lph), for a range of 243 nm (450 km) getting .78 nmpg (.21 nmpl), Tiara reports. It is interesting to note that on Tiara’s speed trials, there was only a difference of .07 nmpg in fuel consumption from about 20 knots to the WOT of 31.2 knots. For that reason, boaters can simply go the speed that feels comfortable and not worry about optimizing fuel consumption. Again, these aren't BoatTEST figures.
Tiara provides about everything you need to go day boating or cruising as standard equipment, such as the standard 11.5 kW Onan generator. As far as wood goes, there is plenty of it on the 4500 below decks. Teak is standard on the cabin sole below. The galley has everything you need and the TV and sound system is first-rate and standard, as well. About the only thing that is optional on the 4500 that you will need for cruising is nav electronics. Tiara installs a complete package for $45,720, but this may be over-kill for many buyers. We'd price out only what we need and see how it compares with the Tiara factory-installed complete package.
Options We’d Choose
After going over the options list we found that our wish-list only totaled about $50,000 extra and $18,400 of that was for an Imron paint job that many owners probably will avoid.
Why do we like an Imron polyurethane paint finish on the hull? Two reasons: 1) We think that the right colored hull makes the boat look like a million bucks, not only now but for the ten years or more, which is usually considered the life of a good Imron job.
2) Polyurethane paint reduces maintenance costs and work. Gel coat oxidizes far, far more rapidly than does polyurethane paint. That means that proper gel coat maintenance includes from one to four compounding and waxing treatments per year, depending on the boat's exposure to the elements. The hardest area to properly maintain is the hull. By painting the hull, only the deck needs to this kind of labor-intensive care, and even that depends on where you live and how you stow your boat. Folks in Florida who leave the boat in the sun year round (and near I-95) will need to be compounding four times a year, while owners in Seattle who keep their boat under a shed out may only need to do it only once a year.
we’d select are: A/C, raw water washdown, a teak swim platform (just give it a drink of teak oil once a month), the teak accent package, wet bar, icemaker, teak cocktail table in the cockpit, a teak table below, and an electric grill. As you can see all of these options can be omitted. We would select them because we think a boat of the cost and gravitas of the 4500 Sovran should have them. Without the Imron-painted hull, the total cost of these options amounts to about $29,000, or about 3% of the price of the boat. In our opinion, that 3% jumps the boat from being a bit on the plain side, to more of a Bristol-fashion yacht. Spend the extra 18k on the Imron (we like navy blue), and you have the envy of any harbor.
The MSRP price of the Tiara 4500 Sovran is $884,000. With the options we selected, including the Imron paint on the hull, the total MSRP price would be $932,060. As noted above, we think that treatment will make her drop-dead gorgeous. How does this price stack up against the competition? When measured against yachts of the same quality as the Tiara 4500 Sovran we were surprised to discover she is about the same as her quality peers, and actually has a lower MSRP than some brands we would not put in her category. When shopping this class, you will not be wrong to use the 4500 Sovran as a good bench mark at the high end of quality, construction, and fit-and-finish.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Optional|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Optional|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!