Pick a modest budget for a runabout (say, $50,000), think about which builders that will let you shop, and Cobalt would probably not come to mind. That kind of money doesn’t get you far with a top-shelf builder. But, what if you learned that you could have a Cobalt for that kind of money? Theoretically, the new Cobalt CS1 costs less than 50 grand—freight and dealer prep add to the $47,559 base price—but it doesn’t skimp on what you expect from a Cobalt. The CS1 is what Cobalt calls one of its “gateway” models, meaning, this is how you get into a Cobalt on a reasonable budget. The idea behind that is that once you own one Cobalt, you’ll own nothing but.

The Cobalt CS1 sends a powerful message that you can aspire to a Cobalt even with a modest budget. The powerful part of that message is that you can buy one, not check a single options box, and have something you can use and enjoy for years.

The Cobalt CS1 sends a powerful message that you can aspire to a Cobalt even with a modest budget. The powerful part of that message is that you can buy one, not check a single options box, and have something you can use and enjoy for years.



On looks alone, the CS1 sells itself. Cobalt has a knack for producing boats with an understated, luxury, less-is-more look that makes its products stand out in a crowded marketplace. Simple, elegant gelcoat choices deliver the Cobalt aesthetic without adding to the price. The CS1 is available 10 color choices for the hull sides and swim platform at no extra cost. It doesn’t sound like much, but plenty of other builders charge more for that kind of choice.

Now, if you know how boats are built, you’ll appreciate the transom of the CS1. When boats are laminated, they have to be “popped” out of the mold. As much as the molds are made to release the hulls, it can be a difficult process. The “tumble-home” and concave shape of the CS1’s transom requires that the hull be popped up and forward to release from the mold, rather than just up. You would think a boat builder might look for ease of production in price-point models, but that isn’t the case with the CS1. The company went the extra mile to give entry-level buyers something unique. The aft end of the CS1 looks like nothing else on the market, except for its larger sibling, the Cobalt CS3, and it’s an innovative shape that really sets the boat apart from the masses.

The base model comes with a Volvo Penta 240 SX V6, a Bimini top, and a mooring cover. I always think those two pieces of canvas should be standard on all boats because they’re so essential to enjoying and maintaining a boat, but not every builder includes them. Cobalt also included its proprietary swim step in the list of standard features. It easily could have bolted a telescoping ladder on it and called it good, but the company is again giving the entry level buyer a feature introduced and found on more expensive models.

Inside, the CS1 has all the hallmarks of a Cobalt boat: French-stitched dashboard upholstery, bespoke gauges set in a powder-coated aluminum panel, and high-quality switch gear.

Inside, the CS1 has all the hallmarks of a Cobalt boat: French-stitched dashboard upholstery, bespoke gauges set in a powder-coated aluminum panel, and high-quality switch gear.



The interior is laid out smartly, with a two-up observer seat fitted with a reversible backrest. The rear bench gives way to a walk-through to the swim platform, with a generous stowage compartment on the port side. There’s also a jump seat behind the driver and a bow area with ample stowage and an honest-to-goodness anchor locker.

The CS1 is evidence that Cobalt is serious about luring entry-level buyers to its brand—and keeping them.

Other Choices: The Bryant Calandra is another example of a good-looking bowrider in this class; it’s slightly larger, and carries a slightly higher price tag. The Sea Ray 210 SLX is another boat comparison shoppers will likely see. The Four Winns TS222 may also be of interest, particularly to those who enjoy watersports.

For more information, visit Cobalt.

See Cobalt CS1 listings.
Specifications
Length22'6"
Beam8'6"
Draft3'1"
Deadrise20 degrees
Displacement3,400 lbs
Fuel capacity50 gal.

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