We’ve all known a boat owner afflicted with “two-footitis,” a desire that burns hotter than athlete’s foot to trade up to the next-bigger model. The malady is as seasonal and as contagious as the flu. I found myself pondering incremental growth on the day I tested the four new Cruisers Sport Series runabouts from KCS International.
This is the company known in recent decades for its larger Cruisers Yachts line of cruising boats as well as Rampage sport-fishermen. But, indeed, both those marques have small boats deep in their DNA, especially Cruisers Yachts, which, as Cruisers Inc., built a slew of runabouts in the 1960s. These new boats range in length from 23 feet 8 inches to 29 feet — that’s just 5 feet 4 inches separating the shortest from the longest — and represent a return to that heritage. That brings us back to the original question: As a buyer, how would I choose between the 23-foot-8-inch Cruisers Sport Series AZ238 and the 25-foot Cruisers Sport Series AZ258? What exactly do I get with 16 inches more length?
Both the AZ238 and AZ258 have the same 8-foot-6-inch beam. The 5,160-pound AZ258 weighs 729 pounds more than the 4,431-pound AZ238, which could be a concern if you trailer frequently. Base power is 260 hp for the AZ238 and 300 hp for the AZ258. The AZ258 carries 13 more gallons of fuel, but a heavier boat with a larger engine needs more tankage. Both have in-sole stowage compartments and an enclosed head.
It’s hard to tell the boats apart from the helm seat. They share many components, including the swim platform, the helm and head consoles, the motor box and its integrated pivoting seat back, and the windshield. The aft seats are shorter on the AZ238, and it lacks the 48-quart cooler below the seat, as on the AZ258. There’s less headroom in the AZ238’s head, and its bow seating area is also a few inches shorter than that of the AZ258.