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Legend X18 - Boat Review

Published By: Jonathan Lee

By Mark Rotharmel

Thinking back on the large dollar recreational purchases I’ve made in my life, be they vehicles, vessels or snowmobiles, I’ve usually been connected to the seller in some way. Did I always pay the lowest amount? Maybe, maybe not. Was that the main reason I did business with them in the first place? No, but saving money is an end-goal too. Relationships are important, and I would rather deal with someone I know, than someone I don’t. 

What I’m getting at is this:  I buy things from people and companies I like. Products are simply products. Nice to own if all goes well, but when they need to be serviced, fixed, whatever - I feel better calling a dealer or manufacturer I can trust to look after my best interests.

If I don’t know anyone, but I really want their product, then I do some research. Word of mouth references, consumer reviews, online articles and the like. I’m also drawn to leadership with a clear vision for the future. While I may not have a personal relationship in place today, I may tomorrow - and if all works out, I hope to return to buy another product again.

Legend, now 31 years in the marine business, is a proud Ontario-based company. Its founders, Duhamel and Dewar, have been pumping out new designs, changing/upgrading models and steadily working on fresh, innovative features for 49 years. Sitting down to write my review of Legend’s X18, I was compelled to tell that story. I’ve scribed many Legend tests before, and while admiring what they’ve done with their product, I also respect the company - they walk to the beat of their own drummer.

Many years ago, Legend, unlike other manufacturers, decided to publish an up-front, All-IN Price / Product catalogue. Firm pricing was in, negotiating deals went out. Their Technical sales specialists could therefore discuss value without being burdened by discounting MSRP.  Of course some customers refuse to buy products, especially more expensive ones, at the sticker price. Legend doesn’t close every sale. They do, however, believe in transparency.

For 2017, Legend’s X18, sitting on a Glide-on trailer and powered by a Mercury 50 ELPT four-stroke outboard, is a popular cruise, fish n’ ski model designed for families by families. It is undeniably well priced at $30,999. No Extra fees are applied except for freight outside of Ontario and Quebec.

That said, some options are available, such as the 115 HP Mercury four stroke clamped to our test boat’s transom. It too is clearly priced at an additional $5,900 in their catalogue. Recognizing the majority of buyers prefer boats with amenities, Legend bundled a 14-item list of features dubbed their Premium Package. When all is said and done, our test boat rings in at close to $36,900.

Only you can be the judge of whether a boat is, or isn’t, a good bank for the buck. I can tell you that distribution costs are saved based on Legend’s sales model. Their primary store is located near Barrie, Ontario, owned and operated by the company directly. Select dealers based on territory are appointed but the price policy is standard throughout the country.

The X18 is positioned as a premium all-purpose sport boat, priced approximately $2000 more than Legend’s comparable 18 Xcalibur and 18Xtreme, both using the same power. These three boats look similar, but subtle changes are relevant.

In recent years, black has been Legend’s primary exterior colour. While graphics have been refreshed, the X18’s sides are painted white, with its interior updated to match. A single swatch of blue pops out near the stern, adding some flair. Paint, decals, carpet and upholstery are important to leave a lasting first impression. Still, those elements that can’t be easily seen or easily determined, such as the thickness of aluminum used, how it’s bonded and the benefits of construction must all be taken into account when cross-referencing like-looking vessels.   

Perfect Flex .100 gauge aluminum will flex and transfer energy as necessary. It’s also 70-plus percent thicker than aluminum used in competitive boats. Legend’s welded hulls are guaranteed to be leak-proof for life, and as an owner of an older 14-foot riveted aluminum fishing boat that leaks in several places, I like that idea. The X18 also utilizes a two-piece hull without side seams for added strength in vulnerable places. Its extrusions are thick and locked into a solid center.

At a high-level, outboard-powered multipurpose aluminum boats serve families and weekend anglers well.  Like a good old Timex watch, “They can take a licking, and keep on ticking”. Today’s hull and deck construction, combined with injected level floatation, makes them not only safe and seaworthy, but ride softly too. If someone in your family is set on a pure, dedicated fishing rig, the X18 should still fit the bill. Like “cake”, they can have their fish and eat them too - catch your limit early in the morning then scoot back to the dock and take the gang for a cruise, ski or tube around the lake.  Doesn’t get better than that.

So, is it easy to go from fishing to family? Yup. In addition to relocating pedestal fishing seats from one area to another, Legend’s aft located EZ-Flip Extenda-Deck Converta- Bench system works like a charm, transforming a sizable three, or possibly four person bench seat into a casting deck in under six seconds. If you wish to add a trolling motor, the boat is pre-wired to do so. Those who like to be towed will appreciate the removable solid brushed aluminum ski pylon.

Whatever weather a day brings forth, Legend’s X18 has several features to protect you from the elements. First and foremost is Legend’s extra-high windshield. Can’t beat it for visibility either. Its frame is positioned well above your sight line, which can’t be said about most other boats, aluminum or fiberglass. A full stand-up top is included with the Premium Package, a back-saver that takes the hassle out of walking around your boat during inclement conditions.

Looking at both configurations from an aerial perspective, the brain can instantly process how versatile the X18 really is. In sport mode, the arrangement promotes conversation forward and aft. Smartly upholstered seating in the bow and bench blend with the boat’s EZ-Clean Dura-Deck vinyl floor in the cockpit as well as the exterior graphics. A contoured backrest for lounging is built into the open bow in front of the windshield.

My personal favourite place to be is at the helm. Here you’ll discover Legend’s Command-Vu console which houses a Bluetooth stereo, full complement of gauges, switches for the LED ambient interior lights, circuit breakers and a Humminbird PiranhaMax 197c colour fish/depth finder. 

Upon removing the bow cushion we discovered three built-in storage compartments. Several more are located throughout the cockpit and deck aft, including an in-floor locker, side lockers and a removable cooler inside the passenger console. There’s certainly no shortage of space on the X18. 

While the sun was shining brightly on test day, a stiff wind found us negotiating some very choppy water. Depending on wave direction, keeping the throttle planted to get our top-speed number was challenging.  Still, I was pleasantly surprised to see how cleanly the hull’s 17-degree V slices through waves - and how softly it rides.

The X18 corners well too. Little speed gets scrubbed off in sweeping port and starboard turns, but you’ll want to trim in the engine under to avoid propeller ventilation. As with any boat, backing off the throttle before negotiating tight turns is important, especially in rough water.

Smooth and responsive, Legend’s X18 sprinted to a top speed of 41.3 mph at 5200 RPM. With a full tank, we planed in 2.8 seconds, accelerated to 30 mph in under 9 seconds, and 35 mph in 12 seconds. Mercury’s 115 four stroke had the standard gearcase attached, rather than the optional Command Thrust unit, which seemed perfectly fine given how quickly the boat planes and how freely the hull rides. The boat fared well in mid-range acceleration runs, pulling from 20 to 35 mph in 9.3 seconds and from 25 to 40 mph, nearly its top end, in 13.53 seconds.

From what we’ve seen, there are several good reasons to consider this boat: Price, product and versatility. Judging from the number of new Legends we see on the water every year, this company is doing something right.

Power & Performance 
Test boat engine:
Mercury 115 FourStroke
115 HP, 2.1 Litre

Acceleration:
mph           sec
0 20 mph:  2.8
0-30 mph:  8.9
0-35 mph:  11.9
0-40 mph: 19.2

Top speed (GPS)
rpm          mph
5200         41.3

Cruising speeds (GPS)
rpm           mph
2500       12.2
3500         25.7.
4000         29.3
4500         33.2
5000         40.5

SPECIFICATIONS

Length:     17’ 6”
Beam:      7’ 6”  
Hull Weight:  1225 lbs.             
Fuel Capacity:  25 U.S gallon (95 litres)
Passenger Capacity: 6
Power: Mercury 2.1L 115hp outboard
Max Power: 150hp
Retail Price (base): $31,999 – Standard Price with 50 hp Mercury 4-Stroke and Glide-on trailer Retail Price (as reviewed):  $38,500


Review Boat Provided By:
Legend Boats
4805 RR 55, Whitefish, ON
P0M 3E0
T: (800) 459-8448
www.legendboats.com