Small Really Is Beautiful
Our weeklong experiment with a smaller tow vehicle and a smaller boat revealed three key advantages. First is cost. The $72,481 combined manufacturer's suggested retail price of the Sea Ray 190 Sport and V-6-equipped GMC Terrain Denali was roughly half of what a big turbodiesel pickup and top-shelf wakeboard boat would cost, and they accomplished the same needs on our trip — meaning they transported a family in comfort and safety, competently towed a sport boat into the mountains, and then provided some high-altitude wakeboarding. Second, the GMC Terrain delivered 75 percent better fuel efficiency for the trip than a big pickup and boat package would have, saving us an estimated $230 at the pump over a week and 1,000 miles. And third, the smaller size provided exceptional maneuverability, allowing a more relaxed driving experience and easier access to tight boat ramps and parking lots. So while there's still no replacement for displacement (or a good turbocharger), when it comes to steep grades and high-altitude motoring, this Boating experiment proved that a little moderation can team up beautifully with a massively good time.