Not only does Toyota make boats, its Ponam-31 ‘SUC’ just forged a new class of them

Some might say that cars are over classified these days.

Gone are the days of coupes, sedans, wagons, 4x4s, and convertibles, because today, there are more categorized contraptions out there than you can shake a stick at. My favorite example is the Sports Activity Coupe/Compact Executive Crossover moniker of the BMW X4, but there are countless cases of this in 2014.

Toyota seems keen on taking this theme from the tarmac to the open water, as the Japanese automaker has just created a new boating class called the Sports Utility Cruiser.

The sole occupant of this new category is Toyota’s Ponam-31, a sleek, sporty watercraft with enough room inside for a small family outing, but enough speed to keep those with loose-fitting hairpieces nervous.

Powering the Ponam are two turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel units from the Land Cruiser Prado. The powerplants have been “specifically tuned for marine applications,” according to Toyota, and they’re good for a combined output of 512 horsepower.

The Ponam’s hull is made from a rigid aluminum alloy that “ensures higher rigidity, strength, durability, and fracture resistance” than the fiber-reinforced plastic construction of most mainstream boats. The material also “helps to greatly reduce the reverberations and noise generated by wave impacts,” so those cocktails sitting on the counter are probably safe.

The Ponam-31 also offers several skipper-aid options like Drive Assist3 and Virtual Anchor System4, for those times when the sea is the harshest of mistresses. The boat can be piloted from either the enclosed, casually styled cabin, or the open-plan flybridge above.

Toyota hopes to sell 15 units annually through a network of 49 Japanese dealers. Pricing starts at ¥29,700,000, or $277,180.


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