We Say: The 17-foot bowrider was once the quintessential runabout, with most builders offering boats that size and most lakes dotted with them on any summer Saturday. Nowadays, there’s just one choice in a new 17-foot sterndrive bowrider: Bayliner's 175 BR.
Narrower and lighter than the 18-foot entry-level offerings of other builders, the 175 BR provided excellent performance with the same 135 hp MerCruiser 3.0L and standard power steering you’ll find under the hatch in those boats. It delivered a brisk hole shot and topped 43 mph at wide-open throttle. Its lighter weight also makes towing easier and, coupled with high production numbers, allows Bayliner to offer this boat nicely equipped, and with a trailer, for less than $19,000.
We griped that a trim gauge was neither standard nor offered as an option. That aside, we applauded the walk-through transom and the innovative treatment of the motor-box seating wherein Bayliner incorporated a recessed fiberglass table and a hook-and-mesh stowage system to keep snacks, sunscreen and sundries at hand. The standard reclining back-to-back seat and the generous length of the bow lounge allow crew to chill out. An optional Flight Series package ($3,464) includes a tower and the accessories needed for tow sports. The fish package ($2,214) includes a livewell, trolling motor and more.
Who'd Want One: Boaters seeking the most compact full-featured boat on the water.
Another Choice: Chaparral’s 18 Sport H2O ($21,885).
Bottom Line: $18,461; bayliner.com