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August 10, 2012

Pioneer 222 Sportfish

Pioneer's new 222 Sportfish exudes quality

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Even from a distance, the clean, classic lines and open, fishy layout of the new 222 Sportfish from Pioneer Boats beckoned me near. And the closer I looked, the more I liked the 22-foot center console, as the fit and finish proved uncompromising in quality. The fiberglass work was immaculate: Joints fit tightly, the undersides of all hatches were gelcoated, and the bilge and console interior featured full liners. This was my first encounter with a Pioneer boat, and based on my first impression, I hope to climb aboard more in the future.

TARGET MARKET: An easy tow with a half-ton truck, the 222 Sportfish is ideal for saltwater anglers who want the flexibility to fish the blue water or the bays, and occasionally enjoy watersports with friends and family. Best of all, this boat can do it all while enjoying outstanding fuel economy. Powered by the new DF300AP from Suzuki Marine, the Pioneer 222 attained 4.25 mpg at about 31 mph, albeit in calm water with a light load. Our top speed was nearly 53 mph, convincing me that the 222 is no slouch when it comes to performance.

FISHIEST FEATURES: The leaning-post-style helm seat has four rod holders built into the backrest, as well as a 32-gallon live well with a latching clear-acrylic lid incorporated into the seat base. You’ll also find stainless-steel toe rails in the cockpit for angler security in rough water, with coaming pads along both gunwales to protect your thighs. The optional T-top with hardtop features an electronics box, seven rod holders and twin aft-facing spreader lights. The console’s helm has plenty space to flush mount a 15.5-inch multifunction LCD display.

THE LAYOUT: Anglers will love the transom design because it maximizes cockpit space astern for fishing, yet also retains a full bulkhead to help keep following seas out of the boat. To help ease the task of cast-netting for bait or fighting a fish around the bow without snagging a line, the stainless-steel bow rail is recessed into the gunwale and the two pull-up bow cleats remain flush when not in use. An elevated bow deck offers extra height for throwing a net.

FINAL IMPRESSIONS: The 222 offered a dry ride in two- to three-foot waves, its deep-V hull knifing smoothly through head seas and responding smartly to the Teleflex Sea Star hydraulic steering and Suzuki digital throttle. The all-composite, hand-laid fiberglass hull also felt remarkably solid with nary a rattle or creak. I found the hull very sensitive to trim-tab adjustment – you don’t need much tab to influence the attitude or balance. If you’re comparing top-quality, well-finished trailerable center-console boats, there’s now another name to add to your list – Pioneer’s 222 Sportfish.

SPECIFICATIONS

LOA: 22 ft. 1 in.

BEAM: 8 ft. 6 in.

DRAFT: 1 ft. 2 in.

DEADRISE: 20 deg.

WEIGHT: 2,400 lb. (w/o power)

FUEL: 105 gal.

MAX. POWER: 300 hp OB

 

SUZUKI 300 HP FOUR-STROKE

TYPE: V-6

DISPLACEMENT: 245.6 cid

MAX RPM: 6,300

HP/LB RATIO: 0.497

GEAR RATIO: 2.08:1

WEIGHT: 604 lb.

ALTERNATOR OUTPUT: 54 amps

MSRP as tested: $65,699

 

PERFORMANCE AT A GLANCE

TOP SPEED: 52.9 mph

TIME TO PLANE: 5.4 sec.

0-30 MPH TIME: 10.4 sec.

BEST MPG: 4.25 @ 31.3 mph (4,000 rpm)

MAXIMUM RANGE: 446 miles