Since the first bowrider rolled out the factory doors on March 25, 1991, Southern Illinois based Crownline Boats has grown to become one of North America’s best-known fiberglass boat brands. Today, the company offers a diverse lineup of more than 30 different models including bowriders, cuddy cabins, cruisers and small yachts.
While it has long been associated with sterndrive power, Crownline also manufactures a growing lineup of outboard-powered models – including its all-new Eclipse E4 XS, modeled after the already popular E4 sterndrive model. By combining the versatile layout and comfortable amenities of its popular Eclipse line with the advantages afforded by outboard power, Crownline has come up with what promises to be a major winner – especially for boaters here in Ontario, who often like to enjoy the water early or late in the season.
Why the move toward outboards? Thanks to some innovative engineering, modern V6 and V8 outboards now provide comparable power to sterndrives, but at a fraction of the weight, which means faster top-end speeds, quicker time to plane, and significantly better fuel economy. New four-strokes and direct injection two-strokes don’t smoke like your parents outboards did, and they’re easier to maintain than a sterndrive – an important consideration here in Ontario, where we need to put the boat into winter storage each year. Outboards also allow more interior cockpit space since the engine is bolted to the back of the transom, rather than mounted in front of it.
The E4 XS was a natural model for Crownline to offer with outboard power. The sterndrive version has long been one of the company’s most popular models, with its stylish design and seating for up to 13 passengers. That seems a bit surprising given the boat’s open layout, but you don’t have to spend long aboard the E4 to realize there’s a lot more to this boat than meets the eye.
The main cockpit utilizes an innovative and elegantly styled, L-shaped bench seat with comfortable, ergonomically designed high seatbacks for optimum comfort. Stretching across the stern and forward along the port side, it faces a wide companion seat located along the starboard side of the cockpit, creating a spacious area that’s ideal for lounging or conversing.
One example of this boat offering more than meets the eye can be found on the transom portion of that big L-shaped cockpit seat. Look carefully and you’ll notice a small button located on the seat base which operates it electrically, allowing it to convert from a traditional forward-facing transom seat to an aft-facing sun lounge. Hold the button down a little longer and it goes completely flat, creating a spacious sun pad. In its sunpad or aft-facing lounge position, this is the ideal spot to dry off after a swim. The large swim platform with its soft touch finish includes a stainless steel four-step boarding ladder and a ski tow as standard equipment, along with a transom shower to spray the sand off your feet and help keep the boat interior clean. A transom walk-through allows easy passage back into the cockpit without disturbing anyone flaked out on the sunpad, while a convenient storage compartment to the port side of the swim platform is the ideal spot to store wet ski tow ropes and other similarly sized items.