Riviera has been making waves lately with hot introductions like its 53 Enclosed Flybridge, but the 32-year-old Australian builder also passed some significant milestones this year when it announced the completion of hull number 5,000 and the launch of the 445 SUV. First, it spoke to the builder’s time-tested reputation for engineering dependable bluewater vessels, which is a key point of pride in a country that takes its maritime heritage very seriously. Second, the boat that came off the line was the first in a brand-new series for Riviera so it represented, and was critically eyed, as a culmination of the company’s many years of experience.

Riviera boats

The Riviera 445 SUV introduces a new look, for an all new series of sport cruisers.

That boat, the 445 SUV, recently made its U.S. debut at the Miami Yacht & Brokerage Show, where it proved to mates in the Northern hemisphere that Riviera knows how to make a true crossover model. Designed to be all things to the boat owner with many interests, the 445 is one part express and one part sportfishermen, with features of a flybridge yacht mixed in for good measure.

Riviera designed the 445 after owners of its other models began asking for one craft that could do it all and still offer the robust performance that Riviera is known for. (This builder produces 15 different models from 36 to 75 feet across four model lines.) And of course, the lines would need to be pretty, too. The 445 SUV scores points on all counts and with minimal compromise, yet manages to create something new and fresh in the looks department. It combines the seagoing ride and large cockpit of the Riviera’s Flybridge series with the fishing abilities of its Offshore Express line and the single-level deck of the Sport Yacht series.

That single-level main deck is a critical feature for entertaining. In the deckhouse/salon flexible seating means this space is appropriate for cocktails, dinner, morning coffee or easy conversation. And the salon is open to the helm station forward, so the captain can be with his guests while enjoying the protection and comfort of an enclosed driving station. We like the location of the galley at the aft end of the salon, where it’s just steps away from the cockpit, another good entertaining area (when lines are reeled in) thanks to the mezzanine seat. The interior décor is calming with its warm colors (think champagne, crème, straw, manila, and burnished orange), feel-good fabrics (leather and suede), and American oak accents.

riviera yachts

The interior decor of the Riviera 445 SUV is just as different from its predecessors, and includes a soothing mix of colors and textures.

The 445 can accommodate a family of five overnight in two staterooms, both located amidships to take advantage of the boat’s beam. The master stateroom forward has an island berth, full-length wardrobe and long fixed-hull windows for light and great views. The guest stateroom has three single berths. Two heads–a guest/day head to starboard and the master en suite–separate the staterooms.
Transom Deadrise14.5 degrees
Displacement30,300 lbs
Fuel capacity476 gal.
Water capacity122 gal.

A bluewater-friendly hull that’s backed by a five-year structural warranty carries these creature comforts. The hull is powered by Volvo’s IPS pod-drive propulsion, a system the builder has showcased on a number of new models in recent months. According to Riviera, the company chose IPS for the 445 SUV because it allows the bulk of machinery to be positioned well aft, rather than amidships, allowing the builder to create a relatively compact boat with all the internal space you would expect from a larger sport yacht. At the same time, the blue water capabilities of a Riviera Flybridge or Offshore Express are maintained, if not improved.

As for construction, materials include solid fiberglass below the waterline, structural core material in the hull sides, main deck and hardtop, and resin transfer molded components where required to add strength without excessive weight.

At the Miami show, Riviera reported sales of eight 445 SUVs since its release—quite a strong debut. The solid reception to the new model had salespeople in the Miami booth talking up the coming launch of the 565 SUV, which is slated for release in the spring of 2013.

For more information, visit Riviera.


Written by: Jeanne Craig
Jeanne Craig has been covering powerboats since 1988. She spent ten years as a senior editor at Boating magazine and ten more as executive editor at Motor Boating. She’s now an independent writer based in Rowayton, Connecticut, where she’s close to the cruising grounds she most enjoys.