Holy bow space, Batman. You’ll say that to yourself when you first approach Bayliner’s new VR6, a 22-foot bowrider with the real estate to actually ride in the bow. Bayliner calls it BeamForward design, which keeps the 8-foot beam traveling forward rather than tapering to a fine point as is typical of the genre. The company also built in a higher freeboard both in the bow and the main cockpit, which helps passengers stay secure no matter where they sit on the boat. The bow cockpit also converts to a sun lounge with an optional filler cushion ($250). While carrying the beam forward typically results in converting a runabout to a deck boat, Bayliner does an excellent job of maintaining the sporty lines of the VR6. Along the waterline, the bow still tapers to a V under the deck and, rather than employing the flat running surface of a deck boat, still operates on a steep 20 degrees of deadrise at the transom.
Bayliner hit the mark with several other details aboard the sporty and trailerable VR6. One of the most notable to us is that the company built the boat with a self-bailing cockpit. The ability to shed water without the use of bilge pumps is an important safety feature. Seating in the main cockpit is U-shaped with rear-facing seats to both port and starboard. That’s great for spotter duty when towing tubers and skiers or just to watch the wake during a jaunt around the lake. Bayliner offers an optional Xtreme tow tower ($2,679), a pair of wakeboard racks ($300 apiece) and a ski-locker ballast tank ($321). There’s a changing room built into the port console so you can change out of wet clothes after a swim or boarding session. Add the optional portable potty ($357) to keep the crew happy should nature call. That deep freeboard makes passengers feel secure no matter where they sit in the cockpit, and the cushions are comfortable and, with the aft-facing seating, well suited for socializing. The wrap-around windshield keeps everyone in the main cockpit shielded from the elements.
Bayliner always does a good job of maximizing value for a price point that keeps boating accessible. To that end, the VR6 has a starting price of $33,299 with the base 200 hp MerCruiser sterndrive. Our test boat featured an upgraded 250 hp 4.5L MerCruiser that propelled us to a top speed of 52 mph. During speed runs, we climbed onto plane in 4.5 seconds and hit 30 mph just shy of 9 seconds. More importantly, during hard-over turns at 30 mph, the boat held true and felt predictable. During all test maneuvers, the VR6 behaved how you’d want a family boat to behave. And with all that interior real estate, the whole family can climb aboard.
Comparable Model: Rinker 220 MTX