2018 Sea Ray build quality review

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by paulswagelock, Jul 9, 2018.

  1. paulswagelock

    paulswagelock Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2010
    pa
    2018 SDX 270 OB 300 Verado
    Verado 300
    I have owned many boats since 1985 including Bayliner, Larson, Maxum, Chaparral, Regal, and a few Sea Rays. I ordered a 2018 SDX 270 to replace my 2008 Slx 270. I have had it several months now, and wanted to offer up my experience, and see what others who purchased newer Sea Ray boats experience has been.

    I ordered the SDX 270 with the 300 Verado outboard, vacuflush, tan interior, woven vinyl floor, seadek, docking lights, bimini, full covers, trim tabs and some other goodies.

    Let's first start with aesthetics. It is a visually pleasing boat with a black hull, tan upper stripe, tan interior, brown swim platform, and black bimini - lots of compliments everywhere I go.

    Performance - the Verado 300 is a perfect match for this boat. It leaps on to plane, zings along quickly, and does it without making any noise. Smooth, quiet. It rides and handles well also.

    Usefulness - well designed boat. TONS of storage with the outboard. Great seating layout. A day with 10 adults is fine and not overly cramped. The layout is why I decided to order the boat and it works perfect for the way we use it.

    Materials - here is where I notice the first shortcoming. The surfaces are nice, but just barely. The vinyls are mid grade, the flooring is mid grade, the fabrics mid grade, all of the materials seem mid grade. I understand this is their crowd-pleaser series, not the SLX series, but it still retails way into the 6 figure price tag. I expected better. The longer I live with it, the more I notice things are not as nice as they were in my 2008 SLX or the Chaps/Regals/Cobalts/Montereys I have been on.

    Build Quality - Some corners were cut in the way they upholster with no batting around the backer boards, the stitching on my cockpit cover has already needed redone in a few spots, the steering wheel stitching started to pull out - all small items but added up paints the picture. The gel coat is ok, but not spectacular. The boat had several rattles that I needed to fix - all simple design issues that were not hard to remedy. Some latches needed adjusted after the first few uses. The wiring is not particularly neat or organized - again not bad, just not premium. Some of the rubber seals on the hatches started to pull away. The details in the finishes are lacking or mediocre.
    Overall, the quality really seems average. Compared to my last Sea Ray - definitely lesser.

    Support - I purchased the boat at a dealer near a summer home that I sold, so now I am 4 hours from him. They were fine, but not great. The boat is cleaner after 4 months of using it then when I took delivery. I did not press the issue because I am super particular and no one ever lives up to my expectations with cars, boats, etc. The local dealer to my full time house is an hour away, but I have not needed to engage them yet. Sea Ray corporate has been terrific for support, answering questions, helping during the manufacturing process, etc. A+ for that team.

    So the important part - brand loyalty. My last three boats have been Sea Rays including this one. I didn't even really consider another brand, partly because the layout of this boat suits us perfectly for this phase of life, and I had great experiences with the previous 2 SR's. There were a few other distant choices, but I hardly spent any time investigating those offerings other than price/feature comparison. I will absolutely go look around if I decide to replace this one.

    So my review if I had to score it on a scale from 1-10, 10 being the best, is probably a 7.
    I want to love the boat, but I worry how things will hold up over the long haul. This is likely a boat I part with in 4-5 years while everything is still nice and do it again. Time will tell.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
  2. Little Ducky

    Little Ducky Well-Known Member

    Jun 5, 2017
    Dickson, TN / Chattanooga, TN
    1998 290 Sundancer
    Twin EFI 5.0L w/Alphas
    Kohler 4kW
    Good review.

    Lets hope things pick up in the details department with the restructuring of SeaRay.

    I had a 2011 260 DA for almost 5 years and it was a good boat but I had some items fail early one........ jump to today when I went retro and purchased my current 1998 290 DA and it's a rock solid performer. I can't put my finger on it but it just feels like a better made boat.
     
  3. ygbsm

    ygbsm Member

    72
    Aug 22, 2016
    Knoxville, TN
    2015 230 SLX
    350 Mag/ Bravo III
    Thanks for posting. I wonder if you’d been happier with the SLX interior. I’ve been comparing the SDX 250 v the SLX 250 and the SLX interior is much nicer. The SDX is a lot cheaper though, and the layout appears superior.

    I would definitely be interested in your updates to this thread as you get more hours on the boat. I will be interested to see if the materials hold up and if the build quality meets your satisfaction.
     
  4. paulswagelock

    paulswagelock Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2010
    pa
    2018 SDX 270 OB 300 Verado
    Verado 300
    I wanted an outboard this time. If the SLX 280 had outboard power, then I would have ordered it, although the bow seating is cramped compared to the SDX.
     
  5. ygbsm

    ygbsm Member

    72
    Aug 22, 2016
    Knoxville, TN
    2015 230 SLX
    350 Mag/ Bravo III
    How is the handling compared to your 270?

    Which has the better ride?
     
  6. paulswagelock

    paulswagelock Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2010
    pa
    2018 SDX 270 OB 300 Verado
    Verado 300
    The SLX was a little heavier and I could feel the difference. The SLX also had slightly better side to side stability but that really might be the difference of a 496 in the bottom of the boat versus the outboard with high center of gravity.
    My crew says they can't tell a difference in ride, but I would give a slight nod to the SLX.
     
  7. paulswagelock

    paulswagelock Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2010
    pa
    2018 SDX 270 OB 300 Verado
    Verado 300
    After 2 more months of use, here are a few more items:
    Small seat cushion is loose and the screws are not accessible - need to glue it down
    One side of the dash lights stopped working - researching this now but likely a bad 12v-100v inverter on the EL wire
    Few more loose screws - some can't be tightened as they just do not bite

    So still all small items, but paint an overall picture of the lack of quality in the details.

    But the boat has a terrific dayboat layout and aesthetic design.
     
  8. paulswagelock

    paulswagelock Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2010
    pa
    2018 SDX 270 OB 300 Verado
    Verado 300
    Small update for other owners and buyers.
    I tested out the max capacity for the boat this weekend. I had 14 adults on it. Surprisingly there was enough room and seating them wasn’t that bad. It came on to plane really easily, effortlessly actually.
    However, with all the weight in the bow (sometimes 6 were up there) the anchor locker drain goes under water and allows water to build up in the locker.
    Also, we had a torrential rain earlier in the day, so this might be the cause, but the bilge pump kicked on while we were out for 60 seconds or so - Maybe longer. It has never kicked on automatically before. Not sure if it was from the rain or anchor locker water getting into the bilge.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2019
  9. paulswagelock

    paulswagelock Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2010
    pa
    2018 SDX 270 OB 300 Verado
    Verado 300
    Spent the day on my friends SDX 270 (same as mine but with an IO).
    The difference in ride and stability is noticeable since I now have 2 seasons experience on my outboard version.
    The IO boat sits deeper, rocks a bit less side to side, doesn't need trim tab adjustment nearly as much, and feels heavier in big chop. To the casual rider none of this is noticeable, but I noticed it quickly. The biggest difference is the side to side (rocking) being less. I think the tunnel SR added at the rear of the transom out to the outboard (22" or so) adds rear buoyancy and creates a slightly less stable platform.
     
  10. El Capitan

    El Capitan Active Member

    470
    Jul 9, 2014
    Chicago IL./Vero Beach, Fl
    1970 SRV 180 w 2.5L Mercruiser.
    2000 Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer
    120HP Mercruiser
    IMHO I think this is the case for everything that’s engineered and manufactured today.

    My 1970 Harley is more reliable and better built than new ones.

    My 2000 Ford truck is more reliable than new due to complexity of VVT engines by Ford.

    My 1970 SRV180 has original engine, interior, teak steering wheel, vinyl seats and carpet.

    I doubt we’ll see 50 year old SR’s, 50 year old Harley’s and 20 year old trucks in future.

    This is result of new economy. Things are built w a cost/quality ratio vs quality/quality.
     

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