Bayliner 175 XT

The Bayliner 175 XT gets buyers on the water in a fiberglass boat for a price that cannot be beaten.

Think about what kind of big-ticket item you can buy for $10,000-- new, with a full warranty. A motorcycle, maybe. A golf cart,certainly. Not much though. So we were eager to see what Baylinerhas been touting since last summer as a family runabout for $9,995-- with trailer. What could they possibly offer for that price, infiberglass?

With open minds, we stepped onto the nonskid entry over theengine cover. First impression from a high angle was theside-to-side space. It breathes because Bayliner kept the gunwalesnarrow so much so that there was room for a backpack between thecockpit seats and the interior side panels. Though the seating isset up for seven, it would be more practical for six, which is asmany as you’d realistically want in a small boat powered by a3.0L engine. As a bonus, the back-to-back seats slide down to formtwo sleeper lounges. Our test boat came with the optional XTpackage, which includes a collapsible tower, CD player and upgradedgraphics for an extra $1,300.

During our test, rattles were nonexistent. The boat was quick toplane with the modest power and two men on board, and we topped outat 43 mph. It was a little squirrelly around the dock, and a heavyskier could certainly pull the stern side to side. Point is, wewere tooling around and playing tunes at a decent clip and a modestprice.

Bayliner is able to offer this bargain for several reasons.Their computer-assisted design and automated system of cutting newplugs allows them to test new hulls in weeks, not months.They’ve also cut costs by building this boat in one of theworld’s optimum supply centers in Mexico – in the samearea as General Motors, Ford and Volkswagen plants. OK, the 175doesn’t have a hinge on the floor locker and it isn’tloaded like the 249 deck boat. But it gets buyers on the water in afiberglass boat for a price that cannot be beaten.

Final Take: A 1980 price for a 2003 boat

We Also Like …

1. A 6-foot-long floor locker can hold an average ski or severalfishing rods.

2. Instrumentation panel includes seven Faria gauges withstainless-steel bezels.

3. Folding swim ladder off the transom platform.

4. Tilt steering opens legroom at the helm.

5. Quality AM/FM/CD from JVC.

6. 18-gallon fuel tank has estimated range of 100 miles.

DETAILS

Length Overall: 17’6”

Beam: 7’10”

Dry Weight: 1,900 lb.

Seating/Weight Capacity: 7/NA

Fuel Capacity: 18 gal.

Max HP: 135

MSRP (test boat): $11,190 (w/out freight, tax or dealerprep)

Contact: 800-443-9119

PERFORMANCE

Test Engine: MerCruiser 3.0L

Test Prop: 21-pitch, aluminum

Test Load: Fuel (10 gal.); People (370 lb.)

Top Speed: 43.1 MPH @ 5,000 RPM

Time to Plane: 4.4 sec.

Time to 30 MPH: 8.7 sec.

Minimum Planing Speed: 18 MPH @ 2,600 RPM

Noise at Idle: 67 db

Noise at 30 MPH: 85 db

Cruise Stats: 85 db; 30 MPH @ 3,750 RPM

POWER CURVE

RPM MPH

1,000 4.2

1,500 6.8

2,000 8.0

2,500 16.2

3,000 23.8

3,500 28.1

4,000 33.0

4,500 38.6

5,000 43.1