From the hand-stitch panelling to the stainless brow on the screen, the Crownline 240 SS is all about style, quality and a boat that your mates will take a second look at. Barry Thompson took the first 240 SS LPX in the country for a run on Auckland Harbour and discovered there is more to boating than going fishing.
Like most Kiwi boaties, I am a keen fisherman, and my current boat is set up for nothing else. However, there was a time when fishing was not my only water-borne pleasure. I brought up three boys who were mad keen on wakeboarding and also family picnics to the islands of the Hauraki Gulf, Mercury Islands and the Bay of Islands. Fishing was one of our activities but for my three sons, not number one.
They started on tubes and kneeboards and graduated to being damn good at wakeboarding and wake surfing. So when I reviewed the 240 SS LPX, my mind returned to those earlier years. While fibreglass bowriders, such as the Crownline SS series, are not mainstream in New Zealand, in the USA they are commonplace. Crownline is just one of those, and while they have a considerable reputation for quality and have built over 75000 boats, they are only now being recognised in New Zealand and Australia. That’s thanks to Terry Elmsly, the founder of Euro City Marine. When he launched the company three years ago, he did it in style and wasn’t afraid to buck the local trends.
One of the first brands he imported was Crownline and its fishing- orientated partner Finseeker. Success took time, but the Crownline and Finseeker names have been spreading, and in the past few years, despite Covid, sales have been steady and growing. Plus, not only did he secure the distribution rights for NZ but also for Australia and several countries in Sth East Asia. “It’s hard to bring a new brand to market, especially one that many Kiwis feel doesn’t suit their needs”, says Terry. “However, we have made some good inroads into the smaller cruiser market and also our Finseeker fishing boat range, and I feel confident that the Crownline SS bowriders will also find their niche following”, he added.
I have already reviewed a couple of the more ski/wake dedicated Crownline bowriders, but that’s where the 240 SS LPX is different. This multi-tasking sport boat will appeal to anyone wanting a fun craft that oozes style, comfort and pizzazz. The Crownline 240 SS is one of eight models in the SS series, with SS standing for super sport. It makes sense when you look at any of the boats in the range. They are designed for performance and having fun on the water. While they are not dedicated wakeboard, wave or ski boats, in their style, they are suited to the casual enthusiast of any of the above.
The 240 SS is around midway in the fleet, which starts with the 6.15m 200 SS and runs through to the 8.79m 290 SS. They are all sterndrive powered and bowriders. The 240 SS was released simultaneously as the 210 SS and 240 SS and featured Crownline’s newest additions to the range, such as extended custom windshields to offer better protection in the cockpit. However, the 240 SS stands alone with additional features such as a new board assist ladder, wrap-around stern seating and a seat assembly in the bow that hinges up to expose a massive storage area.
The first 240 SS in the country is one of two models in the LPX series, which has custom LPX graphics and a low-profile black LPX windscreen, giving the boat a racey look. LPX translates to luxury, performance and extras and delivers in all three areas. As the brochure says, the bright hull graphics and solid colour gel coat are not for the shy or introverted. Our boat was finished in a bright orange, or as Crownline like to call it, Moonstone. There are other colour options available for both the hull and interior. While the LPX Series has been around since the ’90s, Crownline has taken them to the next level with the release of the Gen 2 version. The layout is the same as the 240 SS, and it’s just the cosmetics and profile that changes.
The 240 SS LPX is based on Crownline’s performance- proven FAST Tab hull. The acronym stands for fin- assisted safe turn. In practice, a FAST Tab hull’s vented chines aerate the running surface to reduce drag, and the fin-like tabs keep those vents from producing handling quirks. The hull sticks flat and tight in turns, is responsive to trim, and gets loads of air under it at speed. The hull starts at 39 deg entry and tapers aft to 19 at the transom, with and a wide reverse chine that helps lift the boat onto the plane and maintain a low spray angle at speed. Four engine options exist for the 240 SS LPX, from the Mercruiser 6.2 litre @ 300hp to the Mercruiser 8.2L @ 430hp.
Our boat was running a 350hp Mercruiser 6.2 litre with DTS controls, plus the Corsa quick and quiet plus thru-side exhaust. Flat out, I saw close to 40 knots (46mph) on the GPS, and it felt like it wanted to go faster. This boat eats horsepower, and I would go all the way and drop in the 430hp option if it was my boat. I found the boat was at home cruising around 30 knots (34.5mph) and even at towing speeds it felt like it could do it all day. Visibility from the helm is excellent, as is the driving position. An adjustable wheel and seat allows you to position yourself in the best position. There is the option of a rear mounted mirror or even a stern camera to keep in touch with anyone you’re towing.
Crownline has caught the finer details with this boat, and I was impressed with the built-in boarding assist handle that drops in the centre walk-through. This folds flat when unused, and a cushion covers the entire step-through area. This also allows you to have a full-width sunpad or a couple of seats facing aft.
Great place to keep an eye on the kids in the water. A U-shape rear lounge, plus a pair of adjustable bucket seats forward, dominate the cockpit. The impact- resistant bucket seats with bolster cushions on both are part of the Gen 2 package. Another cool feature of the cockpit is the LED lighting, spreading throughout the boat and extending through to the transom and underwater. Plus, there are stainless steel drink holders everywhere. Forward of the passenger seat is a locker which can be used for storage or is big enough to double as a cooler bin. Finished in a diamond stitched pattern tri-colour upholstery with snap-in carpets, the finish and presentation are exceptional.
You have the option of faux teak on the sole, which would be my choice. A side table which is stowed under the cockpit sole can be fixed either in the bow or stern areas. There is storage under the squabs, a water toys locker in the centre of the cockpit sole and side trays. But wait, there’s more. When you raise the aft sunpad, you get access to the Mercruiser, dual batteries, and a couple of extra storage lockers. Add these to the ones in the bow, and it is easy to see that Crownline has made the best use of all the available spaces.
The Gen 2 dash has a black shrouded double stitched eyebrow over two 7″ Garmin screens. The console has it all, distinguished by the billet machined alloy accents with push button switches that illuminate at night.
I have always been a Bowrider fan, and no one does it better than American brands. They made it an art form, and the 240 SS LPX shows that. The seats are thickly padded, shaped to be efficiently designed for maximum comfort and finished to the highest quality. There is an infill that transforms the entire bow into one sunpad.
A drop in solid panel stops most of the wind from funnelling through the walk-through into the cockpit when underway. The bow seats hinge up to give access to generous forward storage and an anchor locker forward. While this only comes with pop-up side cleats and no fairlead, you can get a custom- made bollard and fairlead arrangement made locally. The anchor locker also has enough space for a small drum winch.
The stern features a large boarding platform, or as Crownline like to call it, a social swim platform, and comes with a drop- down ladder that stows below the platform, so you don’t kick your toes on it. The same goes for all the deck cleats, which can be popped up when required. There is also a hand-held transom shower to wash off all that salt water. While a range of forward-facing wakeboard towers is available, complete with fore and aft-facing biminis, if you don’t want that option, there is a built-in ski tow mount on the transom.
The platform is perfect when stepping into your bindings or jumping off with your surf skate. Two of eight Wet Sound speakers are nearby to boom out some decibels to get you in the mood. If you are in the market for an American style mutli- functional bowrider then the Crownline 240SS LPX is worth considering. There are a number on the market in New Zealand and the Crownline is certainly right up there amongst the best of them.
- Boat Design Name Crownline 240 SS LPX
- Year Launched 2023
- Price As Tested $NZ279,995
- Style Runabout
- Builder Crownline Boats
- LOA 7.26m
- Beam 2.59m
- Deadrise 19 deg
- Displacement (Dry) 2300 kg kgs (Approx)
- Max Speed 40 knots
- Construction GRP
- Fuel Cap 163 litres
- Engine Make Mercruiser 6.2 Litre 350
- MFD 2 x Garmin 7”
- Ent System Wet Sound