XO DFNDR 8 sea trial review: Nordic four-season boat with mind-blowing performance

At the 2023 Finnboat Floating Show, Motor Boat & Yachting's Alex Smith got the chance to take a test drive of the XO DFNDR 8...

A traditional Nordic-style commuter boat with impressive driving capabilities, the XO DFNDR 8 is well worth a closer look and at the recent Finnboat Floating Show we jumped at the chance to get behind the wheel.

It’s available with 400-450hp of outboard power in either twin or single engine set-ups, but our test boat was equipped with twin 200hp outboard engines for a top speed approaching 50 knots.

However, it was the ferocious pickup and excellent grip that impressed us most about the XO DFNDR 8, allowing for effortless control and maneuverability. Its trim sensitivity, controlled by a trim switch, provided an engaging and thrilling driving experience, allowing the skipper to elevate the bow or carve through the water with exhilarating G-forces.

The boat’s efficiency was also noteworthy. It boasts an impressive fuel consumption rate of around 1.8 liters per nautical mile at 35 knots and remained efficient even at its top speed, consuming just 2.9 litres per nautical mile at 47 knots.

The DFNDR 8’s cockpit features a symmetrical layout with evenly-sized swim platforms on both sides and a retractable bridge connecting them. The spacious and comfortable cockpit offers a single bench, facing forward, which could accommodate up to three people.

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The pilothouse features a soft concertina sunroof that allowed natural light to flood the interior, giving it an open and inviting ambiance, while the helm boasts impact-mitigating seats for a comfortable and secure driving experience. An adjustable wheel and a 16-inch chartplotter added to the boat’s impressive helm setup.

While the traditional Nordic commuter layout might not perfectly align with the UK market’s preferences, the XO DFNDR 8 proved to be a high-performance boat with surprising versatility. We were pleasantly surprised to discover a soft half bulkhead option that integrates the interior and exterior spaces more effectively.

Additionally, a hidden toilet enhances the boat’s practicality for family use and recreational purposes. Overall, the XO DFNDR 8 impressed us with its exceptional driving experience and practical features, making it a great choice for watersports enthusiasts and those seeking a high-performing and entertaining day boat.

XO DFNDR 8 specifications

LOA: 26ft 3in / 8.03m
Beam: 8ft 3in / 2.53m
Engines: Twin 200hp Mercury outboard
Top speed: 50 knots
Starting price: €216,000


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