Riviera surveyed its owners and asked them what they wanted in a 45' boat and the answer is what appears above -- an express cruiser with an enclosed house, galley up, a large cockpit without fixed furniture, a long coach roof overhang for shade in the cockpit and classic Riviera styling. Inside, the designers wanted the boat to feel like an Aussie beach house. But that is only the beginning of the story because this is one of the most innovative express yachts we have seen in some time.
|Length Overall||47' 5'' / 14.46 m|
Currently no test numbers
2 x 435-hp Volvo IPS
Mission of the Riviera 445 SUV
Essentially Riviera wanted the 445 to be able to do everything that a flybridge boat could, sans the flying bridge. That is why the builder calls the model an "SUV", because she is a "crossover" between an open express or "sport yacht" and a sedan or convertible with an enclosed flying bridge. She is intended to be a summer cottage afloat, but with the ability to do some casual game fishing now and then.
IPS Under the Cockpit.
Riviera was one of the first builders to work with Volvo Penta on the development of its pod drive system and years ago placed engines under the cockpit of a prototype sportfisherman. It worked well so it was a natural for the 445 SUV because it opens up so much room forward for accommodations. It also gets engine noise out from under the saloon.
Mid-cabin with 3 Beds.
We can think of only a couple of other boats of any size that can accommodate three berths in a mid-cabin -- and one of them is another Riviera.
Superior Engine Access.
There is a hatch in the cockpit sole for quick access for fluid checks, but even better is the ability to raise the whole cockpit sole for ease of access around the engine room. We find this a far more attractive alternative than having the engine room under the saloon sole with only crouching headroom at best.
The trend for motoryachts and convertibles these days is to a flatter deadrise at the transom and a warped bottom to a fine entry forward. Smaller boats have been slower to pick up on that new thinking which is incorporated in the 445. Flatter stern sections makes the boat more stable at rest, helps her get on plane faster, and is easier to push than a deeper V, all of which allows the boat to go faster and save fuel at cruising speeds.
Awning Extension, Long Coach Roof Overhang.
This is something we have seen on boats of all sizes done in a small way, but Riviera has really gone all out to maximize the concept on an express cruiser. The 445 SUV has an exceptionally long fixed overhang, which is remarkably attractive and effective. Added to that is a canvas awning extension, which provides even more shade for the mez seating and part of the cockpit.
Aft Window Raises with Gas-Assist Struts.
On the starboard side, the aft window of the house opens outward with gas-assist struts. With the sliding glass door tucked away to port, most of the back of the boat is open to the outside, giving the interior the feel of the great outdoors.
Steering Wheel Placement.
On virtually all boats we have seen no matter how large or small, helm seats for two invariably have the wheel centered in the middle of the seat. Finally a builder has gotten it right. Helm seats intended for two people should have the boat's steering wheel to the outside so the skipper can steer comfortably.
First of all this cockpit is large by any standard. It is part of the "crossover" concept, as the cockpit is as large as one found on a convertible of 50' or so. It is certainly larger than the cockpit found on most flybridge sedans or most other express cruisers.
By keeping baitwells, fighting chairs and foldaway seats out of the 445's cockpit, the owner is unencumbered in the way it can be used. Some owners will want to use it for cocktail parties and thereby maximize deck space. Others will want to use it for dining al fresco, much the same as the aft deck on a large motoryacht is used. These owners can fit it with any size table and accommodate as many as eight or so folding chairs. The chairs can be stowed below in the space to port of the companionway stairs which is essential the boat's lazarette.
To port is a fiberglass console with sink, which can be used to serve hors d'oeuvres and drinks during a cocktail party or be a bait prep station when fishing. Optional equipment can be fitted in the console such as an ice maker, fridge or any number of other things.
To starboard is mezzanine seating with storage below. This is a good place to sit while trolling some baits or just watching the wake as the boat speeds along. The long overhang above will keep sun and rain off of occupants here in most conditions.
Some owners may even want to use the 445 SUV for sportfishing. Because the useable deck space of the cockpit measures nearly 7' (2.13 m) fore and aft and 11' (3.35 m) wide it can fit a fixed fighting chair with foot rest. But that is not what the boat is really made for and more likely the owner of this boat would have two foldable fighting chairs or do light tackle fishing standing up.
Huge Swim Platform.
The transom has a door which opens out. The swim platform is one of the largest we have seen on this size boat and is part of the "crossover" concept. It not only can only hold a gang of sun bathers, but it also serves as a large boarding platform from a floating dock. It has a stainless steel railing in the center.
Design and Function.
This platform is bolted onto the transom and is supported by struts. It is relatively high off the water, which makes it a bit less susceptible to sloppy waves landing on it when drifting or anchored in a roadstead, but makes it harder to retrieve a tender that might want to live there.
Keen anglers will probably want to do away with it all together. But, once again, this boat wasn't intended for serious sportfishing and Riviera has other boats for that purpose.
The 445 SUV's layout inside the house is straight-forward and functional. The U-shaped galley is wide enough that two people can work there and still be out of the flow going to the table opposite or forward. It has a two-burner electric stove top, a large below-counter drawer-type refrigerator and freezer. The microwave is high and there is a back splash all around the hard resin counter. Cabinets for dishes and stemware are over the stove. The sink is aft by the door.
The dinette is large and looks comfortable with angled backrests instead of being like a straight church pew. The table folds up and lowers to make a cocktail table, or lowers further as a support for a bed.
Probably the most important thing about the saloon of the 445 is the large, uncluttered windows and the narrow mullions. They are clean and classic and visibility could not be better.
Forward of the galley on the port side, the helm has a seat designed for two people. As noted above, the wheel is outboard as it should be and rarely is with double-seat helms. There are two foot rests in the console forward.
The skipper can steer standing or sitting. This is a biggie in our book. It also separates this boat from many Euro-styled hardtop express cruisers which do not have standing headroom unless the sun roof is opened. So the 445 SUV can be steered like a proper yacht.
The accommodation plans on boats of this size usually have the master in the bow and the guest stateroom amidships, and the 445 is no different. Where it does differ from other boats is in the execution of the plan. There are large windows in the cabins which brighten them with ambient lighting and we think the woods, fabrics and upholstery is particularly well done.
The master has a slightly diamond-shaped island bed with storage below and there are two decent-sized hanging lockers. The horizontal windows bring in lots of ambient light. The master head has a separate shower stall.
This is a somewhat unusual layout as it has three single beds or can have a single and a double. There is full standing headroom at the entrance to the cabin and it is here that there is a hanging locker. There is sitting headroom above the berths. This cabin is full beam and the large horizontal windows and round portlights on each side brighten this cabin by day. We like the three singles because of the versatility it offers.
As always the head for the guest stateroom also serves as the day head and perhaps it is for this reason that it is slightly larger than the master head.
An optional washer/dryer goes under the companionway stairs.
Power & Performance
The 445 is powered by twin Volvo Penta IPS600 diesel engines which generate 435-hp each. On-board electrical power is provided by a 9.5 kW generator. The fuel capacity of the boat is 476 gal. (1,800 L), making it one of the largest fuel tanks in class.
We have not tested the 445 SUV so can make no comment on speed or fuel consumption. We can say that over the years of testing the same hull with both conventional inboard power and IPS drives confirmed Volvo Penta's claims of significantly better fuel economy at cruising speeds, although we have not done such a comparison on this boat.
The builder says that the boat's WOT speed is 32.2 knots. Best cruise, according to Riviera, comes at 3200 rpm where the boat goes 26.7 knots, burning 33.7 gph (127 lph). That would give the boat a 339 nautical mile range with a 10% fuel reserve.
The 445 SUV is built on the same hull as the Riviera 43 Flybridge which has been in production since 2010. That means that this hull has proven itself over time in different places around the world. The hull is solid glass below the waterline and has a structural core above the waterlines and in the deck. Hatches are resin transfer and the hull is laid up in the conventional manner.
Because Rivieras are built on the east coast of Australia and roughly 50% of its boats are sold in that country, all of its boats have to be strong enough to give its Aussie owners confidence in their vessels offshore. It is not surprising, then, when it comes to displacement, the 445 SUV is on the heavy side of the spectrum in class. That means that she is going to be slightly harder to push than far lighter boats, but it also means that she is going to ride better.
When comparing the 445 SUV to other express cruisers, make sure to compare apples-to-apples. The 445 SUV is a real boat and not simply a blown up sportboat on steroids with a hardtop. And her range is hard to beat in class because of her large fuel capacity and IPS efficiency.