2023 R4 Outboard

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tonylukes3
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2023 R4 Outboard

Post by tonylukes3 »

Hi everyone,

Finally getting around to posting some pics & a quick review of our new 2023 R4 Outboard. First off, want to thank posters for all the wealth of information on here as it really helped me when researching!

Background: Grew up on boats, starting with an old Wellcraft 19' cuddy, then a Maxum 24' cuddy, then a 28' Regal Commodore, then finally a Cobalt 262 bowrider. Now that my boys are older I figured it was the right time to introduce them to boating & get one for the family. I started looking almost 2 years ago but with the COVID insanity of low inventory/overpriced boats I decided to wait it out until this past spring.
Long story short, came close on a few used boats but ultimately got a really good deal (>25% off) on a brand new R4 outboard.
We primarily boat along Sanibel Island (SW FL) and the surrounding areas, so the size & power of this boat suited us well for our 1st family boat.

Power:
Yamaha F250 XCB w/ digital controls. Was a little hesitant to go with the 250 vs. a 300 but after testing it out it performed well enough, just lacks the top end which I'm not concerned about since we do all our boating inshore or right along the beach. Midrange is strong for a 250 IMO, planes quickly and cruises at 4k RPM / 30mph at just under 11gph. Tops out around 47mph. Only gripe is the smaller fuel tank size at 50 gallons, but given our relatively close range of boating it's not an issue.

Exterior & Handling:
Great boat, quality is on par for the most part compared to our old 262 other than a few minor quality control issues that Cobalt quickly took care of without any questions asked (2 minor gelcoat cracks at transom near cleats, steering wheel center leather separated most likely due to extreme heat last year in SWFL). Handles the rough water well for a boat this size, deadrise feels a tad lower than our old one but not to the point where she pounds and doesn't handle waves well. Turns and handles very nicely, and overall has a solid and secure feel.
The electronic steering with the Yamaha is light but responsive, definitely took a little getting used to vs. the old hydraulic units.
She turns heads every time we take her out, and looks great in and out of the water IMO. Very clean lines and still has a classic Cobalt profile even with the changes they've made to the hull for the outboard series.
Highly recommend ceramic coating, I spent last weekend doing a quick polish & 2-layer coating by G-Techniq Marine (Base & Top Coat) and the gelcoat looks incredible and beads water like crazy.

Interior:
Very nice, with high quality surfaces throughout as you'd expect from Cobalt. The seats are very comfortable and definitely a step above say a Regal LS in this class (which we looked at). Storage is plentiful, with tons of cupholders and under-seat stowage areas. The transom lift-up hatch reveals a huge storage area with pull-out heavy-duty plastic bins, hiding all your cabling/batteries/equipment underneath them. We've had 8 people on the boat (4 adults, 4 kids) comfortably but that's the max I'd put on here without bumping into each other constantly. The seating layout is nice with the L-shaped seating in the aft cockpit area, and the extra wide passenger seat is great for my wife & 1 of our boys while underway.

Electronics:
Once we knew we were going Cobalt, I was dead set with finding one with the upgraded Garmin 8610's vs. the smaller 7 series and I'm so glad I did. The IPS displays are super clear & legible even in the brightest sunlight, and perform very well with no real lag or slowdowns. The ActiveCaptain app is great and connects when I get on the boat to the boat's WiFi, then automatically updates the charts & data. You can set tracks/waypoints/etc. on your phone then have it auto upload to the boat which I find easier vs. trying to do that on the boat itself. The Yamaha gauge screen is my go-to for the right display, showing all the relevant info you'd want and is customizable.

This one didn't have the upgraded Premium audio which was a bummer as I'm a bit of an audiophile, but the base JL speakers are decent enough for now. The Fusion headunit is the newer series (non-touch screen which I prefer) and came with the transom remote. After researching, I found out that you can connect an Ethernet cable from the headunit to one of the Garmin's, I now have full Airplay functionality which is WAY better than Bluetooth connectivity. You must remove the Ethernet/power cable from the transom remote as there's only 1 Ethernet out on the back of the headunit unfortunately, but Airplay is more important to me than transom controls for now. I could probably add an Ethernet splitter and gain both.
I may upgrade to the M6 series speakers & a 6 channel amp or even just adding a sub (currently lacks bass) and amp in the near future if we don't plan on upgrading within a year or two, but for now it's fine for family time out with smaller kids.

Conclusion:
I'd highly recommend taking a look at these R series outboards if you're on the fence. I was a little leery about buying a Cobalt post-Malibu acquisition, but I haven't noticed any real decline in quality here.
I never stop looking around, and now have an R8 with twin Verado's in the back of my mind when we're ready for the next step :D

Hope people find this quick review helpful! Please feel free to reach out with any specific questions and I'll do my best to answer them.

Sal
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2023 R4 Outboard, Yamaha F250
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AsLan7
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Re: 2023 R4 Outboard

Post by AsLan7 »

.
Now that's my kind of intro Sal! Nice job. Great pics too. Sharp colors. Nice options. We have owned a 262 and 263 as well. Maybe this will be our next model. I appreciate your report.

""This one didn't have the upgraded Premium audio which was a bummer as I'm a bit of an audiophile".


Hey we have quite a few audio enthusiasts on the site including myself. Do you have a home system?
And you're right, you could do a few minor upgrades to your system on this R4 and she would be a banger.

Thanks again for posting.

.
2002 Cobalt 262
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Kate
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Re: 2023 R4 Outboard

Post by Kate »

Very thoughtful report and great pics. Thanks.

Do you miss not having a full swim platform?
tonylukes3
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Re: 2023 R4 Outboard

Post by tonylukes3 »

Thanks Kate! I'm sure I will miss it but given that where we'll be doing most of our boating and anchoring out, we typically won't be hanging off the back of the boat but hanging out at the beach/in the water right next to the beach. If I were boating on lakes, I definitely would have gone with the IO. The platform with the outboard in the water is still plenty usable, and I find that the fold down ladder is actually easier to get into the boat if the water is deeper than a couple feet vs. the fold down step IMO.
2023 R4 Outboard, Yamaha F250
tonylukes3
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Re: 2023 R4 Outboard

Post by tonylukes3 »

AsLan7 wrote: Thu Jan 04, 2024 12:37 pm .
Now that's my kind of intro Sal! Nice job. Great pics too. Sharp colors. Nice options. We have owned a 262 and 263 as well. Maybe this will be our next model. I appreciate your report.

""This one didn't have the upgraded Premium audio which was a bummer as I'm a bit of an audiophile".


Hey we have quite a few audio enthusiasts on the site including myself. Do you have a home system?
And you're right, you could do a few minor upgrades to your system on this R4 and she would be a banger.

Thanks again for posting.

.
Thanks! I do have a home system, modest but it does a good enough job for now while my boys are still young :-) Denon 4700H, Klipsch RP-280F's, RP in-walls and in ceiling, SVS SB-2000 Pro. You're right, just debating whether to invest the money now or wait until an R8 OB in a few years then get into it.
Appreciate the kind words!
2023 R4 Outboard, Yamaha F250
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AsLan7
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Re: 2023 R4 Outboard

Post by AsLan7 »

Yes…R8 with twin 300 Verados or Yammies .. :D
2002 Cobalt 262
&
2005 Cobalt 263
496 MagHO
(sold )
Erie, PA
Currently boatless (for now)
will fly for food

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tonylukes3
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Re: 2023 R4 Outboard

Post by tonylukes3 »

AsLan7 wrote: Sun Jan 07, 2024 12:26 pm Yes…R8 with twin 300 Verados or Yammies .. :D
Once I heard the active exhaust on the Verado’s and that they’re V8’s, I was sold lol. I miss our old Captain’s Call!
2023 R4 Outboard, Yamaha F250
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Re: 2023 R4 Outboard

Post by Sumgai »

Thank you for the outstanding review of the Cobalt R4 OB. It was especially relevant since your last boat was a pre-R generation Cobalt even longer than the R4 hull; yet your experience is that the R4 OB performed similarly to one of the "they don't make them like they used to - Cobalts."
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Re: 2023 R4 Outboard

Post by MnLakeBum »

Great review and I love the color of your R4! I’m just 20 miles south of you in Naples for most of the winter but my R5 Surf stays in Minnesota all year. My Florida boat is a Boston Whaler 230 Vantage and we do take it up to Sanibel a couple times each winter, it’s a beautiful place to boat.
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Re: 2023 R4 Outboard

Post by tonylukes3 »

MnLakeBum wrote: Mon Jan 15, 2024 4:48 pm Great review and I love the color of your R4! I’m just 20 miles south of you in Naples for most of the winter but my R5 Surf stays in Minnesota all year. My Florida boat is a Boston Whaler 230 Vantage and we do take it up to Sanibel a couple times each winter, it’s a beautiful place to boat.
Thanks! Cool just down the coast from me, I used to take the 26 down to Naples on occasion, beautiful area.
Sanibel & North Captiva / Cayo Costa are my favorites.
2023 R4 Outboard, Yamaha F250
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Re: 2023 R4 Outboard

Post by tonylukes3 »

Sumgai wrote: Thu Jan 11, 2024 8:43 am Thank you for the outstanding review of the Cobalt R4 OB. It was especially relevant since your last boat was a pre-R generation Cobalt even longer than the R4 hull; yet your experience is that the R4 OB performed similarly to one of the "they don't make them like they used to - Cobalts."
Appreciate it! Yeah I wanted to post it since I could not find any real world reviews from people who have had both.
2023 R4 Outboard, Yamaha F250
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Re: 2023 R4 Outboard

Post by Anchor86 »

Sharp boat. How is the noise level from motor compared to IO?
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Re: 2023 R4 Outboard

Post by billk2632 »

Nice! Like the Gray/Black color - absolutely what I would do if I were in your location - salt water.
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