Larson LXH 190 I/O: A New Kind of Crossover

Larson’s LXH 190 I/O blurs the line between runabout and deckboat, and does it beautifully.


This article originally appeared on boats.com. Republished by permission.


Last fall when Larson introduced a new 19’ platform, the LXH 190 bowrider, we delved into the differences between outboard and stern-drive options. But now we need to take a closer look at the stern-drive LXH 190 I/O, because its propulsion package makes it appealing to many inland lake boaters and coastal customers—and because it’s sleek like Larson’s other sport boats, yet stands apart because of its design, which is a wonderful crossover between a deckboat and a runabout.

In stern-drive form, the LXH 190 I/O still looks sporty yet has the room of a deckboat.
In stern-drive form, the LXH 190 I/O still looks sporty yet has the room of a deckboat.

The first detail to consider is the bow, which changed slightly this year. It features a pickle-fork, which became a popular design cue a few years ago and has spread throughout the marine industry like a brush fire on a parched hillside. That happened for a reason. The pickle-fork is a good-looking design, but it also has the added benefit of creating more room in the bow. In the LXH 190 I/O, the bow walk-through is full-width from the windshield to the forward platform. What’s different is in the forward center seat, which used to be molded in but now can be folded down to increase bow deck space.

That roominess also is evident in the cockpit, which is conventional in its layout, but is more spacious than many 19’ runabouts. What’s neat is how the top of the windshield doesn’t constrict interior space. It largely parallels the gunwales and the dashboard to port and starboard. That matters when people are milling about in the cockpit.

Specifications:

  • Length: 18’9″
  • Beam:  8’3″
  • Draft: 2’10″
  • Deadrise: 21 degrees
  • Displacement:  3,360 lbs.
  • Fuel capacity:  37 gal.

The aft bench offers ample seating space, too. It’s not full width, but that’s because Larson designers fitted the LXH 190 with a walk-through to the swim platform. It’s economy-sized, just wide enough to provide access to the aft platform for swimming and water sports, or for disembarking onto the dock. And this is where a stern-drive shines, benefitting from the full-width platform and the sunpad atop the engine box. Most deck boat designs, of course, run with outboards.

In terms of build quality, the LXH 190 is manufactured with the automated VEC process in which factory workers spray the female portion of the molds with gelcoat in the conventional way. After that, they lay out precut pieces of fiberglass matting and position steel backing plates and hardware inside the female mold. Then, the automation begins: the male portion of the mold lowers hydraulically and locks onto the lower half with an air-tight seal. A resin and catalyst mixture is injected to form a one-piece hull and stringer assembly. You can see a video of the process here:

That manufacturing process produces a more consistent product and helps keep costs in check, and it shows in the LXH 190 I/O’s price. Base MSRP is $39,567 with a 180-horsepower 4.3-liter V6. That’s plenty to push around a 3,360-pound boat, but it might be worth the extra money to get MerCruiser’s 250-horse 4.5-liter V6. The 4.5-liter V6 is not a marinized automotive engine, but rather a proprietary engine from MerCruiser, designed and built to power boats, and it’s a great package. That bumps the price to $43,131.

There are a couple of other items on the options list that you kind of need. Those are the Bimini top, which costs $826, and a splash of color on the hullsides, which adds $564. The rest you should be able to live without, and that keeps the LXH 190 I/O under $50,000, which is critical for some buyers.

In a market where the list of needs often overshadows the list of wants, the Larson LXH 190 I/O is a refreshing stern-drive option—and it offers the sporty looks of a bowrider along with the roomy interior of a deckboat.

Other Choices: The Sea Ray 19 SPX is a natural competitor. Same goes for the Four Winns Horizon H190.

For more information, visit Larson.

 

 

Stingray 192SC: Covering All the Bases

Stingray Boats, of Hartville, South Carolina, has been building small powerboats since 1979. As of 2015 the company is making 26 models, ranging from 18 to 25 feet in five styles – sport runabouts, deck boats, sport decks, fishing boats, and cuddy-cabin cruisers. Some of the individual designs share basic hull forms with other styles, with most of the difference seen in the fit-out abovedecks,  but all Stingray boats feature well-regarded Z-Plane hydrodynamics.

The Stingray 192SC offers a lot in 20 feet -- swimming, fishing, tow-sports, and two great lounging zones. The bimini, with stainless fittings, is standard.
The Stingray 192SC offers a lot in 20 feet — swimming, fishing, tow-sports, and two great lounging zones. The bimini, with stainless fittings, is standard.

At just over 20 feet, the new 192SC  is a multi-talented performer. It’s small enough (with a beam of 8’4”) for easy trailering and garage storage, but big enough to handle plenty of outboard power. With a 115-hp Mercury the boat tops out at about 40 mph; for a few thousand dollars more it will take a 150-hp Merc and run 10 mph faster.

On deck the 192sc shines as a capable all-arounder. Across the wide bow is a platform with molded non-skid for swimming or casting, a small bow locker, and a recessed forward boarding ladder. Just aft is a roomy seating area with ventilated stowage under the seats. There’s a walkthrough between the helm and the freshwater sink to port (a standard item) then another comfortable lounging scheme in the cockpit. A second walk-through to starboard allows easy access to the transom and aft swim platform – where there’s more stowage and a folding swim ladder.

There's a walk-through from the aft seating area to the swim platform, home to a swimming ladder and   stowage  for wet gear.
There’s a walk-through from the aft seating area to the swim platform, home to a swimming ladder and stowage for wet gear.

Other standard features include a bimini with stainless fittings, an Igloo cooler, an aerated livewell aft, and other high-quality touches like stainless cup holders, rod holders, and rubrail.

Brett Becker has a full review off the 192sc on boats.com: Stingray 192SC: Hit the Sweet Spot. And for more information, visit Stingray Boats.

 

Video: Bayliner 217 SD Deck Boat Boat Review

According to the Boats.com review team, this zippy deck boat offers many different ways to have fun on the water.

Read Lenny’s Bayliner 217 SD Boat Test Notes

Video Boat Review Transcript

You know what’s great about deck boats? They create space. Unlike other boats that lose space. Like this tremendous bow platform. Look, there’s room up here for three bathing beauties like myself to stretch out. You know what else is cool about deck boats? Get rid of these cushions and you have a tremendous bow casting platform for fishing. Or add a wakeboard tower or tow package and you have a great watersports boat. You want to talk about highly adaptable? This is it.

One of the first things we’re gonna do to explore just how versatile the 217 SD is, is change the whole bow configuration.

So why doesn’t everyone use the bow deck design? Well, it looks a little unusual. But check out what it gives you. Look at all this space up front. And it turns the bow into another swim platform.

Two must haves: cold drinks, and cut limes. That’s why you got a cooler right here, and a cutting board right here. With this area that drains at the bottom. And a trash can, right here.

Another must have, right here: we all know what that is.

Wakeboarders will be happy to see this tower option. But is it sturdy? Yeah, I’d say so.

This turns into a lounger. And you have engine access right here. Plus, storage compartments on either side.

Design and Construction

Now Matt, I like this transom, but one thing confuses me. This hatch opens this way, and the other goes the other way. What’s going on?

Matt Guilford, Bayliner Boats: You know, that’s a great observation. We designed the transom area so you had storage no matter where you are in the boat. Folks in the interior can easily access that one, and this one is for people already on the swim step. It’s a great place to put wet wakeboards, wet waterskis, and it keeps them out of the interior of the boat.

Compared to other Bayliners, this is an unusual boat. Tell me, how does it fit into your lineup?

Read the entire transcript: Bayliner 217 SD: Video Boat Review