The XO Cruiser grabs your attention from the second you set eyes on it. It is a fantastic-looking machine with taut lines and a menacing stance, particularly in the black- on-black colour scheme of our test boat.
The hull, as with all XOs, is aluminium, but the GRP deck makes for a less utilitarian feel on board and a smattering of creature comforts. That’s the key to this boat – despite its razor-sharp hull and thumping great pair of 350hp Mercury Verados on the transom, it is probably the most leisure-focused boat that XO has ever produced.
Though the yard’s cabin boats are fantastic year-round tools, the Cruiser is much more effective for dayboating in good weather and entertaining guests. Given the narrow beam the designers have to play with they’ve had to be smart with the deck layout to maximise its usability. Article continues below…
With its rollcage and tenacious-looking matt-black shell, does the XO DFNDR live up to its road going counterpart?
We put the super-tough flagship of the XO Boats range to the test in a choppy sea trial off Poole
The unit in the aft section is a good example as it plays the part of seating, sunpad and wet bar. Thanks to adjusting cushions and a folding mechanism, the forward-facing bench folds forward to create a two-person sunpad, but it’s at the aft end where the clever stuff happens.
Lift the cushions here and they reveal the wet bar complete with sink, grill, top-loading fridge and some wooden storage trays designed to hold cutlery and other cooking tools.
There are changes that need to be made to make the cockpit arrangement more workable and it isn’t the easiest boat to crew given how sparse the foredeck is and that it can only be accessed through the windscreen.
However, for its size, it’s one of the most capable production boats on the water that comes with a brilliantly comprehensive standard spec that includes items that most owners would always choose.
Read the full report in the September 2017 issue of MBY.