Review: Rinker 290 Express Cruiser – Quimby's Cruising Guide

Review: Rinker 290 Express Cruiser

So, what do you do with a mountain of boat suggestions from existing owners and engaged dealers? If you’re Rinker Boats, you take those ideas, give them to a motivated boat designer and encourage the creation of an entirely new boat concept. The result in this case is the new Rinker 290 Express Cruiser.

Although the 290 utilizes the running surface as the Rinker 280 Express Cruiser, everything from the deck up has been reimagined. The outcome is an inspired achievement in ergonomics, organic flow, feng shui or whatever term you’d like use to describe an impressive blending of form and function. Let’s just say the 290 has good “energy.”

The first thing that really stands out on the 290 is the open cockpit design that Rinker pioneered with some of its larger express cruisers, such as the Rinker 310. Simply put, that element means the boat feels bigger than it actually is. Moving through the boat’s cockpit from the transom to the companionway, there’s a subtle, serpentine path that results from the smart placement of seating areas, helm station and amenities.

The design allows for a more integrated cockpit and topside refreshment center with creative and functional seating areas, and lots of counter space. These ideas all work together to provide easy access to the food prep area and refrigerator. The seating configuration is well thought out, with a versatile reclining rear seat and comfortable portside “L” lounge with a sculpted armrest that retracts when it’s not needed. All seating areas feature a new, easy-care upholstery material that’s soft and comfortable. It also adds a beautiful design element.

The seating configuration also solves an issue with the aft stateroom in the cabin. By changing the angle of the topside seating located directly above the stateroom, Rinker was able to provide additional headroom in that berth. Not only is access improved, but you can also sit up easily to read or stretch.

Another exceptional idea that is both user-friendly and stylish is the forward deck. While this can be a “forgotten” space on some boats, the Rinker 290 takes full advantage of that real estate with an optional integrated sun pad, with enough room for two on either side of the split walkway. Other exterior features of note are a sharp-looking and aggressively-angled radar arch, and a space above the sheer line on the hull where you can add a contrasting gel coat color. That’s a good idea and will be yet another feature that separates the 290 from other boats in its class.

When it comes to quality, innovation and value, Rinker is one of the most widely respected names in the industry. The new 290 is a confident step forward as the brand continues to redefine the express cruiser line.


LOA: 31 feet, 8 inches

Beam: 9 feet, 1 inch

Draft (drive up): 2 feet

Dry Weight: 7,640 pounds

Fuel Capacity: 100 gallons

Water Capacity: 33 gallons

Max Horsepower: 380 hp

Base Price: $80,999

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