Boating NZ recently explored a selection of Quintrex alloy boats – an occasion marking the new partnership between Auckland’s Family Boats and Quintrex, with Family Boats becoming the New Zealand distributor for the Australian-manufactured tinnies.

This development will see a much larger range of Quintrex models becoming available here, and a network of dealers appointed through the North and South Islands. Although the Quintrex brand has been sold locally for nearly two decades, this new distributorship will greatly extend the availability and range of models, as well as enhance after-sales support.

Quintrex boats are unique in the alloy boat market, with their pressed and stretched aluminium panels making up the sides and bottom of the hull rather than the flat plate used by most other alloy boat manufacturers.

Just as the pressed corrugations used on roofing iron give strength without extra weight and enable those panels to hold their shape, so these pressed aluminium panels provide Quintrex hulls with rigidity. No need for lots of welded struts.

Equally importantly, this technology allows Quintrex to create curved shapes such as a flared bow, normally only achieved with moulded fibreglass. The result is that Quintrex hulls are often lighter than those of competitors, sacrificing nothing in terms of rigidity and robustness while offering a great ride quality.

There were five different models on hand, offering an insight into the broader range. At the bottom end were three different tiller-steered runabouts, and despite similar overall lengths, they could not be more different.

390 Outback Explorer

The 390 Outback Explorer was the first model we looked at, with its F-series bow section. This massively opens up space in the bow without compromising the ride quality, and this new design offers higher sides and increased deadrise over earlier models.

The test boat was fitted with a 25hp Yamaha four-stroke tiller-steered engine, which was quiet and easy to steer. Seating was on conventional squab-covered benches and the hull is rated for three people. Quintrex touts this model, which also comes in 3.5m and 3.7m versions, as a ‘car-topper’ that can be carried on a roof-rack as an alternative to a trailer.

420 Busta

Next up was the 420 Busta, a conventional style entry-level ‘tinnie’ but with enough features to be a complete fishing solution in itself. In this case a 30hp Yamaha two-stroke outboard was fitted to contain the initial cost, but a carpeted floor, anchor well, casting platform and bench seats with flotation completed the package.

Rated for four occupants, this type of boat with the ‘clinker’ style pressed sides remains one of the most popular sellers in New Zealand. This was the only unpainted hull of the range we tested, helping to meet its lower entry-level price objective.

420 Renegade

Middle of the range was the 420 Renegade, nominally the same length as the Busta but which felt much bigger. Again, a conventional bow shape but the higher sides, and a raised floor with twin pedestals elevated the seating in all senses of the word, providing comfort and height. Side decks provide additional mounting for rodholders and other fittings, with safety grab rails both fore and aft. A large, slightly raised and carpeted casting platform in the bow area is perfect for soft baits or fly fishing.

The 40hp Yamaha four-stroke outboard has an extended tiller and the boat can be driven from several positions. The hull’s painted inside and out and looks very smart. Despite the pedestal seats raising the centre of gravity somewhat higher than the bench seats of the 420 Busta, this hull proved very stable even when subjected to some extreme manoeuvring. This is likely to be a popular model for lakes, estuary and inshore fishing around the country.

510 Seaspirit

The 510 Seaspirit was the only cabin boat in the range here for trial, although other models are available. With twin pedestal seats and a folding rear bench seat, this boat has seating for five people and is rated for up to seven adults. The bunks in the forward cabin are a realistic option for an afternoon snooze or even a snug overnighter.


The hull’s painted inside and out and the 75hp Yamaha four-stroke outboard pushed her along at a fair clip. The 510 Seaspirit features a flared hull with a welded-on chine which works very well. Despite a couple of ‘hefties’ on board we were able to throw the hull around without getting wet or at any time feeling uncomfortable.

630 Freestyler

The largest Quintrex available was the radical 630 Freestyler, featuring the new Apex hull. This has a wide, sweeping chine design that opens up the bow area giving almost catamaran-like interior space while retaining the rough water performance of a mono hull.

The profile of the bow looks like a ‘W’, with a cathedral-hull type bow region but reducing to a more conventional profile at the stern. This is an eye-catching design that is certain to turn heads, aided by the smart paintwork.

This bow profile opens up the massive forward lounge area, perfect for water sports and entertaining. A walk-through dashboard provides easy access up front, while a bimini top and clears give shelter when required.

The 150hp Mercury four-stroke performed fantastically, as we easily got to over 30 knots at just over 5,000rpm, with plenty more available. The wider chines are claimed to dramatically reduce spray, and certainly our trial seemed to bear this out. They also provide additional grip when cornering, which is important for those into their water sports.

The test boat was privately-owned and so was spec’d to the owner’s specific requirements, but gave a good indication of what is possible with this stunning shape. Like most of the other models, this boat was painted inside and out and also featured a number of moulded plastic inserts in the side panels and dashboard area.