Bayliner 175 Bowrider

The 175 Bowrider is proof that good things come in small packages.

You won’t find a more compact, fiberglass bowrider than Bayliner’s new 175. But ease of stowing in a garage aside, this little boat proved big on features during my test.

Bayliner started designing its bowriders with proportionally wider bows more than 10 years ago. Today that oft-copied feature still works to add seating space where it’s needed most. Seated in the bow lounge with a companion opposite, there was plenty of room for both of us, a feat that wouldn’t go unnoticed were there a full crew aboard for the day.

The 175’s motor box bears close inspection for all the features it incorporates. Open it and you’ll discover acoustic insulation to quell noise from the engine. Close it and you’ll notice that the broad, flat top incorporates a recess that serves as a snack table. A series of hooks arrayed just so allows the use of bungee cords to secure a bag of chips or loose gear atop the box, as well as on the cockpit sole in front of the box. There’s a pair of drink holders here as well. In all, it’s a well-executed example of how the same space can be used for multiple purposes.

Removing the aft seat cushion, I stepped securely onto the swim platform, where I discovered a three-step swim ladder, recessed to prevent stubbing your toes. An optional swim platform extension ($645) is available, and, in fact, my tester was fitted with the Flight Series Package ($3,429), which includes that extension plus a wakeboard tower, sporty graphics, a Bimini top and a gelcoat deck stripe. The tower sported nice welds and secure mounting and didn’t impede my visibility while running the boat. Order the Fish Pack ($2,143) and you’ll have a true multitasker.

With a carbureted 135 hp MerCruiser 3.0 TKS Alpha sterndrive, the 175 zoomed to 43 mph, attained plane in four seconds and handled with civility even during high-speed turns — the standard power steering aiding greatly in that regard. Good things, apparently, do come in small packages.