Rodman 1090 Evolution review: Rugged cruiser gets a contemporary edge

Rodman is renewing its focus on its leisure boat range and the first new model to land in the UK is the Rodman 1090 Evolution.

It’s no secret that with such a blooming commercial and military operation Rodman’s eyes have wandered away from the leisure market in recent years but that is about to change. The first new boat in the range is the Rodman 1090 and, as the Evolution name suggests, it is a development of the Rodman 1040, though there is more to this than a splash of hull colour and a new name.

The capability of the 1040’s hull was never in question so that stays the same but the Rodman 1090 gets striking hull windows in the topsides that run from the bow amidships and fire light into the forward master cabin, guest bunk cabin and wet room.

The overall look is less sportsfisher and more contemporary wheelhouse cruiser with a significantly increased glass area and a side door adjacent to the helm to supplement the sliding cockpit doors. As standard the boat comes as a coupé with a Webasto sunroof but there is a flybridge version available too.


The door by the helm makes single-handing much easier

There are two twin diesel engine options with either 260hp or 300hp per side running through straight shaftdrives. It’s a traditional set-up but it lends the boat a planted feel and a solidity out on the water that belies its 35ft (10.7m) LOA.

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There’s plenty of grunt from the 600hp on offer aboard our high-spec test boat and it skips on to the plane to a cruise of 22 knots, consuming 47lph. This is a comfortable and economical cruising speed with noise levels kept in check at 75db with the aft doors shut. The engines get a little raucous at the top end, especially with the aft doors open, but at cruise all is well.

Up to speed

It takes just 10 seconds to reach 20 knots and 10 seconds later we hit the top speed of 30 knots where the boat feels comfortable enough to sustain a cruise if you’re in a dash to get home. Sound levels just shy of 90db at this speed aren’t great but a 116lph fuel burn isn’t too bad for the odd occasion when you may wish to run at this pace.

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There’s very little drama when you heave some lock through the wheel, especially when the boat is kept in line by Humphree’s excellent auto trim system. Even with that deactivated the boat turns flat and though there is very little heel it whips around at a decent rate. Southampton Water didn’t serve up anything to challenge its seakeeping but the wash of passing ferries was dispensed with ease.

It’s a boat that has a solid air throughout, from seakeeping to interior finish. It’s not particularly luxurious and feels plain in places considering the boat on show at Southampton 2019 cost over £300,000, but there’s no question that it’s built to last.

The driving position is fine when seated – the main issue is an uncomfortably hard seat with a low backrest – but it’s very easy to stand because there is such good headroom within the wheelhouse. The helm is unfussy and the layout is sensible with the major controls in easy reach.


The dashboard is a bit plain but it’s clearly laid out and suffers little glare

At first glance the new side door looks to be set a little high but with the wooden step below it’s easy enough to board the port side deck from the saloon. This a major plus point over the 1040 and one that makes crewing and ventilating the saloon that bit easier.

The darker wood options than the oak on our test boat would probably look more expensive but the light timber helps to brighten up the lower deck. The two cabins and bathroom now benefit from far more natural light than before and though the second cabin is too tight for a pair of adults to stay longer than the odd night it’s ideal for kids.

The master cabin fares better and has a nice mix of glazing from the long windows either side to the opening eye-level ports and extended hatch overhead. The heads is a good size but in order to contain water when showering there is a large lip on the bottom of the doorframe that’s all too easy to catch your foot on.


LOA: 35ft 1in (10.7m)
Beam: 11ft 3in (3.44m)
Engines: Twin Volvo D4 260hp/300hp
Top speed on test: 30 knots
Fuel consumption at 20 knots: 56lph
Range at 18 knots: 163nm
Fuel capacity: 710 litres
Price from: £252,000 inc VAT
Price as tested: £305,053 inc VAT

First published in the November 2019 edition of Motor Boat & Yachting.