XO DFNDR 8 Review

topRik experts talk about their experience testing the Finnish crossover XO DFNDR 8, accompanying the review with photos and reviews of famous yachtsmen, which were published in popular yachting media, as well as some informative video reviews.

XO DFNDR 8 review

XO Boats company was founded in 2009. The idea behind the XO's design is quite simple: the sea is calling - you have to go, even if everyone else wisely stays in the harbor. The Navia Design studio, led by Jarkko Yamsen, took on this approach and as a result, brutal, fast boats appeared on the market for long navigation and almost any weather conditions - and with such a level of controllability that many competitors could be envious. It sounds fantastic, especially when you consider that many qualities (for example, speed and seaworthiness) are not easy to combine, especially at such price. The secret is in the design and hydrodynamic features of the hull.

It's easy to see that the best examples of yacht design always focus on functionality. But even the coolest of them are nothing without someone at the helm. Therefore, one of the main tasks facing the XO designers was to make the boat not just easy to drive, but “loyal” to the owner and his driving style, so that the cost of a possible mistake would not be too high. Every detail in the XO models was developed in this spirit.

The main idea of XO is to give the customer a fast and easy-to-handle boat that will bring delight in any weather. This is important: in Finland the weather is unpredictable, the waves are rough, so the keeled hulls are the way to go. XO boats are as easy to operate as driving a car. The aluminum hulls meet the most stringent specifications, and the assembly uses components from the best suppliers around the world - the shipyard needs quality, according to Dan Colliander, CEO of XO Boats.

An equally important design criterion is seaworthiness, which allows XO boats to confidently navigate the waters of the Finnish archipelago, where weather conditions are not forgiving at all. The northern beauty of Finland is quite harsh, and this can be read in the XO design: boats with a straight stem and “chopped” outlines look harmonious against the backdrop of such nature. All this gives them a certain uniqueness, which logically translates into the personality of the owner.

XO DFNDR 8 review

If we move on to numbers, they are impressive. The main requirement for an all-weather boat is to move freely through the waves. For this you need a keeled hull with sharp bow lines. At XO Boats the deadrise in the bow reaches 63 degrees! However, anyone who understands high-speed boats will tell you that deadrise at the transom is much more important for seaworthiness. But the XO has 22–24° at the transom (full “deep V”), and 28° in the midsection area. The vertical stem, on the one hand, increases the internal volume and lengthens the waterline, and on the other, improves entry into waves, which has a positive effect on performance.

The body material – aluminum alloy – makes the structure light and rigid at the same time. And the high power-to-weight ratio (the ratio of engine power to displacement) allows you to squeeze out of all these advantages a decent speed of up to 50 knots.

Designer of XO Boats, Jarkko Yamsen, considers the main element of the boat to be its hull, which determines the appearance of the entire vessel. A boat with a deep V hull should not be high, so as not to raise the center of mass. On such a vessel it is possible to maintain impressive speed even on a wave, but a rigid hull is required, so aluminum works better than plastic. The emphasis on driving performance results in compromises in interior space, but the XO boats are very quiet underway.

To ensure safety with such dynamics, the center of mass of the XO models is lowered, which increases static stability. Thanks to its high maneuverability and dynamic stability, such a boat is easy to control even for a beginner, and with practice comes true mastery, allowing you to literally feel the boat. This is greatly facilitated by the serious level of ergonomics for the pilot, and not only in terms of the layout of the instrument panel: the view is 360°, without blind spots.

On Boot Düsseldorf 2023 Finnish company XO Boats, known for its high-speed boats made of light aluminum alloy, brought four models, including XO DFNDR 8 and XO DFNDR 9. There the topRik team got acquainted with the new products of the brand.

By the way, during the exhibition it became known that DFNDR 9 received the Motor Award Boat Award as the best boat for active recreation (Adventure Boats category). And it’s good that DFNDR 8 did not participate in the British Motor magazine competition Boat & Yachting. Otherwise, there would have been “internal competition”, and it is still unknown who would get the accolades, because the younger model of the line will easily overtake the older one and outstrip many pleasure boats in other respects.

But recently it became known that XO DFNDR 8 was chosen as one of the finalists for the Best of Boats award in the Best for Performance category. Best of Boats is the world's largest powerboat award focused on the boater's point of view. It's like being nominated for an Academy Award in Hollywood. The topRik team is also ready to give first prize to this marine crossover, and now we will tell you why.

XO DFNDR 8 review

Features of XO DFNDR 8

  • Brand: XO
  • Hull type: Monohull
  • Overall length, m: 8.03
  • Overall length, ft: 26
  • Width, m: 2.53
  • Draft, m: 0.93
  • Displacement, T: 1.986
  • Exterior design (Architect): XO
  • Interior design: XO
  • CE Certification: C
  • Power, hp: 2 x 225-450
  • Fuel tanks, l: 385
XO DFNDR 8 Get Price

Maximum Speed and Fuel Consumption

Max speed Up to 50 knots
Cruising speed Up to 30 knots
Fuel consumption 1.2 l/h when planning at a speed of 35 knots

Review of XO DFNDR 8 by topRik Team

Brutal elegance – is there such a thing? I guess it if you are dealing with Finnish XO Boats.

First Look

It's one thing if you see this marine crossover in white first, open to all winds, like the predecessor of our protagonist - XO DFNDR 9. You may even be deceived by the external elegance of the convertible, which hides the daring power of an SUV on the water.

XO DFNDR 8 review

And a completely different thing is this slate black XO DFNDR 8 hull - it is honest with you from the first glance to every detail. He does not hide anything - its victorious character immediately catches your eye.

XO DFNDR 8 review

But there is an option for those who like compromises when it comes to appearance, while the seaworthiness of this motorboat is uncompromising in any exterior, even when others stay at port. It is no coincidence that this phrase became the motto of XO motor boats. The topRik team has made sure in practice that this is not an empty advertising slogan.

XO DFNDR 8 review

XO DFNDR 8 - a boat with an aluminum alloy hull and a fiberglass deckhouse can be produced in two versions. The first option is sun top, or safari - with an open steering console, for which removable body kits are provided from the sides and stern.

The second - with a rigid structure, a sliding door to the aft cockpit and a hatch in the roof - for operation in more severe weather conditions. It was this option that was presented at Dusseldorf.

The XO DFNDR 8 has a walkthrough design with a through passage from one end of the hull to the opposite end through the wheelhouse. Here the deckhouse is the entire width of the hull, with narrow footpaths along the side, so that it is easier and safer to walk inside from bow to stern (and vice versa).

With this design, it is not very convenient to hang fenders amidships, but there is no need for them: there are elastic damping linings on the sides, so fenders are only needed in the bow and stern. In addition, a voluminous fender made of marine polymer is laid along the entire perimeter of the hull.

The versatility of the design allows you to turn the open version into a closed one by attaching side skirts with windows, as well as a bulkhead in the stern with a sliding door.

The bow cockpit can be turned into a sunbathing area; the seats in the wheelhouse can easily be transformed into a berth for two, which significantly increases the versatility of the model. There is also an isolated latrine.

At the Transom

It would seem that a boat with a stern Finnish character should devote its entire transom to powerful outboard motors. But we remember that the XO DFNDR 8, like all the shipyard’s boats, is all-weather. Therefore, there was a place for beach islands, one of which is equipped with a folding ladder for descending into the water. But most of the powerful transom platform is, of course, given over to a pair of outboard engines.

XO DFNDR 8 review

Inside the Cockpit

In the cockpit there is a comfortable transom sofa that can be unfolded or folded. When folded, it serves as a support for the raised engines. There is a locker under the sofa.

XO DFNDR 8 review

Along the sides you can see stern cleats and comfortable, powerful handrails. And in the floor there is a hatch that opens into the technical compartment. Next to it is a fuel tank, and on board there is a connector for refilling it. The cockpit coating is textured, wear-resistant, easy to clean and non-slip.

Note that the self-draining cockpit and pilothouse are carefully separated, particularly by this high door sill, to prevent even the slightest possibility of water from the cockpit entering the pilothouse. The sliding door even more reliably cuts off passengers and the helmsman from the effects of bad weather, as well as from engine noise.

On the edge of the roof you can install holders for troll fishing, and the rest of the roof surface can be used as a rack for transporting water skis, surfboards or something else that could come in handy on a vacation.

By the way, the mysterious inscription above the wheelhouse means “novelty”.

Inside the Wheelhouse

The XO DFNDR 8’s differences from its predecessor DFNDR 9 are especially noticeable here. The sofas for passengers are not located facing the windshield, but are turned towards each other along the sides.

XO DFNDR 8 review

This arrangement allows, if necessary, to transform them into a spacious double bed.

XO DFNDR 8 review

Under the sofas there are drawers for useful things or equipment, such as a refrigerator. Fans of fishing (and not only) will appreciate the spacious locker for things under the floorboard in the midsection area.

XO DFNDR 8 review

The steering console is tightly packed: two large (9") Simrad multifunction displays - chartplotter and vessel systems monitoring, free-standing tachometer, control keys for automatic Zipwake spoilers and other devices, bow thruster control, engine control levers, other navigational instruments, communications, indicators that help to manage the equipment of the boat.

XO DFNDR 8 review

Everything is at hand here, with a comfortable armrest.

In front of the steering console and next to it there are seats with bolsters and shock-absorbing suspension to dampen shock loads when the boat rides on a strong wave. The seat, as you can see, adjusts to your height and position at the helm.

Here's a surprise: a latrine is hidden in the port side console - a small room, but quite capable of fulfilling its function.

XO DFNDR 8 review

The optional power sunroof is excellent. The door to the bow cockpit is also useful for ventilation of the cabin: its lower door is sliding, and the upper one is hinged; by opening one or the other flap, you can adjust the intensity of the air flow.

And you’ve probably already figured out from the photo and diagram that the height of the deckhouse is ensured by lowering the floor level.

In the Bow Cockpit

Through the door between the two consoles in the wheelhouse we go out into the bow cockpit. You have to agree - a through passage from the cockpit to the bow in a boat less than 8 meters long is very rare. This huge space can be filled with sun loungers and if the boat is used in a warm region.

Or you can leave it in this state if the XO DFNDR 8 is intended for fishing in any region. There is enough space here to fix the spinning rod in a fishing spot. For troll fishing, the roof of the cabin in the stern is intended, as we have already said.

XO DFNDR 8 review

There are several large lockers for fenders and other marine accessories, such as fishing equipment. You can also store water toys (boards, canoes, etc.) here. Despite the powerful handrails, it is better not to stand here while underway, since the bow cockpit is not deep enough for this.


Durable and lightweight aluminum alloy as a structural material for the DFNDR 8 hull is excellent for exploring unfamiliar waters when mooring to an unequipped shore may be necessary. The boat has a steep stem, a sharp chine, longitudinal steps and “deep V” contours with a deadrise at the transom of 23°, which is both a sign of seaworthiness and an indispensable condition for shock-free (if possible) movement through the waves.

The manufacturer offers two configuration options: Rider and Utility; in the latter, for example, transom plates are installed instead of interceptors.

The recommended engine power for the XO DFNDR 8 is 300 HP, but, if necessary, the customer can choose a more powerful configuration with one V8 engine with 450 HP or two with 225 HP each. With the latest variants, the DFNDR 8 can reach a speed of 50 knots, according to the manufacturer.

The boat tested by the topRik team had two Mercurys Verado V6 with 225 HP, with them the DFNDR 8 showed good fuel consumption results at a speed of 35 knots, easily reached 45 knots, and even exceeded the declared maximum speed by 0.5 knots.

At a speed of 50 knots per hour, the boat consumed a little more than 2 liters of fuel per kilometer. Therefore, we recommend sticking to a very acceptable speed of 35 knots in order to spend 1.2 liters of fuel per kilometer.

The boat sailed through the waves with ease: the sharp bow contours of the relatively narrow hull easily cut the water mass, there was no yaw in forward motion or drift during turns, the reaction to helm movements was instantaneous, and the planing was achieved in five seconds.

XO DFNDR 8 review

Advantages of XO DFNDR 8

Since we traditionally start this section with the disadvantages, many topRik experts would like the window into the control room near the helmsman's chair to open. But, according to others, this is fully compensated by the fact that you can open part of the door leading to the bow cockpit.

Carefully thought-out design features are the main advantage that distinguish the XO DFNDR 8 motor boat from its predecessors. Its incredible performance is largely due to the combination of a durable aluminum V-hull with lightweight fiberglass internal structures.

It is important to note that the new model is equipped with a separate bathroom, like the larger DFNDR 9 model. The organization of the interior space of the DFNDR 8 corresponds to the walk-through concept, which implies a through passage from the cockpit to the foredeck through the saloon. This creates additional comfort for passengers.

Guests also have access to a raised deck at the bow, which can be converted into a full-size sunbathing lounge.

The passenger seats in the saloon easily convert into a bed for two, allowing the boat to be used for overnight stays during long trips.

Such capabilities allow you to use the motor boat as a weekend boat for pleasure trips, as well as a crossover for fishing in closed reservoirs or coastal waters.

The boat can accommodate up to 8 passengers for day trips and dimensions of the boat (length of 7.9 m, width of 2.37 m) and its weight (1900 kg without PM) allow transportation using a trailer.

XO DFNDR 8 review

Reviews of XO DFNDR 8 from Professionals

Both reviews are dedicated to the very first appearances of XO DFNDR 8 to the maritime community – first in the form of manufacturer information and brochures, on which the review by Pim Van Hemmen from Soundings is based, and then after the world premiere at Boot Düsseldorf Boat Show 2023, as told by Alex Smith from Motor Boat & Yachting.

Pim in his message paid tribute to the reliability of XO boats and noted that the new XO series powerboat DFNDR will be customizable. You can choose an open safari-style version or take advantage of the option to cover the side windows with transparent awnings.

The author noted that the DFNDR 8 is intended for fishing or day cruises, as well as for sailing in bad weather, for which there is an option with an aft door into the wheelhouse.

He went on to highlight the various layout options for the foredeck and saloon, as well as noted the similarities between the new model and its predecessor, the DFNDR 9.

In conclusion, the author quotes Erkki Talvela, the CEO of XO Boats, talks about the ability of future owners to choose the power of engines and their number.

Renowned yachtsman and author of MBY has tested XO boats on numerous occasions, and of course the DFNDR 8 has not gone unnoticed either.

In the proposed review, Alex reports from the shipyard stand at Boot Düsseldorf Boat Show 2023. He also draws a parallel between the new product and its predecessor, but lists first of all the differences, in particular, the wheelhouse across the entire width of the deck instead of the DFNDR 9 design, where the wheelhouse had approaches from the side decks.

He focused on the engine options offered by the developers, and then described in detail the features of the aft cockpit, wheelhouse and bow cockpit.

The author noted that the DFNDR 8, more compact than its predecessor, not only retained all the functions and performance of the DFNDR 9, but also surpassed it in maneuverability.

Video Reviews of XO DFNDR 8

Here are top five videos that will paint a better picture for you.

Quick snippet of what this boat is capable of:

Description and demonstration of best features:

Great review with footage in action:

Eight minutes of interior walkthrough:

35 minutes – everything there is to know about XO DFNDR 8:


Thanks to its wide configuration options, the XO DFNDR 8 can be adapted for both sport fishing and comfortable day cruising with close friends and family.

For lovers of long journeys, there are spacious lockers below deck and the ability to install a sliding door to the saloon in the aft console.

Fast and maneuverable, very easy to operate, the XO DFNDR 8 motorboat is ideal for:

  • novice boatsmen who are still learning, but want to go to sea right now;
  • groups of friends who love men's entertainment on the water: fishing, including underwater fishing, hunting on the water, diving, exploring the seabed in search of sunken objects, etc.;
  • a couple who likes to go to sea often, but does not require excessive comfort;
  • transportation of passengers between coastal towns;
  • special services;
  • lovers of speed and wind in their hair, who prefer excellent maneuverability and obedient control.

And since there are so many categories of boatsmen for whom this brutal water crossover XO DFNDR 8 is suitable, then it will certainly be in demand in the charter business, especially since here it will be difficult for even the most daring group to damage anything accidentally.

XO DFNDR 8 review

Where to Buy XO DFNDR 8 at a Bargain Price

To get this boat at the affordable price, you just need to use the links to contact the marketplace experts - call by phone, send an email, or get in touch using the feedback form. All links are on this webpage; you don’t even need to register to get free advice from experienced sailors, such as the employees of our trading platform.

Although for starters you can also go to Price Calculator for free and without registration to virtually build the XO DFNDR 8 version according to your needs and planned financial expenses.

Here you definitely cannot do without the advice of experienced sailors. At this stage, consultations with topRik employees are free.

Having decided to continue cooperation with the topRik marketplace, you can receive support for the entire process, or you can completely delegate it to the experts of our marketplace:

  • negotiations with the manufacturer or dealer on purchasing conditions that are most favorable to you;
  • preparation of all documents;
  • control over the equipment and condition of the boat at the place of shipment;
  • delivery of the boat to the specified location.

topRik experts are constantly practicing yachtsmen who have been expanding our SimpleSail fleet for many years – now all their experience is working for you.

XO DFNDR 8 Get Price
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