Several factors help Bayliner Marine Corp. maintain its position as the largest manufacturer of pleasure boats in the world. A wide selection of boat styles and models, good value and amenity-rich designs are all key ingredients in the Everett, Washington, manufacturer's considerable success. And nowhere is this more evident than in its 2455 Ciera Sunbridge.
There are nine models in the Ciera line of cruisers ranging from 22 to 33 feet in a variety of cockpit styles including command bridge, pilot house, hard top and sunbridge configurations. At 24 feet long by 8 feet five inches wide (at the beam), the 2455 is an express-style mid-cabin cruiser that tips the scales at only 5,304 pounds (with the base engine). That means it can be easily trailered by a variety of tow vehicles. Although a trailer is not standard, Bayliner builds one specifically for the 2455. It is a galvanized unit with tandem axles and brakes, and costs $4,000.
The sunbridge designation is somewhat self-descriptive, meaning that the 2455 Ciera has an open-air cockpit and helm. The boat comes with a retractable Bimini top for shade, and canvas options are available. Sun lovers will also like Bayliner's newly designed L-shaped SunChaiser lounge. It has a pivotal backrest that permits you to sit facing either forward or aft — so passengers can, in fact, chase the sun — or it can be folded flat to create a full-length sunlounge. In addition to the driver's bench, there is a folding bench seat along the transom. A removable table turns the aft cockpit into an entertainment center. Bayliner supplies a 48-quart carry-on Igloo cooler, which stows nicely in specifically created compartment located beneath the SunChaiser lounge.
Access is something Bayliner gave considerable thought to when designing the 2455 Ciera. The boat has a substantial freeboard, so Bayliner incorporated a walk-through transom door to the swim platform for ease of boarding. A retractable three-step ladder and stainless-steel grab rail mounted on the swim platform make getting in the boat from the water a breeze. Access to the foredeck is also easier than on previous Ciera models, thanks to built-in steps on the dash console. Molded-in toe rails on the foredeck lead to a recessed area at the forepeak for safe and convenient handling of lines. In addition to an anchor locker, the boat has chocks to prevent the lines from chafing on the deck.
The 2455 Ciera is available in a base trim level and the upgraded LX package. The LX costs an additional $5,100, but you get a lot for your money, including quality items such as a VHF radio, digital depth finder, illuminated compass, upgraded stereo with CD player, hot and cold pressurized water system, single-burner alcohol/electric stove, dual voltage refrigerator, microwave, marine head holding tank, shower, shorepower and cord, forward and side cruising curtains and a wood-grain package. If you were to purchase these items separately you would pay considerably more than you would through the LX package. By comparison, the basic model gives you an alcohol-only stove, ice box and manual-pump faucet in the galley.
The boat I tested featured the LX enhancements, which make the 2455 Ciera much better suited for overnight excursions and distance cruising. The benefits of shorepower alone makes overnighting much more comfortable, and the 20-gallon holding tank for the head has obvious advantages. Whether you opt for the LX package or not, the 2455's sleeping accommodations are very comfortable for a 24-foot boat. By dropping the dinette table in the forward V-berth you can accommodate two comfortably. Side windows, complete with curtains, as well as an overhead hatch can be opened for ventilation. Two additional people can bunk down in the mid-cabin, which is equipped with an overhead light, large window with curtain, shelf and stowage area. Although it's not part of the LX package, an air conditioner is also available for $2,557.
There was plenty of stand-up headroom in both the cabin and head. The enclosed head also featured a screened window and, in the LX's case, a shower. Stowage space abounds on the boat so you should have no problem bringing along everything you need and then some. There is even a removable trashcan located beneath the hinged step from the cockpit to the cabin.
The base motor for the 2455 Ciera is a carbureted 220-horsepower MerCruiser 5.0-liter with an Alpha drive. With that package we hit 38.3 mph at wide-open throttle (4,800 rpm) with two people and a fairly light load on board. If that's too slow for you, step up to a carbureted 250-horsepower MerCruiser 5.7-liter engine with a dual-prop Bravo Three drive for an additional $3,700 and expect to run around 41 mph. The EFI version of this motor is also offered for the boat.
With the 5.0-liter-equipped test model, it took 15 seconds to go from zero to 30 mph. Obviously, this is not a zippy propulsion package for a boat of this size. To see what the boat would do with more of a load, we brought on four more passengers — to bring the total to six — and put the hammer down. Some of our passengers were seated on the aft bench, which made it difficult for the boat to plane. Fortunately, Bayliner includes trim tabs as part of the boat's standard equipment. Trimming the tabs down helped, but the boat still struggled to come on plane. Moving some of the passengers farther forward helped considerably. The point being? If you intend to load the boat with people and gear, you will want to opt for the larger 5.7-liter engine, which has the added benefit of the dual-prop Bravo Three drive.
Even if you opt for the beefy 5.7-liter engine with the reliable performance of electronic fuel injection and the luxury of the LX package, the price is still only $45,395. Shop around and you'll have a hard time finding a comparably sized cruiser loaded with all the goodies of the 2455 Ciera for the same price. But then that's what you'd expect from the world's largest manufacturer of pleasure boats.
|Weight (w/base engine)||5,304 pounds|
|Fuel capacity||65 gallons|
|Water capacity||20 gallons|
|Test boat engine||MerCruiser 5.0-L/Alpha I|
|Base price||(w/MerCruiser 5.0-L Alpha I) $35,095|
|Price as tested||$40,195|