Big & Bold, Inside & Out
The new Riviera 645 SUV combines large, versatile spaces with smooth performance that will keep everyone happy whether at the dock or underway.
The flagship of Riviera’s SUV line, the 645, is a perfect family or couple’s cruiser with a variety of accommodations ideal for different sizes and types of entertaining. Since popular boating spots in Riviera’s native Australia have similar climates to those in Florida, the company builds its boats with both indoor and outdoor spaces that can take advantage of the weather. Doors, windows, and sunroofs can be open wide to let in gentle breezes and connect the spacious living areas, or they can be separated and climate-controlled.
The single-level living area at the heart of the SUV concept works well by keeping everyone together when the boat is underway and providing a central core when entertaining. Like the popular kitchen/great room found in nearly every modern house, this layout has tremendous adaptability. The 645 SUV helm is adjacent to the salon and galley so the driver can interact even while underway. A door to the side deck and a large slider and pop-up window aft open the salon to the mezzanine, cockpit, and foredeck lounge.
The helm features three large, comfortable bucket seats that electrically slide and recline, and the triple Garmin multifunction display screens are within easy reach as are most controls.
On the Water
Easing out of Palm Beach, the Twin Disc EJS joystick provides variable control of transmissions and thrusters and is impressively smooth and accurate. At 69 feet LOA, the 645 SUV is a sizable craft but maneuvers easily, even in the incredibly tight area from which we had to depart. Concealed cockpit wing stations that open on both sides offer additional visibility and keep docking under control.
Once out of the inlet, we spool up the optional twin 1,550-hp MAN V12s and hit a peak speed of 35.8 knots, impressive for a boat with a dry weight of 88,119 pounds. The Riviera 645 SUV accelerates evenly, transitioning easily onto plane. V-drives and a Seatorque system, where the shafts are encased in a sealed tube and bathed in oil all the way from the engine couplings to the props, reduces vibration and noise. Cruising at 2,150 rpm, we hit a sweet spot at 31 knots using 128 gph yielding a calculated range of 372 nautical miles with a 10 percent reserve.
The boat is fun to drive and handles admirably with little speed loss during tightly controlled turns. There is only a light chop, so I aim for the wake of a nearby boat—she slices through without spray or fuss.
It is amazing that a boat this large is as agile and easy to handle. The helm configuration provides excellent visibility for drivers and passengers, and with four of us on board, there is ample seating for everyone.
On the main deck, high-gloss walnut accents nicely contrast solid-surface, synthetic pearl quartz counter tops with elegant waterfall edges. The galley has abundant drawer-style fridges and freezers and a lengthy island counter perfect for meal prep and serving. A Miele three-burner electric cooktop, combo microwave/convection oven, and a deep stainless steel sink with a garbage disposal provide functionality.
The adjacent lounge with an ottoman faces the galley with a large flatscreen TV housed
on the island. A TV can also be placed on a lift behind the helm, but on this boat, that cabinet showcases Riviera-embossed martini and wine glasses in a varnished wood-and-glass display case. The “Newport” option adds a wet bar with a removable stool, additional drawer fridges, bottle storage, sink, and serving space. The entire salon/galley/bar provides a luxurious area for gatherings, or drop the roller blinds for privacy, to watch the big game, or for movie night.
The accommodations are spacious even in this four-cabin layout. The full-beam master features a king island berth and has huge hull windows on both sides to let in natural light. The ensuite head includes a large separate shower and an access door that leads to a utility/crew room with a washer, dryer, storage, optional bunk, crew head, and engine room access.
A VIP cabin forward has a centerline queen and its own ensuite head. Side cabin twin berths are more than six feet long, suitable for kids and adults. Another guest cabin has twins that can push together to form a double, and a connecting head that also exits to the foyer for day use.
I head up to the salon and out the stainless steel and glass slider to the alfresco deck. This mezzanine creates a perfect transition between the cabin and outdoors. It is covered by the coach top overhead and can be enclosed with Strataglass panels and air-conditioned. Comfortable seating, a folding teak table with integral bottle/glass holders for casual dining, an icemaker, stereo, and a 32-inch flatscreen TV complete this porch-like gathering spot. When weather permits, the overhead sunroof and aft panels open, and a pop-up window and the cabin door can join this space to the interior.
A few steps down, the nearly 100-square-foot cockpit is suited for fishing or can be used to entertain with a dance floor, a cocktail lounge (wet bar included), a place to barbecue with the built-in grill, or all of the above. Buyers can choose transom seating or a windowed, lighted livewell. Twin transom doors connect the cockpit to a large swim platform with a standard hydraulic lift that raises and lowers a tender. I like the idea of slightly lowering the platform to create a wading area or setting up a table and chairs for lunch, or a cocktail while your feet dangle in the water.
Side decks covered in optional teak lead forward from the cockpit, protected by bulwarks and sturdy rails. The port side has both a watertight door into the salon/galley and a pathway that cuts through into an expansive bow lounge. The deck is recessed ahead of the broad, three-paneled windshield to accommodate the Sunbrella-cushioned seating area complete with a removable table and a Fusion Apollo SRX400 stereo. There is room to sunbathe, but an awning on carbon fiber poles provides shade as well.
At anchor or when Med-moored, I picture quiet times here enjoying the breeze, separated from activities in the cabin or dockside. The bow is complete with storage, an anchor locker with washdown, a Muir vertical windlass, recessed anchor, and ground tackle.
The Riviera 645 SUV living areas are stylish, comfortable, and spacious. Entertainment spaces are easily connected or separated to best suit the needs of those on board. If you are not sure which you like better, the comfort of the cabin or the fresh air and the stars, you don’t have to choose—the Riviera 645 SUV delivers plenty of both.
-by Arnie Hammerman