Access More Boat Tests

Captain's reports and/or test numbers for this model are archived.

To Get full access to this content, please:

login   or   Register

Robalo R160 (2019-)

1 x 70-hp Yamaha 4-stroke

Brief Summary

The new Robalo R160 offers a practical alternative to the used boat market for the young boating family. Besides the inherent merits of the design and standard features, the price point is just as appealing -- just $20,695 with a 50-hp Yamaha and a single-axle trailer. All topside hardware is 316 stainless steel, as on the builder’s larger boats. The R160 uses many of the same components, and much of the same careful attention to detail found on her bigger sisters. For those interested in fishing closer to shore, the builder designed the hull with a modest 10” (.25 m) draft, allowing buyers to fish in areas that larger center consoles with deeper deadrise designed for offshore use can't reach.

Key Features

  • Helm panel with weatherproof toggle
  • Aluminum framed acrylic windshield
  • Console storage
  • Insulated bow fishbox cooler with overboard drain
  • Helm seat cooler with reversible backrest
  • 16 gallon cooler in console with overboard drain
  • Aft jump seats that fold into a casting deck
  • Aluminum Trailer with LED lights
  • Aft storage
  • Rod storage

Test Results

600 3 2.6 0.3 9.83 8.55 106 92 57
1500 5.1 4.4 0.55 9.18 7.98 99 86 79
2500 7 6 1.35 5.15 4.48 56 48 83
3500 16.2 14.1 2.35 6.89 5.99 74 65 89
4500 25 21.7 3.25 7.69 6.69 83 72 89
5500 31.6 27.4 4.65 6.78 5.9 73 64 90
6100 35.1 30.5 6.15 5.7 4.96 62 54 90


Length Overall 16' 4'' / 4.98 m
Beam 7'
2.13 m
Dry Weight 1,600 lbs.
726 kg
Tested Weight 2,056 lbs.
933 kg
Draft 27''
69 cm
Draft Up 10''
25 cm
Draft Down 27''
69 cm
Deadrise/Transom 15-deg.
Max Headroom open
Bridge Clearance 5' 1''
1.54 m (max)
Weight Capacity 880 lbs.
399 kg
Person Capacity 6
Fuel Capacity 12 gal.
45 L
Water Capacity N/A
Total Weight 2,056 lbs.
933 kg


See the price by becoming
a BoatTEST member.

Acceleration Times & Conditions

Time to Plane 6.0 sec.
0 to 30 15.2 sec.
Ratio N/A
Props N/A
Load 2 persons, 1/2 fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear
Climate 85 deg., 88 humid.; wind: 0-5 mph; seas: flat

Engine Options

Tested Engine 1 x 70-hp Yamaha 4-stroke
Std. Power Not Available
Opt. Power 1 x 50-hp Yamaha 4-stroke T50LB 20''
1 x 70-hp Yamaha4-stroke F70LA 20''
1 x 90-hp Yamaha 4-stroke F90LA 20''
4 Mercury 4-stroke engines from 40-hp to 90-hp

Captain's Report

Robalo R160 running shot
The Robalo R160 has an LOA of 16’4” (4.98 m), a beam of 7’ (2.13 m) and a draft of 10” (.25 m). Our test boat was fitted with the 70-hp Yamaha 4-stroke engine.


The mission of the new Robalo R160 is quite simple: chart new waters for the builder at a smaller length at a very attractive price point. The R160 has a shallow draft that combines stability. We think the boat may perform better than some others in her size range, especially the sponson hulls and flats boats which have less effective deadrise forward.
Her second mission is to be versatile -- a good sportboat for towing watersports or to be a swimming platform as well as for fishing.
Finally, because of the low price and 10 year hull limited warranty, the R160 competes with used boats on price -- but everything is new.


Improved performance is also a result of the transom being well forward of the hull bottom running surface. Since the engine is bolted to the transom, the boat’s center of gravity is effectively further forward which allows her to get on plane more easily and at a lower speed. The boat is also less sensitive to weight shifts aft, such as when a couple of people are standing in the stern to play a fish or handle a towing toy.

V-Plane Hull

An extended V-Plane hull extends past the engine. The longer running surface adds buoyancy aft when the boat is at rest, and it adds planing surface when the boat is running at speed. This extra waterline length also reduces pitching and thereby makes the boat more comfortable out on the water. There is 22'' (0.56 m) of freeboard. The transom is composite cored to help eliminate the possibility of rot and delamination.
But for many, what will make this boat especially appealing against the used boats in the same price range will be the 10 year limited boat warranty, along with whatever warranty is offered by Yamaha at the time of the sale. The end result allows first time buyers as well as anglers looking for a 16' (4.87 m) center console an opportunity to get into a well built and well-appointed boat at a reasonable cost.

Major Features

• Extended V-plane

• Hydro Lift multi-angle hull design

• Stainless steel hardware

• Optional folding windshield

• Easy access gas tank

• 10” (.25 m) draft

• 10-Year Limited Warranty

Features Inspection

Robalo R160 transom

The above picture highlights how the V-Plane carries aft past the actual engine mount on the transom. Also notice the aft casting platform finished in Diamond Lustre non-skid.


Extended V-Plane.

Robalo designed what it calls an extended V-Plane, creating a running surface that stretches aft of the engine. This gives the R160 an edge over some competitors. For a given beam, the longer the hull’s running surface -- the more the boat’s weight is spread out, which decreases “bottom loading”. This in turn makes the boat plane more easily, even with a heavier load onboard, and with more people and gear back aft. There’s less bow rise when coming up on plane, so visibility ahead will be better as well.

Hydro Lift Multi-Angle Hull Design.

This is what Robalo calls the hull strakes found on most planning hulls that deflect spray, add lift to get the bow out of the water, and break water flow away from the bottom to decrease drag.


The R160 weighs in at 1,600 lbs. (726 kg), while other 16’ (4.87 m) center consoles weigh in from 1,000 lbs. to 1,600 lbs. (454 kg to 726 kg). More weight means slightly more comfort, but it also slows any planing boat down somewhat (the buyer has to pick one or the other).


The R160 has 22'' (0.56 m) of freeboard for her length. Remember, she's still a 16 footer (4.87 m). All of Robalo’s offshore boats have generous freeboard, in fact, for their size, compared to other brands. This adds weight to the boat, but her weight is well spent, creating a safer and more seaworthy boat capable of heading a little further out on a given day.

Robalo R160 running shot

The R160 has a Kevlar reinforced keel designed to cut through water with ease. Single lifting strakes located on either side of the keel run the entire length of the hull.


The bow of the R160 boasts a large casting platform finished in what Robalo calls Diamond Lustre non-skid. The platform itself doubles as a hatch over a self-draining insulated compartment that's good for storing cold drinks or bait out on the water. Stainless steel grab rails add a measure of safety for those riding in the bow or console seat, and an optional high stainless steel bow rail is available in place for added security forward ($369).

Robalo R160 bow

A stainless steel pull-up cleat is standard at the bow for anchoring and mooring. We’d like to see a pair of cleats in the bow. For fishermen, Robalo has a list of a la carte options, including wiring for a trolling motor ($313), as well as a forward pedestal seat.

Robalo R160 cooler

A large insulated self-draining cooler is good for keeping cold drinks or storing bait for the day. Also note how the hatch closes on a rubber gasket, minimizing rattling out on the water.

Helm Area

Forward Console Seat.

Moving back toward the console is a built-in forward seat with bolster. The bolster itself is removable, providing access to an electrical fuse panel as well as onboard storage for emergency gear. The buyer also has the option of adding a seat cushion ($119), depending on the mission.
Underneath the forward seat is a lid that when removed, reveals a 16 gallon (60.5 L) cooler with an overboard drain. The builder also offers an optional package containing six rod holders and a livewell in place of the 16 gallon cooler ($244). On either side of the console, the builder added blue LED courtesy lights for added safety during evening cruising.

Robalo R160 livewell

The forward console seat is shown above with an optional livewell system and six rod holders.

Robalo R160 forward console

The forward console seat bolster easily removes, revealing a wide cut out that provides easy storage and access to emergency gear and electrical components.


Robalo designed a full height acrylic windshield featuring an aluminum base for added strength and support. This rugged frame doubles as a safety rail for passengers standing next to the helmsman when offshore. An optional fold-down windshield ($457) reduces the boat’s height, which comes in handy when storing the boat in a garage, while also decreasing bridge clearance from 5’1” (1.54 m) to 3’11” (1.19 m).

Robalo R160 windshield

Shown is the acrylic windshield. We like how Robalo uses a thick aluminum frame to support the windshield. Notice the LED navigation lights located on the side of the helm to increase visibility to other boats and it keeps the bow area clean and free of obstructions.

Leaning Post/Ice Chest.

A built-in 70 quart (66.3 L) insulated cooler doubles as the helm seat with a reversible leaning post. The reversible leaning post adds functionality to the cockpit, allowing for two people to sit facing aft at the helm seat, and talk with guests back in the aft jump seats. The leaning post and cooler lid are finished in a premium expanded and stain-resistant upholstery vinyl. We like how Robalo added a non-skid recessed footrest under the cooler for added security and better balance when standing aft of the helm seat and facing forward in offshore conditions.

Robalo R160 seat cooler

The built-in insulated 70 quart (66.3 L) cooler is finished with stainless steel hardware and top-of-the-line stain-resistant upholstery vinyl. It also has cut outs in the top to snugly fit two 5 gallon (19 L) buckets.

Robalo R160 leaning post

A reversible leaning post makes for comfortable conversing with people seated aft, or for watching the baits or even skiers.


On the top of the console we find two recessed storage nooks with drain lines for smaller items. These pockets are perfect for keys or a cell phone. We think the optional compass ($75) is really a must have for any boat. Also on the helm console is a stainless steel no-feedback steering wheel along with dual stainless steel cup holders and a grab rail.
For more comfortable operation at the helm, a tilt steering wheel ($106) is available. The helm area is built for exposure to the elements, including labeled water-resistant toggle switches with tinned copper wiring and waterproof connectors. Robalo also left room on the dash for added electronics, including the Garmin 741SX GPS Map ($1,394) offered as an option by the builder.

Robalo R160 arrows

The arrows indicate the non-skid recessed nooks and the water resistant toggle switches.


Jump Seats.

Robalo designers make good use of space aft, with jump seats with storage below that fold flat, creating non-skid surfaces for standing on to cast or step off the stern. Both seats are assembled with heavy-duty hardware, and premium, stain resistant vinyl upholstery. Dual stainless steel grab rails and matching stainless steel cup holders are in easy reach aft. On the port side there’s enough room below the seat for the ever popular 5 gallon (19 L) bait bucket, and to starboard there is room for life jackets and swim gear.

Robalo R160 jump seats

Notice the heavy-duty hinge used on the aft jump seats. On the starboard side there is a standard battery on/off switch so the batteries don’t drain down when the boat is left unattended -- an excellent feature -- and unexpected in a 16-footer.

Robalo R160 casting platform

When folded flat, the owner gets a flush casting platform aft finished in Diamond Lustre non-skid. Also note the location of the stainless steel grab rails and drink holders.

Robalo R160 bucket

A 5 gallon (19 L) bucket fits securely inside the port side storage compartment -- and there’s even an indentation for the bucket handle. The composite-structure and dual piano hinge on the jump seat are more evidence of Robalo’s commitment to quality.

Easy Access Fuel Tank.

One of our favorite features on the intelligently designed boat is the portable fuel tank with fiberglass lid above. The 12 gallon (45.4 L) fuel tank lid above also doubles as the center section of the casting platform. This set up is infinitely easier than having to disconnect and slide a gas tank around in the boat when approaching a marina or filling up on the trailer. While the R160 is already miserly on fuel, Robalo offers an optional 18 gallon (68 L) fuel tank ($206) when greater range is wanted.

Robalo R160 battery

The hinged fiberglass cover provides easy access to the portable gas tank, and creates a casting platform to boot.


An aluminum trailer comes standard with the new R160, and it comes with 14” (.35 m) rims, a hand winch, and LED submersible lighting. A swing-away tongue is also standard and allows buyers to fit the R160 in smaller garages. An aluminum trailer upgrade package includes brakes, which we highly recommend, and in fact we wouldn’t leave home without them since they are so essential to quick, controlled stops ($483). Should the buyer not want the trailer, or have a lift to place the boat on, the builder will remove the trailer from the package (-$1,200) for a $1,200 credit.]

Robalo R160 trailer

We like how the builder went the extra mile and added a tongue jack, guides, and plastic fenders for added durability.


The base Robalo R160 comes with a Yamaha 4-stroke T50LB 50-hp 20” shaft. For more power, which is always a good idea on boats of this size which have such a high percentage of passenger weight when loaded, the 4-stroke F70LA 70-hp should do the job ($21,801). For those folks who may want more power, a 4-stroke F90LA 90-hp ($23,019) is available.

Robalo R160 outboard

Our test boat was fitted with the middle Yamaha F70LA 70-hp with a 20” shaft, which most dealers are ordering for stock.

The T50LB 50-hp would likely be okay when the boat has just one or two passengers and light gear, but the 70-hp is the way to go for most purposes. Just look at our test numbers.
It is important to remember that this is only a 16’ (4.87 m) boat, and a cruising speed of 25 mph is a prudent, economical and safe way to operate.


The Robalo R160 comes standard with the Yamaha 50-hp 4-stroke plus trailer for a base price of ($20,695). At this price point the buyer can take the boat out for a spin and get good use out of her right off the dealer’s lot. With that being said, the options below are worth consideration--

• A ski tow rail is an excellent investment for those interested in watersports or added functionality ($469)

• A Bimini top with boot is essential as center consoles are not well known for shade and protection from UV rays ($744)

• The Garmin 741XS GPS map ensures buyers always know where they are even after dark ($1,394)

• A console cover protects all electronics from UV exposure and deterioration ($457)

• If the buyer knows that they won’t be using the forward gunwale, the wrap-around stainless steel bow rail provides an added level of safety ($369)

With all of those options taken into consideration, a well-equipped R160 would cost around $23,228. The $3,500 price increase adds protection for the boat, as well as protection for the buyer who plans on using it. For us, essential upgrades would include the trailer brakes and the larger outboard.

Robalo R160 running shot

Even in tight turns with some chop, the Robalo R160 handles like a much bigger boat.

Performance and Handling

Two big contributing factors to the performance of the R160 are Robalo’s trademarked Hydro Lift multi-angle hull design and its extended V-plane running surface. While our test boat was fitted with the 4-stroke Yamaha 70-hp outboard, we achieved plane in 6 seconds flat. We passed through 20 mph in 8.7 seconds and 30 mph came in 15.2 seconds.

Our top speed

was 35 mph, sipping a mere 6.1 gallons per hour, giving us a range of 62 statute miles with the standard 12 gallon (45 L) fuel tank. There is an 18 gallon (68 L) option if the buyer is interested in extending their range and/or time on the water.

Our best cruise

came in at 25 mph, turning 4500 rpms with a range of 83 statute miles.

Robalo R160 running shot

Our test captain on one of his high speed test runs.


The Robalo R160 achieved her mission of creating an accessible boat at a very appealing price point. Ride quality is a function of hull form, weight and length, for the most part, but for a 16 footer, this boat will provide good service, and will likely outperform the gull wing and cathedral hulls in her size range.

Robalo R160 idle shot

Our test boat came with the wide band Sea Foam Green hull option, however, the Robalo R160 has many other hull colors to choose from.

When comparing hulls, the finer the entry and the more deadrise there is in the forward half of the hull, the smoother she will run in a chop. For a given bow-to-motorwell length, this boat will provide good performance with the hull’s running surface, or bottom, extending aft of the engine.

Related Boats

Bay/Flats Boats

Robalo R180 (2019-)

1 x 115-hp Yamaha four-stroke