Only the die-hard fishermen were on our test lake when we headed out in the LXi 238. Everyone else was heading in, unwilling to contend with the water being churned in 15-20 mph winds. And that’s why the first note in the margin of our test sheet says this: “Smooth ride. Real smooth.”
This response came even before we saw the literature about Larson’s new SofRide Hull. If you look at the running surfaces of the company’s previous runabouts, you can see that for the all-new LXi series boats they extended the strakes and sharpened the deadrise at the transom. In the process, they also designed extremely deep freeboard. All of this makes the 238 — hardly huge, being the middle brother in the LXi family — appropriate for big lakes and along the coast. That’s our take after running in a cold, hard wind and whitecaps.
At rest in a calm cove we did poke around the head under the port console, though we think it will be used mostly as a changing area. Most of our time was spent at the transom. Walkthroughs to the swim platform on each side of the sun pad create a sun “island” over the engine bay, and they give the flexibility to adjust that island into a full lounge. Storage in the floor of each walkthrough means you can access gear without asking people to move.
All that said, everything still comes down to our initial response. Smooth ride. Real smooth.
Key Note: A 5.0-liter engine will save some money if you don’t need blistering acceleration out of the hole.
• The dual walkthrough at the transom leads seamlessly to a swim platform without stepping down to it.
• We did like the close-quarter handling of the Bravo 3 drive when the wind wanted to push us away from the dock.
• A new design firm freshened up Larson’s traditional lines and look for this new runabout series.
* Length Overall: 23’6″
* Beam: 8’6″
* Dry Weight: 4,440 lb.
* Seating/Weight Capacity: 10/1,500 lb.
* Fuel Capacity: 56 gal.
* Maximum HP: 320
* MSRP (test boat w/ MerCruiser 5.0L B3): $53,900
* NMMA Certified: Yes
* Test Engine: MerCruiser 5.0L MPI
* Test Prop: 22.5 four-blade, Bravo 3
* Test Load: People (400 lb.); Fuel (38 gal.)
* Top Speed: 45.6 mph @ 5,100 rpm
* Time to Plane: 4.2 sec.
* Time to 30 MPH: 9.1 sec.
* Minimum Planing Speed: 17.5 mph @ 2,400 rpm