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You could easily say Riviera have a new boat in the 505 SUV…

by John Curnow, Editor, 23 Dec 2019 14:40 PST

Yes you could easily say Riviera have a new boat in the 505 SUV… It is pretty evident from her hull form, and it’s not just her pointy and blunt ends either. Nor her integrated bowsprit, and brilliantly useful mezzanine deck cleverly nestled under the coachhouse roofline with large windows stylishly integrated into her overall profile. Did we even stop to talk about the really, really large through hull ports?

Funnily enough, all of that is probably not giving you the full deal here, for there is a subtle, but noteworthy paradigm for a single level boat that is on display in the 505 SUV. She is a genuine 34+ knot boat, with the 725s as fitted here on test, and cruises at 29 knots, sipping just 7.6l/nm for your pleasure, and providing you with amore than decent effective range of 390nm.

Yet all of that is not complete either. She is part motor yacht, part sport yacht, part recreational vessel, part family entertainer, and the one thing she definitively carries forward is her bluewater credentials. The extra flare up for’ard, and ample freeboard will attest to that, as too her build quality. If you want to see what that all means, please see our review from when we took five Riviera’s down from the Gold Coast to Sydney.

Even still, all of the above misses out on the quietness of hull and diesels, the sure-footedness, the joy, and the ease of operation. So in the end it remains that the 505 SUV is one hell of a lot of boat packed into 50 feet, and that suits a lot of pen (slip) sizes, and people not wanting to have to handle a 60, 70 or 80-footer.

So to gather some idea as to what that very joy feels like, please watch our two and half minute video from on board just last week, when we grabbed the keys for a couple of hours before she got shipped to Miami in readiness for their show from February 13 to 17, and her World Premiere. When you’re done, please read on.

To then put more detail into the words above, we’ll start from the outside and work our way in and down. She is smart and handsome, elegant and refined, without stepping too far from a very successful theme that has seen Riviera deliver in excess of 130 SUVs thus far.

The added flare and freeboard to the topsides not only allows for more room below, but the biggest ports they have ever used in the hull, and the glass that fills them is the very same thickness as the matt and resin that holds her all together. Far from excessive, these are very much part of the ‘new’ deal, and as for the light they provide below in the Master Stateroom, Master en suite and walk-in hanging closet, the VIP Guest Stateroom, and the day head, even the third cabin… well let’s simply say get on board to see it all for yourself.

Interestingly, that integrated bowsprit is sort of the first thing to give you the tip that the 505 SUV borrows from her larger Sport Motor Yacht sisters. From the water you could say big deal, but on deck, it is so clean and simple, effective, carries a huge pick, makes all sorts of activities like putting a snubber on so easy, and then to port there is an integrated wash set up, with controller for the winch. It’s just right. Seems to have been thought out by boaters.

As you walk aft you notice how wide the decks are, and the bulwark extends well into your shin height. Little critters, whether they are human, canine or feline will feel safe, and bigger folk don’t feel like they are on a balance beam with taped ankles and resin on their feet as they place one foot in front of the other to progress forwards.

The large foredeck sun lounge has storage under it, and indeed that is a word you can use throughout the whole boat. So much so that the weight police might have to go over the boat every now and then to ensure the suckling pig just has the apple in its mouth.

At that very point you get to see another masterful idea. Why not create a walk around deck in front of the expansive windscreen, so that you do not have to trample over the foredeck to put covers on, or traverse from side to side. It is smart, and just like a raised pilothouse craft of old, it will be used a lot.

Out aft the cockpit is large and really well appointed. The transom doors swing right out for a total package, and if you have the optional hydraulic boarding platform that will take a huge tender, then I reckon your boat will become the go to party boat in any anchorage. There are BBQs, fridges, icemakers all nestled away cleverly, and we mentioned storage before, well there’s heaps of that too.

The hatches are over the gearboxes for the pods, and the one amidships is directly above the optional gyro stabiliser as well, and that’s all very handy for servicing. In the centre of the mezzanine deck there is the large engine room hatch that I think comes from the 68 Sports Motor Yacht. Access to go see the Iron Ladies and ensure their fluids are correct is easy, and the space afforded the girls is also terrific from an access point of view.

It is amazing just how big the mezzanine is as well. For there is a dinette to Port immediately aft of the upward opening galley window, and a movable stool for even more seating. To starboard the lounge converts to a full day bed, and overhead the electric sunroofs open for even more airflow. Should you be in a cooler climate, then it can all be zipped up, and you’re still enjoying the final frontier (space – a Trekkie in joke, sorry).

Moving inside, the galley and an L-shaped dinette are to Port, with the helm up for’ard to Starboard, ahead of the lounge that has an Ottoman that converts to a coffee table. There’s storage, storage, storage, and that’s before you get to the galley, which has all the crockery and glassware held in place in cabinets and draws. There are two drawers for refrigeration, and yes you can have more to starboard and in the mezzanine if you wish. It is at this point that I think I will have to have a cook up as part of my next review. There it is. I’ll even bring the food and wine!

Up for’ard is the VIP Guest Stateroom. It is light and airy with an island queen bed that has good walk around access to the sides (courtesy of that flare we mentioned earlier.) It has it’s own access to the second head, but without doubt the thing you get to notice here is the longitudinal LED strip lighting that goes right throughout, and accentuates the flush mount grab rails so well placed into their high gloss casings. Nice.

The day head is amazing and it is not that long ago that to have that in the Master would have been considered brilliant. Immediately aft is the third cabin with twin Pullman beds, the lower of which utilises the huge through hull window with opening port to ensure you don’t at all feel like you have entered a cave. Lock the door and there is ample room to change, so if two extra couples join you, it is not like one of them got the short straw.

The Master has a chaise as well as the bed, a capacious head, and the wardrobe we mentioned earlier. Lock the door hear, flick the TV on, and see the backs of your eyelids, with strict instructions only to knock when there is food involved, or water ingressing the hull.

As for the drive, well once again I absolutely did not use the autopilot. Too much fun on offer... She turns in well, dropped to around 24 knots from 30 when we asked her to go back on herself, which she did in a little over two lengths, and canters like some thoroughbred that has been rested in the paddock for too long, and runs along the driveway when a car goes past.

Spray goes well aft, and her running attitude of four degrees or so is delightful. The interceptors are fully automatic, or you can adjust for yourself. You can see what that’s all about in our review of the Riviera 4800 Sport Yacht.

I think I would have the pair of Volvo Penta’s IPS950s (725hp). It is not about the five knots of extra top end. It is about that canter we just talked about, and with a real 27-29 knot cruise all day every day, you’ll blow the nautical miles away effortlessly. Yes it is at a price, everything is, but the 10.8l displacement, with twin entry turbo with supercharger and air-to-air intercooler as well, makes these sixes both powerful and efficient, and as green as possible too.

If working offshore, I think the tale of 2500nm of torque a side, over the 2100nm available with the lesser girls is also a compelling factor. The impact on your consumption from the 3300l on board would appear to be negligible (given they won’t have to work as hard), and we will check that out as soon as one of the smaller engined craft gets produced.

Most of the big-ticket options on our boat were the donks, the swim platform, teak decking out aft, then interceptors and DPS. By and large, you’ll probably want them too, but you won’t have to worry about AC, icemakers, ovens, and refrigeration, because they are all included.

Riviera’s 505 SUV starts at AUD1.6M, and we tested in at just shy of AUD1.9M. For sure that’s a lot of gorillas, but I think I can say it’s still great value. Now for me to go and find said primates…

There is one thing I can certainly point you in the right direction of, however, and that’s extra information, which is available from here.

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