Glastron GLS 195
By Capt. Rob Smith
Glastron launched its latest line of new boats with the GLS Series (Glastron Luxury Sport). The GLS 195 is the first of this series designed to include more high-end amenities in an affordable boat.
From the Stern
The GLS 195 has lots of stainless steel including the rub rail insert, and a real heavy duty grab handle that extends from the gunwale down toward the swim platform on either side creating a great place to hang on or pull yourself up from the swim ladder. Bow and stern eyes are also stainless steel, not chrome coated. Small pull up cleats are mounted in the ends of the swim platform to tie off water toys or a raft. The swim platform has a concealed three-step telescoping boarding ladder. It is also large enough to relax and dangle your feet in the water when you are at anchor (with the engine turned off, please!)
From the sunpad, you can sit back, relax and watch the kids at play behind the boat or observe folks shelling on the beaches. The walk-through is on the starboard side has a flip up cushion so people can step onboard without getting the cushions wet or dirty. Lifting the sunpad, my test model had a Volvo Penta 4.3L GL installed. Glastron does offer several optional engines from a 135-hp to a 5.0L 270-hp sterndrive from either Volvo Penta or MerCruiser.
In the Cockpit
The cockpit is laid out well to accommodate her capacity of 9 persons. I measured about 68” of width from gunwale to gunwale and 34” interior freeboard. When I consider that I have tested some much larger runabouts that had 72” across the cockpit and less than 26” freeboard, this is really good!
Glastron intends for you to enjoy watersports with the GLS 195, and that is why it took the time to add reinforcement for an Xtreme wakeboard tower which you can have your dealer install. Seating includes a bench seat across the stern and SuspensionAire adjustable bucket seats for the helm and shotgun Drink holders are peppered about and are stainless steel, not low-grade plastic, so you can count on them lasting and staying in great shape over the years.
The Sirius satellite-ready AM/FM/CD stereo and an auxiliary jack for your MP3 player or iPod are conveniently inside the companion side glove box. I like this location as it keeps the stereo, especially the CD player out of the elements as well as my iPod. As an upgrade, you can opt for a remote at the bow for handling the tunes from a beach or sandbar and at the stern for enjoyment from the water aft. This model has four speakers, all with stainless steel covers standard. Snap-in carpet is often optional, but not in the GLS Series, where it’s standard as is a locker mat in the sole locker to drain and protect your gear when stowed.
I found the helm laid out for good visibility and functionality. The only instrument partially blocked by the custom tilt wheel was the depth gauge. I would swap it with one of the other analog gauges and move it out away from the wheel for better viewing; but depending on the position of the wheel, it may not be covered at all for you. Underway, even without an armrest, I was comfortable just resting my hand and forearm on the throttle/shifter. The primary gauges are 5” gauges mounted high for maximum visibility and there is a spot between the two for a GPS to be mounted if you chose.
The slightly curved windshield is retro-looking and well supported. I tested this by trying to see if it will hold my 235+ lbs dangling across the walk-through, and it didn’t even wiggle.
The bow area is a great place for the kids to hang out while the adults chat in the main cockpit at anchor or in the slip. You can fit one or two adults up there, but at 6’, I was a little cramped when I tried to stretch out. In the side panels were a speaker, drink holders and a beefy grab bar for that extra security you want.
The all new GLS 195 measures 19’4” length overall with a beam of 7’10”. Her base weight with a 4.3 L GL Volvo Penta engine is approximately 2915 lbs. With the sterndrive trimmed up, she draws 16” and with it all the way down, it draws 29”. She has a fuel capacity of 34 gallons and 21 degrees of deadrise at the transom.
When I performed my hole shot tests, I never lost the horizon, except the one time I forgot to trim the outdrive down all the way (oops). When I did some tight or hard-over turns, she stayed pretty flat and remained dug in without cavitation as long as I remembered to trim the outdrive in a bit before the turn, as you are supposed to do. The GLS 195 handled smoothly throughout the test on an inland lake with 3 onboard. She was up on plane in 3.3 seconds and up to 30 mph in 7.3 seconds. At a comfortable cruising speed of 25.6 mph at 3000 rpm, she burns 6.4 gph and can travel 122 miles on a full tank of fuel. I clocked her top speed at 47.8 mph at 4800 rpm.
If you are looking for an entry-level boat and haven’t looked at a Glastron lately, you need to check out Glastron’s GLS Series. The builder offers you a lot of nice features at a good value. They do offer a few options such as an extra stainless steel package, upgrade package with docking lights and more, so you still can customize it the way you want. You can also add canvas packages. The base price starts at $28,300, which includes the Volvo Penta 3.0 GL and a EZ Loader GM 3500S custom trailer.