The competition in the 20-something range of boats is stiff and, for most manufacturers, only focused on providing an entry-level boat at a minimum price-point. Regal takes a different approach. It has taken its entry level boats, maintained the quality of the brand, and now added some “edginess” to them to attract a younger demographic. The result is the ESX line. We recently tested the 2000 ESX and found a fun boat with exciting looks that performed well thanks to Regal's proprietary FasTrac hull.
- FasTrac hull design
- Courtesy blue LED lights
- Oversized bow seating
- Choice between Mocha or Titanium interiors
- Two-position chaise lounge
- Fusion 600 marine stereo
- Helm seat with wrap-around molding, flip-up bolster, stainless steel accents and lumbar support
- Faria gauges on helm dash
- Bimini top
|Length Overall||20' 3'' / 6.17 m|
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||4.8 sec.|
|0 to 30||12.3 sec.|
|Load||3 persons, 3/4 fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear|
|Climate||88 deg., 72 humid.; wind: 10-15 mph; seas: Lt. chop|
1 x 225-hp Volvo Penta V6
1 x 225-hp Volvo Penta V6 225
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The mission of the Regal 2000 ESX is to add some extra “pizzazz” to a basic entry-level that’s already up-market. The ESX moniker means that she has some new interior colors and exciting exterior graphics, and all boats in the ESX line are powered by Volvo Penta sterndrives.
Historically, Regal had shifted away from interior colors, preferring the gray tones for its base boats. With the ESX line, these new color choices highlight the bolsters and seats, plus the optional carpet ($455) will be a contrasting gray with piping that matches the upholstery. She’s offered in 3 different color schemes: Newport Blue, Electric Green, and Flame Red.
FasTrac Hull Design.
This is Regal’s version of the stepped hull. By drawing air in from the sides of the hull, the friction between the hull surface and the water is broken, resulting in better speed and less fuel burn.
Expanded Social Area.
L-shaped seating across the port and stern, along with the swiveled helm seat creates opposing seating for intimate conversations. The observer’s seat flips from forward to aft facing and is adjustable for tall or short occupants.
Dedicated Anchor Storage.
Something that is usually missing in boats in this class is a storage locker for the anchor. In the 2000 ESX, Regal included one under the forward seat cushion at the bow.
No Engine Option.
The 2000 ESX is powered by the Volvo Penta V6-225 and no other options are available. We would have expected a V8 version to be offered but Regal made the decision to stick with the V6, with its smaller profile, which allows more room in the cockpit. By limiting the space required for the engine, Regal was able to create a full 78 cu. ft. of space in the cockpit.
Of course this may seem like the performance was limited as well, but to the contrary, we found the performance to be right on par with others in class, and that’s thanks in part to the qualities of Regal’s FasTrac hull, but more on that in a moment.
A major aspect of this new line appeal is to be found in its aggressive hull graphics.
The 2000 ESX is a 48 mph boat, which is extremely fast for an “entry-level” boat. Her time to plane was 4.8 seconds with an increase to 20 mph in 7.2 seconds and 30 mph in 12.3 seconds.
We reached 48.1 mph
, which produced a 17.4 gph fuel burn for a range of 100 miles. Best cruise is subjective. If we were to consider best cruise from an economy standpoint, then we would have to say that it was achieved at 3000 rpm and 24.4 mph. That generated a fuel burn of 7.7 gph and a range of 115 miles. However, bump the throttle up to 3500 rpm and the speed increases to 30.6 mph while only giving up 1 mile from the range. Fuel burn will now be 9.7 gph, a reasonable tradeoff to adding just over 6 mph.
The engine in our test boat
was the Volvo Penta V6-225 tuning an SX drive. Lifting the aft bench seat accesses the engine as the seat and sun pad lift as a single unit. The installation is spacious, there’s plenty of room to work around the engine and certainly enough for the daily engine checks.
The handling characteristics are a direct result of Regal's proprietary FasTrac hull. With full beam steps drawing air in and under the hull the surface friction of the water is broken up and the result is more speed with less fuel burn.
And our tests have shown that the technology certainly works. And to Regal’s credit, it doesn’t just “cookie cutter” the technology from one boat to the next. Each hull is specifically engineered for best performance and this can be seen as one looks from one model to the next. The curve of the steps are different, the geometry of the strakes is different, and some carry the strakes back past the step, others will move to a smooth hull past the steps.
With the 2000 ESX
the handling is light and quick. With a heavy hand she’ll show just a bit of chinewalk in hard over turns, but with a more relaxed approach to operations she turns quite sedately with no tendency to fall off the turn or slide out. She has a gentle bank into the turns and a relaxed acceleration. She’d make a great tow vehicle as there’s plenty of power onboard and wake is minimal at planing speed. For wakeboarding, slow down and get that stern to drop and the wake increases for catching air.
As for visibility, we found that at no-wake speeds our view through the windshield was instead right at the top windshield frame. At cruise the bow came up and so did the windshield frame. She comes standard with a helm seat that includes a flip-up bolster eliminating the no wake issue entirely.
The bow inspection has to start with the anchor locker under the forward seat cushion. Both side seats were comfortable allowing an average sized person to stretch out with no problem.
Storage is under the seat cushions and here’s an area where Regal makes a difference. Nearly all boats in class will have lift out seat cushions to access storage, but Regal uses articulating hinges to keep the cushions secure while underway. Additionally, the console storage is accessed from the bow seatbacks and both this area, and the under seat storage, are interconnected making for one long storage compartment that can swallow up gear.
A bow filler cushion is offered as an option ($375) and will turn the entire area into a sun pad.
The helm is basic, as expected, but there’s still a look of class to it. It’s fabricated with soft tones. Three black-faced gauges are surrounded by stainless bezels and mounted front and center.
Several items are present as standard
equipment that typically are left to the options list on competing boats. To the left is a digital depth indicator. In our opinion, this is far and away the most important addition to any panel. The wheel is mounted to a tilt base. To the lower left is a premium marine-grade Fusion stereo with an MP3 port behind the hinged faceplate and it’s connected to 6 stereo speakers…all standard.
L-shaped seating highlights the features of the cockpit. The forward section of the seating area is the double-wide observer’s seat. It features a flip seatback allowing it to convert from a forward facing seat to an aft facing seat with no latches to lift, and no levers to release…just the way it should be.
The seatback also slides fore and aft, allowing it to accommodate both short and tall occupants, a first that we’ve seen of this adjustment being fitted on any boat, let alone on an entry level boat.
A Bimini top is standard
on this model, but an interesting option that our test boat was fitted with, was the Power Tower ($5,275). This is offered in either black or white and provides an elevated tow point 6’8” (2 m) off the deck for wakeboarding, or tubing where the front of the tubes needs to be raised to keep from plowing. The tower also includes its own Bimini.
Of course that doesn’t address the “Power” part of the Power Tower. A switch at the helm activates an electric actuator that lowers the tower forward to the helm seat. In this manner the boat’s profile is lowered for getting under bridges or to facilitate storage in a marina rack or home garage. Underneath the tower are blue LED courtesy lights.
Sun Pad Walkthrough to Platform
A full beam sun pad was fitted to the aft section of the L-shaped seating, just atop the engine compartment. The port side of the pad lifts to form the raised seatback of a chaise lounge but it’s woefully low and is in need of supports allowing it to be raised not only to a higher elevation but for multiple positions as well.
Two steps to the walkthrough and onto the platform make for an easy transition. The decking on our test boat was treated with the optional SeaDeck synthetic non-skid ($380) and it was even enhanced with a Regal logo. A synthetic teak SeaDeck is also available.
The Regal 2000 ESX has a base price of $45,085. She comes powered with the Volvo Penta V6-225 and no other engine options are offered.
Options to Consider
Certainly any boat in this class focuses on the basics, even with an up-market entry-level model. Among the optional items we would definitely add to our purchase order are, depending on how she was going to be stored, either the bow and cockpit cover ($965) or the trailer/storage cover ($745) and the removable pedestal table ($665).
There are some other options to consider
, but these are certainly less essential. SeaDeck rubberized matting for the walkthrough and platform are important ($380). Regal makes them available in gray or simulated teak. Sea Grass matting ($730) would further add a touch of class. Docking lights would be a great bonus for night operations ($285).
We think the Regal 2000 ESX has killer looks. But looks are only part of the battle. Thanks to her FasTrac hull she’s got the performance to go with the looks. If the goal was to add some “edginess” to her in order to attract a younger demographic, then we think the mission was accomplished.