In terms of fuel efficiency, the stepped hull is a 10 percent improvement over the old nonstepped version, and it’s at least 3 mph faster. Paired with two big Yamaha V-6 engines, the 32 LS hit 61.3 mph, burning 52 gph of fuel at wide-open throttle. My test boat maneuvered smoothly through S-turns and came around cleanly in circles. Plenty of torque allows you to put this boat anywhere you want around the docks.
The 32 LS also boasts a solid feel under way, largely achieved by the hull-side balsa coring, putty-filled strakes plus transom, stringers and liner cored with Divinycell foam. The hardtop frame, formed of 3-inch-diameter powder-coated aluminum tubing, is just as robust. Except for the forward bow cleat, the amidships and stern cleats are positioned beneath the deck with the dock lines running through hawse pipes, usually found on much bigger boats, and providing a snag-free fishing environment and a clean look.
The LS series mission is to provide a more family-friendly model that still features the performance and construction that instill confidence when offshore. Comparable boats include Intrepid’s 327 (Boating, November/December 2011), which retails for $191,669 with the same power as our test boat. Another comparable boat is the Yellowfin 32. With the twin Yamaha 300s, the Yellowfin has a sticker of $178,880.
The helm layout is clean, with all the gauges in clear sight lines and the Yamaha digital controls in comfortable reach. I liked the keyless ignition. There’s a single master key, but you use remote switches to start the engines. For a little wow factor, open the head door and watch the battery switches when someone turns the key. The battery switches power up. It looks good and deters theft. Good access to wiring is found from with the head, and I admired the nice job Contender did in routing the wires and labeling all the blade-style fuses. The batteries are also housed here for ease of access.
My test boat had the optional ($13,185) hull-side swim door that folds into the cockpit sole when it’s opened, a feature also offered by Intrepid in both manual and hydraulic versions. I discovered other day-boat features aboard this center console as well. Abaft the leaning post is an entertainment center with a sink and grill concealed beneath a Corian countertop, and there’s a drawer-style refrigerator too. There’s in-sole stowage throughout the boat that can be used for stashing tow toys and beach floats as easily as chilling the day’s big catch if you nab a big one.
Forward of the console is a bench seat with a cooler inside. In the bow are long chaise-style seats on which I stretched out with room to spare. A three-position table rises so you can have a sandwich, drops down halfway to convert the area into a big playpen with filler cushions, or lowers all the way into the sole. Combined with the 32 LS’s smooth, level ride, these amenities ensure as much comfort en route to your destination as you’ll enjoy once you arrive.