Sea Ray did a customer feedback study. Not surprisingly, the company discovered that boaters were looking for more… more space, more seating and more luxury in an open bow dayboat. It responded with the SDX 270 (formerly known as the 270 Sundeck).
By narrowing the gunwales, along with a few other design features, it created a spacious boat that can seat 15 people underway in seating that rivals the luxury of the company’s SLX line. Available in both sterndrive and outboard versions, we recently tested the sterndrive version and here’s what we found.
- Abundance of available shade via the standard arch with Bimini or an optional watersports tower with articulating Bimini
- Full-beam cockpit floorplan
- Comfortably seats 15 people while underway (yacht certified)
- Convertible seating, including sun pad/aft-facing transom lounger
- Stereo with wireless Bluetooth for easy control of audio devices onboard
- Submersible swim platform option
- Enclosed head compartment with portable head, vanity and sink
- Bow with port and starboard loungers with hinged cushions and fold-down armrests
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||3.5 sec.|
|0 to 30||8.5 sec.|
|Load||2 persons, 1/2 fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear|
|Climate||59 deg., 84 humid.; wind: 0-5 mph; seas: calm|
1 x 300-hp MerCruiser 6.2L
1 x 300-hp MerCruiser 6.2L MPI ECT Bravo III with DTS
1 x 350-hp MerCruiser 6.2L MPI ECT Bravo III with DTS
1 x 380-hp MerCruiser 8.2L MPI ECT Bravo III with DTS
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The Sea Ray SDX 270 has always been an example of Sea Ray’s responsiveness to customer feedback. And basically, the call was for more… more seating, more space, more social areas and more storage. In our opinion, she answers the call for more useable space with seating for 15 people underway. Multiple social zones throughout the boat welcome large gatherings. Storage is seemingly everywhere.
Options allow the customer to either keep lots of seating or sacrifice some of it for a cockpit wet bar with sink and refrigerator. All in a boat that includes upscale features and performs like a Sea Ray was meant to. New color schemes are offered for this model year and the buyer can choose from a standard graphics package, two-toned ($1,538) or three-zone ($2,231) package. Available colors are Onyx, Sea Ray Blue, Mojave Tan, Rally Red, Horizon and Mahogany.
With the standard 300-hp 6.2L MerCruiser turning the Bravo 3 outdrive, we reached our top speed of 44 mph at 5300 rpm. At that speed, we were burning just a hair over 23 gph, giving us a range of 112 miles. Best economy seemed to come in at 3500 rpm and 28.3 mph. That speed brought the fuel burn down to 8.8 gph and the range up to 188 miles.
This boat has the feel of the large boat that she is. While she’s neither the heaviest nor the lightest in class she does feel like a heavy boat, providing a solid ride with none of the bounce of a lighter classed vessel. Customers in this class are more interested in comfort and less about top-end speed. Her base 300-hp engine, also our test engine, is a testament to that. That said, she accelerates with a mild bow rise and docile feel that will have no one forced back into their seat or tossed to the aft section of the boat. Of course for those that need the comfort and speed to boot, there are options for a 350 ($7,154) or 380-hp ($13,308) upgrade.
Turns were equally comfortable with no prop ventilation, but instead, she maintained her bite throughout the turns. She does lose speed during the turns so if towing, be prepared to add a touch of throttle. Then back off when returning to straight and level. Maximum bank angle was 18 degrees, which we did not find to be uncomfortable at all.
Trim does not seem to be a concern unless top speed is needed. We played around with it at different speeds and barely noticed a difference. Of course, when on our test runs we did fiddle with it to get to the peak speed. Other than that, even an uneven distribution of weight didn’t seem to generate the need to reach for even the tab controls.
The earth tones at the helm, which are now part of the new color choices from Sea Ray, continue in this case, with mocha. A darker visor is just above the panel with a compass alongside. Below, two SmartCraft gauges are to either side of open space accommodates the Raymarine chartplotter ($1,538). An upgraded version is available that also integrates with the engine systems and Fusion stereo for full touchscreen functionality for the gauge readouts and entertainment ($2,538). Below, toggle switches control the electrical system. The leather-wrapped wheel is mounted to a tilt base. To the side, the DTS controller includes a single press engine start/stop button.
There are really three main themes of this boat… hosting a lot of people, holding all the items they tend to bring aboard, and keeping them in upscale comfort. Let’s touch on these points one at a time.
Plenty of Seats
The bow is always the most popular area anytime a boat is underway and this one is made exceptionally comfortable. The seats are wide at the aft ends making for an open feeling area. As the seats move forward, the layout elongates to allow occupants facing each other to not have to be concerned with knocking knees together. Both aft seats have armrests that flip down, and we prefer this method over flip-up types as they don’t have to be released from a latched position to stow. Add a bow table ($500) to increase the functionality.
Fully forward there is a concealed beach-reboarding ladder and a freshwater shower is just alongside for rinsing off the sand before coming aboard. The forward most cushion lifts to expose a non-skid step to the bow ladder.
The cockpit is sure to be the main social area as it’s just so roomy and can easily accommodate a large number of people. An offset entry from the swim platform is angled to allow the seats to be placed in an opposing fashion, which we’ve shown time and again provides a welcome conversational atmosphere.
L-shaped seating to port leads forward to a doublewide observer’s seat that includes a seat back to convert from forward facing to aft. The helm seat also converts in the same manner by greatly expanding the capacity of the seating as a whole. Behind the helm is an additional bench seat. Drink holders are conveniently located, a snap-in carpet is standard and a standard cockpit table makes the area even more enjoyable.
Having the ability to hold more people means that they all have to have a seat. Sea Ray couldn’t just make the seats smaller and add more of them, it had to create more space for actual seats. What Sea Ray has done is to keep the beam a friendly 8’6" (2.59 m) but narrow the gunwales to provide more interior space. Now we not only have increased seating capacity, but with the seats being 42” (106.68 cm) apart, the occupants are not knocking knees when sitting across from one another.
Boarding is normally done by stepping onto this one platform and through the starboard-side walkthrough. This works fine when tied to a floating slip, but when tied to a fixed pier then it would be better to remove the port side corner seat cushion to reveal a nonskid step up to the caprail. To the starboard side, a flip-down step serves the same purpose.
The aft seating is really the key feature to enjoying the SDX 270 at any time that it isn’t underway. This three-across seating provides a comfortable place to relax while watching the kids in the water, or the sun dipping below the horizon. It’s not only comfortable but can be made more so by lifting the center of the leg supports to form a contoured chaise. Certainly, neither we, nor Sea Ray, recommend ever using this area while underway, but while coving or at anchor it’s an ideal area to relax.
Behind the aft seating is the swim platform, coming out 2’8” (.81 m) from the transom, so it has plenty of room for playtime. On our test boat it was covered in SeaDek non-skid matting ($654). There are two grab handles to the aft edge and the usual swim ladder is to starboard. However, we love the new manual swim step ($1,846) that flips out from the center of the platform. It provides a stair into the water that is both people and pet friendly.
Storage is a theme we really need to touch on because any boat that’s designed to hold as many people as this one is will surely need the storage room to accommodate their stuff. On the SDX 270 it starts at the bow. Under all three sections of seating is roomy storage with the side compartments being accessed from cushions secured to articulating hinges. These compartments are both insulated and self-draining so go ahead and fill them with ice and drinks.
As we move back to the walkthrough, there’s the usual storage inside the helm console, plus this is where the stereo is located. Under the stereo there’s an MP3 port and accessory plug, and then a shelf for resting the player, or phone in while charging, all in a protected environment. At the side of the helm is a compartment with a leather flap held closed by a magnetic catch. This is a surprisingly convenient spot and it too has an accessory plug inside.
Moving back into the cockpit, all of the seat cushions are hinged, allowing access to the storage underneath. To port, there is dedicated storage for the two removable pedestal tables (standard cockpit/optional bow). To starboard is additional storage, and instead of having this compartment accommodating a carry-on cooler, on our test boat, the compartment itself is the cooler. This insulated compartment is fitted with an optional cockpit cool box ($1,177) that brings the temperature of the contents down and keeps it down even on the hottest of days. This is literally a cool feature that we are happy to see.
Even More Entertaining
Sea Ray offers an option to increase the entertaining capability of the SDX 270. A cockpit wet bar ($769) can be positioned in the aft port corner of the cockpit that includes an integral sink and faucet. It takes up a little bit of one seat, but for some, it’s a fair trade.
Sea Ray also added three in-deck storage compartments, one in the bow, one at the cockpit and one at the transom walkthrough. The bow and cockpit compartments are the largest measuring 36” (91 cm) long x 11” (27.94 cm) wide and 9” (22.86 cm) deep for the bow, 11” (27.94 cm) deep for the cockpit. Both are lockable, so go ahead and leave the expensive board inside.
At the walkthrough, this wet storage compartment makes a great place for throwing the mask, fins and snorkels in addition to the wet bathing suits. All of these compartments prevent water from entering by having recessed channels surrounding the perimeter, leading to a single drain directing water overboard.
We stated that this is a premium-level deck boat and we meant it. There are several carry-overs from Sea Ray’s upscale SLX line that can be seen here. At first glance, there’s the fact that all the vinyl is color-matched with fields that bring out the color choices of the boat itself. Then there are the diamond-stitched patterns that Sea Ray became so proud of in the SLXs. Additionally, we’re seeing multiple tones of vinyl as well as varying materials. Recessed into some of the bulwarks is a new material that was recently introduced by Sea Ray, Ultravinyl. This has the soft field of Ultraleather but is much more resilient to the elements. And of course, there’s the sheer volume of stainless steel everywhere we look.
Of course, no premium-level boat would be complete without an enclosed head compartment. On the SDX 270, it’s large enough to serve as a changing room. The Porta-Potti is standard. Upgrades include a pump-out head ($231), a VacuFlush head with a 10-gallon (38 L) holding tank ($2,077), and an upgraded faucet and countertop ($538). Overhead clearance in this compartment was 4’2” (1.27 m) off the deck, with 2’9” (.84 m) above the seat.
Certainly watersports will come into play at any time the SDX 270 is away from the dock. An optional watersports tower is available ($4,615) that provides an elevated towpoint for wakeboarding and an interesting note about this tower is that the bimini top is fixed to a frame that resides above the tower. Optional wakeboard racks can be placed in a space above the tower, yet still below the Bimini top. The attach point for the towline is 7'2" (2.19 m) above the deck, but we would also like to see this located below the Bimini top so that attaching the towline will be easier.
The tower is collapsible for lowering the profile of the SDX 270 for improved storage. However, for those who are truly interested in keeping a lower profile we would also opt for the tower with a pivoting Bimini top frame ($5,385) that will allow the Bimini to rotate to a flat position just above the collapsed tower.