Kudu, I'm biased here so take this with a pinch of salt
I'm on my 2nd Highfield - originally had a 460 and now have a 590. Why did I stick with them?
- 460 was good little boat, lightweight for launch & recovery and good fuel economy. 20 degree deadrise was okay for bays and estuaries but I wanted a bigger boat and a deeper v for further afield (playing in Scotland). No real problems at all with the boat in the time I had her other than the fixings for the console. Screwed as opposed to bolted and the screws tended to work loose.
- 590 again good solid boat and no issues to date (60hrs). 24 degree v and a soft predictable ride. I have a BF90 on and it happily cruises 25 to 30 knots. 35+ top. If I was buying again I'd go for 110 or 135. My model (2014) has a recessed fuel cap and the recess can fill with water when washing down - a couple of drain holes drilled in the recess solved that.
As for after sale care, I'm very happy. I had a couple of issues with the supplied trailer and Steve at Seaswift swapped it out for an upgraded model no cost and no quibble. Also received some dents to the hull following a trip to reseller, again Steve has been brilliant and I won't go into the resolution but safe to say I'm very happy.
As Pikey mentions the Alu hull lines don't look as clean as GRP. There are deviations from the metal working. I'm happy to accept that but it may put some off. Didn't see the Southampton boat but the general finish on mine seems good. I take pikeys point, the show boat should be perfect...
EDIT: Should have added why I bought another Highfield.
I really like many of the UK manufactured boats - spend time on a friends Ribcraft 585, drool over Redbays and dare i say it like the look of Ospreys. I priced trade ins for all of these against new boats. Considered selling privately and buying 2nd hand. In the end I liked the alu hull and was offered a really good trade up for the 590.
Certainly look at the Highfields but go out and try others before you decide. There's some really good boats to compare with.