Boat Tests

September 12, 2010

Monterey 318 SC : The in-between!

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Many people appreciate the style and drivability of a high performance boat, but the rational side often leads us toward a more practical or at least more family oriented watercraft. If you belong to this buyer category, the Monterey 318 SC is likely to interest you. This craft offers an excellent compromise between the available space and comfort of a cruiser, while offering a more sporty style and drivability.

Unfortunately, few constructors offer this type of watercraft and even Monterey will cease production of this model. In 2011, the constructor has decided to offer only two Super Sport models , both with a bowrider configuration, thus without a cabin. Why? Simply because of the fact that the this type of boat is not very popular with our southern neighbors and that shipyards build what sells in the U.S. The style in water sports vessels is different down there. People rarely sleep aboard and if so, they buy cruisers or more imposing watercrafts.

Exterior sport style
However, Monterey has made a success of the 318 SC model on many counts. First off, this craft offers a definite sport style thanks to its proportions which are typical of the performance watercraft. The craft presents a low profile, a more receded driving position and an elongated bow with a more pronounced angle. One appreciates the inversed arch that adds to the style as does the large galvanized finish border on the windshield. The whole is also well completed by a hull painted in black on the sides, as well as by built-in exhaust outlets. These are elements that put into perspective the more sporty vocation of the Monterey 318 SC. At the back, the large swimming platform offers practical additional space while the deck is also an area you will want to visit quite often, thanks to its built-in suntan cushion at the center.

On board, attention to detail as well as the association of colors and materials can be appreciated. Everything is well made and well integrated. The draft of  2,9 meters (9 feet 8 inches), allows for a spacious and practical cockpit. Even with several people aboard, you never feel cramped. At the rear, the seat is equipped with a collapsible back rest, another suntan location, while the fore and aft bridge permits easy access aboard and helps preserve the leather cloth. The presence of a refreshment center adds to the practical aspect of the craft. At the controls, the sport instrumentation and mostly, the steering with its sport style and good grip are appreciated. In terms of slight deceptions, we note the absence of cup holders and the oversized control box holding the two levers (one per motor) controlling the clutch and engine speed. These levers are obstructive. We would have preferred more traditional sport controls, where clutch and engine speed controls are separate. Finally, the main reproach on this model has to do with seat disposition at the front. The inversed position of the passenger’s seat, which adopts the reclining chair style, is fun to relax in, but when navigating, the passenger is facing backwards, which is less interesting. If the front passenger wants to face forward, this person has to share the wider conductor’s seat, which can hardly be qualified as double.

Spacious and practical cabin
More than a craft for small tours, the Monterey 318 SC is also comfortable for a few nights aboard. Instead of integrating a V-berth, all available space was used to create a small semi-circle corner dinette that can be transformed into a bed. This dinette corner offers all essential elements including a built-in micro-wave, a sink and a refrigerator. The washroom area is of a good size, an often neglected element aboard sport watercrafts. The most practical element, absent on all sport crafts, is without doubt the half-cabin allowing to accommodate two more sleeping passengers. It is located under the passenger seat. This is the advantage obtained from choosing the reversed type reclining chair configuration.

The Monterey 318 SC’s sport vocation is well supported by the choice of motor. Our test model was equipped with a pair of 5,7 litre Mercruiser 350 Mag developing 300 horsepower. The 600 horses combined to Bravo 3 type bases comprising two propellers each, allow for quick take-offs, in a few seconds only. The motors’ power also allows a wide range of engine speeds permitting different navigating speeds. Seen as relatively performing, our test model reached a top speed of 55 mph (90 km/h), verified by GPS, at 5 000 rpm, which is more than honorable. Ideal cruising speed is around 3 000 rpm, with a navigating speed of about 33 mph (54 km/h).

Exhilarating drivability
The Monterey 318 SC offers sport drivability, not only because of its available power, but also because of its behaviour. Unlike the cruiser that seems to be pushing on the water and the weight of which seems much more present at the front, the Monterey 318 SC’s behavior was much more like that of a sport craft, with a light front end and a water outlet coming out far behind. Add precise steering and stability thanks to a low profile and you get a watercraft that is not only practical but exhilarating, especially when you drive standing up.

For many, the Monterey 318 SC offers the best of all worlds. We appreciate the quality of its finish, the attention given to detail and its great polyvalence. It is a pity that only a few constructors offer this type of watercraft. Even Monterey seems not to believe in it anymore.

Review boat provided by: Groupe Performance Marine


Test model : 2010 Monterey 318SC
Test engine : 2x MerCruiser 350 MAG - Bravo one
Base price : $135,141
Price as tested : $135,141
Manufacturer's warranty : 1 year
Planing time : 6.5 seconds
Planing speed : 25 mph (40 km/h)
Competitive models : Chaparral SSi Cuddy Cabin 275 SSi, Formula Sun Sport 310 Sun Sport, Rinker Captiva Cuddies 296 Cuddy
Strong points : Sporting behavior
Cabin layout
Half Cabin
Weak points : Lounge seat for passenger
Limited space in the engine compartment
Model discontinued

Editor's rating

Fuel consumption :           Economical twin engine
Value for price :          
Styling :           Good styling
Comfort :          
Performance :          
Overall :          

Performance data

800 4.80 - - 7.72 5.68 1.36 N/A
1000 6.30 3.20 1.97 10.14 12.11 0.84 279 miles / 451 km
1500 8.70 - - 14.00 - - N/A
2000 11.00 9.00 1.22 17.70 34.07 0.52 173 miles / 279 km
2500 19.20 - - 30.90 - - N/A
3000 33.30 17.40 1.91 53.59 65.87 0.81 271 miles / 435 km
3500 39.70 - - 63.89 - - N/A
4000 48.50 28.20 1.72 78.05 106.75 0.73 244 miles / 392 km
4500 52.00 - - 83.69 - - N/A
5190 55.50 47.00 1.18 89.32 177.91 0.50 167 miles / 269 km