The “pickle fork” design has enjoyed a renaissance in the marine market, getting a firm foothold in the tow boat market a few years ago and spreading to other types of boats, including the family runabout. Larson’s new LXH 230 IO is a perfect example.
The design trend happened for good reason. The design was not only handsome and fresh, but it also was practical. It widened the bow area in all cases and in many cases deepened it, and that’s certainly the case with the LXH 230 IO, now the largest boat in Larson’s LXH lineup. The bow is wide and deep, with fold-down armrests in the center, comfortably angled backrests and angled grab rails ducked into the coaming panels.
“We’re pleased with the success of the LXH line and are thrilled to give boaters another fantastic option for family cruising and watersports,” said Rob Parmentier, president of Larson Boats. “The 230 IO delivers just that, along with some great new features that bolster comfort and convenience.”
There’s a cooler under the step up to the bow platform, which conceals a telescoping swim ladder and small anchor locker. The end result is a much more usable and comfortable bow space.
In the cockpit, the LXH 230 IO gives users the full benefit of 8 feet 6 inches of beam, which results in lots of deck space for moving around, including a dedicated starboard walk-through to the swim platform. There’s a small stowage compartment beneath the walk-through, too. Snap-in carpeting is an option, as is a bimini top, both worth considering. The aft bench is roomy and it, too, has a small stowage compartment under the sun pad, but above and separate from the engine compartment. It’s an integral part of the lid. The pad is hinged at the rear and suspended on gas struts. It’s a pretty clever design.
Under the hatch, the standard powertrain is MerCruiser’s proprietary 4.5-liter V6 and an Alpha I drive. Its 200 horsepower should be plenty to move around the 3,900-pound 230 LXH IO, but if you want more grunt, you can get the 250-horse 4.5 or a 300 horse 6.2 liter V8, which also comes with the twin-counter-rotating-prop Bravo III drive.
The aft end of the LXH 230 IO is a treat because it comes standard with a bolt-on swim platform that gets you closer to the water. It’s fitted with a nonskid surface, drain holes and a stainless-steel telescoping ladder to the starboard side. The best part is that it’s a standard feature.
Other notable standard features include six pull up cleats right where you want them, a galvanized trailer — with a swing tongue — for going from lake to lake and a Rockford Fosgate stereo with four speakers and USB, and Bluetooth connectivity. The LXH 230 IO also comes with some optional bold graphics options for hull colors, turquoise, maroon, orange and lime green contrasted with black to create a genuinely original look.
At 23 feet, 10 inches long, the 230 LXH IO is large enough to keep you satisfied for years, but its low base price makes it affordable even for first-time boaters. Larson backs it all up with its 10-year limited structural warranty on its hull, deck and stringer system, and a five-year limited warranty on workmanship, materials and components and gelcoat. Base MSRP is $50,186.