See Full Captain's Report

Boat Test Videos
Text Size: AAA

No longer in production. The Sun Sport 280’s huge cockpit allows for easy entertaining at anchor or the dock, or even enjoying a sunset cruise.

Key Features

  • Transferable 5-Year Formula Guard Limited Protection Plan
  • Transom-mounted stereo remote control
  • Transom shower
  • Complete Livorsi illuminated instrumentation, domed with chrome bezels
  • Dash-mounted full-feature stereo remote control
  • Port lounge with integrated dive tank storage
  • U-shaped aft lounge seating with storage
  • Entertainment center in cherry high-gloss finish with storage & full Corian countertop
  • Kenwood AM/FM/CD stereo
  • One-year subscription to Sirius Satellite Digital Broadcast
  • Private head compartment with portable unit, molded fiberglass vanity & stainless sink
Length Overall 28' 0''
Beam 9' 2''
Dry Weight 7,300 lbs.
Tested Weight N/A
Draft 36''
- Draft Up N/A
- Draft Down N/A
- Air Draft N/A
Deadrise/Transom 21 deg.
Max Headroom 5' 2''
Bridge Clearance 8' 6'' w/arch
Weight Capacity N/A
Person Capacity N/A
Fuel Capacity 120 gal.
Water Capacity 20 gal.
Length on Trailer N/A
Height on Trailer N/A
Trailer Weight N/A
Total Weight
(Trailer, Boat, & Engine)

Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.

Std. Power Not Available
Tested Power 2 x 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG Horizons Sterndrives
Opt. Power 1 x 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG Horizon Bravo Three
1 x 375-hp MerCruiser 496 MAG Bravo Three
1 x 425-hp MerCruiser 496 MAG HO Bravo Three
1 x 315-hp Volvo Penta 5.7 GXi DP
1 x 420-hp Volvo Penta 8.1 GXi DP W/CWC

Formula 280 Sun Sport (2005 - ) (Not in Production) Line Drawing

Tested By Capt. Ron SvobodaIf you’ve outgrown your ear shattering performance ride, but just can’t see yourself tooling around in a ‘sleeps six, floating condo’. Then Formula has something for you. Capable but not aggressive, the 280 Sun Sport is a melding of comfort and speed, with a satisfying emphasis on the speed. By cross-breeding the best of their performance line with one of their cruisers, Formula has produced one of the best built, multi-use fun machines on the market.Functional LayoutThe cockpit of the 280 is where all the action is. Just aft of the helm station, a U-shaped settee provides comfortable seating for the whole crew. As you might expect the seating converts with a table for meals or sunset cocktails and can also be made into a super sun pad. Since no party platform would be complete without a well stocked wet bar. The Sun Sport ensures a good time with a port side wet bar, supplying generous counter space, an alcohol stove for outdoor cooking, and a freshwater sink. The dual cabinets below the counter provide room for a refrigerator / freezer combo, as well as storage and access to battery switches and circuit breakers.At the ControlsLike all the Formula control stations, the 280’s helm is top notch. From the twin command seating with flip-up bolsters, to the VDO gauges in the dash, she is thoroughly complimented with a pair of silky smooth, Quicksilver shifter and throttle levers. The helm console also includes molded steps for foredeck access.Stepping BelowWhen it comes to overnight accommodations, the cabin is small but proud. The interior features all the luxuries a couple or small family will need on weekend adventures. Flanking the companion way is a full head and shower compartment to starboard, across from a micro galley to port. The galley offers a microwave oven, some storage space and even less counter space, but is beautifully trimmed in cherry wood cabinetry.Interior seating is designed around a large V-shaped lounge. The convertible space has a roomy dining format with a cherry wood table that can be quickly made into a small berth with the added cushions. Although I found the double berth inviting, it was much too short for someone of my stature, over 6 feet tall, to be used often.Specs and PerformanceFrom the dock, the sleek profile of the Sun Sport is 29 feet, 6 inches long with a wave slicing beam of 9 feet 2 inches. The offshore capable cruiser tips the scales at 7,300 pounds and guarantees 120 gallons of fuel capacity. Powered by MerCruiser or Volvo Penta power plants, the 280 can be ordered with single or twin engines. Our test package delivered excellent performance in both acceleration and in handling. The bill at the gas pump wasn’t too bad either with almost 1.9 miles to the gallon from the twin small block motors.There is no doubt that the folks at Formula build a premium product and make great strides in providing real performance to the consumer. The 280 SS is a perfect example of how much room a 30-foot boat can offer, top that off with excellent performance, and you have yourself a nice cruising package.

Test Result Highlights

  • Top speed for the Formula 280 Sun Sport (2005 - ) (Not in Production) is 50.3 mph (81 kph), burning 39.9 gallons per hour (gph) or 151.02 liters per hour (lph).
  • Best cruise for the Formula 280 Sun Sport (2005 - ) (Not in Production) is 27.6 mph (44.4 kph), and the boat gets 1.88 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.8 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 203 miles (326.7 kilometers).
  • Tested power is 2 x 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG Horizons Sterndrives.

Marine Electronics

GPS/Chart Optional
VHF Radio Optional


Battery Charger/Converter Optional
CD Stereo Standard Sirius Satellite Radio
Head: Portable Standard
Power Steering Standard
Shore Power Optional
Trim Tabs Standard
TV/DVD Optional
Windlass Optional


Microwave Standard
Refrigerator Standard

Exterior Features

Ice Chest Standard
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc Standard
Swim Ladder Standard
Swim Platform Standard
Transom Shower Standard
Wet bar Standard


Bimini Top Standard
Cockpit Cover Standard


Hull Warranty
10 Years
Deck Warranty
Transferable Extendable
10 Years Yes No
Engine Warranty
5 Years Yes
Powertrain Warranty
5 Years

Gelcoat Warranty
2 Years
Blistering Warranty
Transferable Extendable
2 Years Yes Yes
Accessories Warranty
Transferable Extendable
5 Years Yes Yes
ISO Certification NMMA Certification Yes


Pricing Range: $161,220.00

Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.

Test Results - Change Measurement Unit

RPM MPH Knots GPH MPG NMPG Stat. Mile NM dBa
610 2.9 2.5 1.7 1.7 1.5 182 158 68
1000 6.5 5.6 3.2 2.0 1.8 218 190 70
1500 8.8 7.7 6.1 1.5 1.3 157 137 75
2000 10.0 8.7 9.5 1.1 0.9 113 99 76
2500 16.8 14.6 12.8 1.3 1.2 142 124 79
3000 27.6 24.0 14.7 1.9 1.6 203 176 80
3500 34.6 30.1 20.1 1.7 1.5 186 162 84
4000 41.1 35.7 27.1 1.5 1.3 164 142 86
4500 46.3 40.3 34.9 1.3 1.2 143 125 88
5000 50.3 43.7 39.9 1.3 1.1 136 118 90
610 158 293 4.70 6.44 0.72 68
1000 190 351 10.50 12.11 0.86 70
1500 137 253 14.20 23.09 0.62 75
2000 99 182 16.10 35.96 0.45 76
2500 124 229 27.00 48.45 0.56 79
3000 176 327 44.40 55.65 0.80 80
3500 162 299 55.70 76.09 0.73 84
4000 142 264 66.10 102.58 0.65 86
4500 125 230 74.50 132.11 0.57 88
5000 118 219 81.00 151.04 0.54 90

All fuel consumption numbers are the total for all engines in the boat. Speeds are measured with Stalker ProSports radar gun or GPS. Fuel consumption (gallons per hour) measured with Floscan digital fuel-flow meter or by on-board factory-installed diagnostic instruments. Range is based on 90% of published fuel capacity. Sound levels determined using Radio Shack digital decibel meter on A scale. 68 dBA is the level of normal conversation. Time to plane is measured from start of acceleration to formation of rooster tail behind boat.