Overview. We’ve long been impressed with Riviera Yachts ability to not only seek out customer feedback, but act on it as well. Each new iteration of yacht it builds is consistently better than the one before it, and because those improvements are based largely on customer feedback, the changes are for boaters and from boaters.
More importantly is the fact that the fit and finish that makes these yachts so impressive remains intact throughout the lineup. There’s just a “wow” factor that makes the ownership experience with a Riviera so enjoyable.
With the 525 SUV, all the ingredients of a luxury yacht are not only well represented, but coupled with the utility of an offshore fishing rig that has the ocean going pedigree to bring the fight to the fish. It’s this sort of utility that lets this beautiful yacht earn the moniker… SUV. The Sport Utility Vehicle of the yachting world.
The stern of the 525 SUV successfully blends the concept of the swim platform and aft cockpit into one single level, flybridge scale, utility area. Combined there’s a total of 106.2 ft2 (9.9 sq m) of usable space populated with a large transom and mezzanine style lounges, ample storage, barbecue and wet bar.
Aft there’s a large transom lounge with a forward facing bench seat. Doors to both sides can be opened allowing for full walk-around/work-around capability and unencumbered access to the aft platform. The platform has lift out stainless steel rails to increase its usability, and Riviera offers a number of options to add to it’s utility including custom rod holders, a bait prep station, a bait well with glass front and a shorter lounge with transom storage for dive gear. All this offered in addition to the optional 882 lb. (400kg) capacity hydraulic lift platform to create a private beach and tender storage.
In the deck is a hatch leading to a massive, center-mounted, self-draining, mounded lazarrette locker that is large enough to store cockpit furniture. To the sides of the cockpit are two more hatches over deep fish lockers.
Forward in the massive cockpit is an aft-facing mezzanine seat right out of the convertible sportfish yacht playbook. It’s three-across, upholstered in weatherproof vinyl, and a pedestal table mounted just aft allows for al fresco dining as well as conversion to a sunpad/daybed.
Just forward is another feature seen on larger convertible sportfish models, a double-plated refrigerated coolbox and self-draining bin. We can also access an emergency manual bilge pump and a lockable cabinet housing the battery switches and electrical control panel.
An entertainment center is to starboard. A lid lifts with the help of a gas strut to reveal a double barbecue with stainless steel backsplash. There’s also LED lighting, an icemaker, sink, solid surface countertop and plenty of storage.
Overhead, the hardtop extends well aft to cover a sizable portion of the cockpit, and owners can opt to add an extended canvas and acrylic awning with stainless steel frame for added protection from the elements.
The bow is accessed from side decks to both port and starboard and thoughtfully placed handrails allow for a safe transition. The top of the trunk cabin can be fitted with an optional sunpad.
At the working end of the bow is the ground tackle running through an extended pulpit. An opening in the center of the pulpit is fitted with stainless steel. The windlass is mounted vertically. We’d like to see a chain stopper to take the load off the windlass when the gear is deployed.
The rode locker is just ahead of a collision bulkhead running from the keel to the underside of the deck. A pair of deck hatches allows access to the locker and the all chain rode.
As we move in to the interior, the forward bulkhead of the cockpit separates the interior from the exterior. This bulkhead consists of tinted, tempered glass door in a highly polished stainless steel frame. Alongside is a large glass awning window that opens up the cockpit to the galley, further reinforcing the galley and the entertainment hub of the 525 SUV.
The U-shaped galley is to port and located between the cockpit and salon. The overhead cupboards have a two-tone finish trimmed in satin finished oak. Riviera offers high-gloss or satin Cherry, satin Teak, or satin beach as an option.
Only the finest appliances are featured. Standard appliances include a two-burner electric cooktop with pop-up fiddles, a convection microwave oven, and owner can choose an optional drawer dishwasher in close proximity to the stainless steel sink. Opposite to starboard are two refrigerated drawers, a freezer drawer, a beverage cabinet with access from the cockpit, and built in drawers for glass and bottle storage.
Rod storage is above the galley in a concealed cabinet and this further solidifies the 525 SUV’s dual purpose as a cruising and fishing machine.
The salon is ahead, and the walkthrough is offset to the starboard side providing more available space to the galley. The area consists of opposing conversational seating with an L-shaped lounge to port and a three-across sofa to starboard. A table to the port seating is expandable and mounted to a hi-lo pedestal for easy conversion from a dining table, to a coffee table, and ultimately to a bed.
The starboard seating also has versatility. The center section slides out to become an ottoman in addition to additional seating around the dining table. The remaining two seats have a table that lifts out from under the cushions to form booth style seating for additional dining space, or even a work station.
To further blend the inside with the outside a large awning style glass partition opens to combine the aft deck with the galley. Inside are luxurious appointments with the finest fabrics and leathers.
Overhead is a pair of Webasto opening sun roofs fitted with Ocean Air screens and blackout shades. These, combined with the opening windows and aft door and awning window, literally bring the outside in.
The helm represents Riviera’s commitment to embrace new technology whenever possible, and as such, the modern panel features glass cockpit functionality with a pair of 17” (43.2 cm) Raymarine hybrid touch displays. From these screens the operator can control the display to show all navigation information including GPS, sounder, radar and auto-pilot. As it’s fully integrated into the Volvo Penta EVC system, the engine readouts can also be brought up on these screens.
Both screens are also fully integrated into the ships standard C-Zone system that allows for control of all the vessels electrical functions as well as monitoring systems. This is augmented with manual push-button switches for items needing more immediate access such as horns, nav lights, etc. Additionally, a separate touchscreen control is located at the salon entry and an iPad can control the system from anywhere onboard.
C-ZoneA C-Zone control pad is located at the helm and down below. They offer DC and AC switching and over-current protection. Full systems monitoring (with alarms) including AC voltage, current, frequency and kilowatts, DC voltage, current and remaining battery capacity, along with fluid tank levels and indication for systems in operation, is clearly displayed on the 3.5” (8.89 cm) touchscreen at the helm and 8.5” (21.59 cm) color control screen at the salon entrance. There’s also the option of additional iPad connectivity, so you can control CZone from anywhere onboard the yacht.
A subpanel to starboard has the IPS Joystick (another is located at the cockpit), the digital engine controls, trim tab rockers and the autopilot controls. As the joystick is integrated into the EVC (Electronic Vessel Control) system it also supports joystick steering. However, with the joystick being so far forward in the sub-panel, this isn’t an ideal scenario. Moving the joystick well aft in this panel would allow it to be used from the seated position much better. It would also allow the stick to be used while standing to the starboard side of the helm allowing a better view of the stern and starboard side for docking. This would then make the port side cockpit mounting point for the remote joystick a more attractive alternative.
Finally, the functionality of the helm is completed with the addition of a pair of low-back leather helm seats that include flip up bolsters and flip-down armrests.
Lower Deck Accommodations
The lower deck is accessed from a companionway to the starboard side of the helm and Riviera makes a versatile layout that offers a three stateroom/two head arrangement with an owner able to choose from either a master forward or aft, both with an ensuite head.
The standard layout with the master stateroom aft on the port side features the queen-sized bed allows walk around capability and includes both drawer storage and a large under berth locker. Two bedside tables and a large hanging locker supplement the storage. Wood treatments add a pleasing contrast to the bright coloring and the headboard features an ornate wood centerpiece with dual mirrors to the sides. LED lighting is in the overhead.
There’s a gorgeous display of elegant fabrics, leatherette, and satin oak with teak accents. Large hull side windows provide plenty of natural light and an opening portlight adds ventilation when the air conditioning is not necessary. Open portlights are alarmed to the C-Zone system at the helm.
The ensuite head is just forward and features a vessel sink atop the solid surface counter. A frameless walk-in shower includes a teak lined seat. An overhead deck hatch allows light and ventilation and Ocean Air blackout shade adds privacy when desired.
With the option of making the bow stateroom the master the VIP is as equally well appointed as the master. A queen sized island berth has access to both sides with drawer storage below and over the two hull side windows. The hull side windows and overhead deck hatch maximize natural light. A 22” (56 cm) TV is connected to a Samsung home theater system.
The ensuite head is as well appointed as the master, again with this stateroom being options as the master this isn’t surprising. In the standard layout, this head also serves as the day head.
Access to the engine room is via a hatch at the cockpit mezzanine seating and entry to the salon is still accomplished with the hatch in the open position.
The 925-gallon (3500L) fuel tank is mounted on the centerline so that burning fuel will have no effect on the 525’s balance. Underwater exhausts along with thermal and sound reduction liners to the engine room keep the operation quiet.
While we have not tested this model, the test team at Riviera has and reported their findings.
With the standard Volvo Penta IPS 800 the 525 SUV topped out at 30.5 knots. Best economic cruise came in at that speed as well with the 63.9 gph fuel burn resulting in a 397 nm range.
With the IPS 950’s she topped out at 33.5 knots with best cruise at 28 knots. It is at that speed that the 59.37 gph fuel burn produced a 390 nm range.