Capt Rob Says
Larson has been known for building excellent lake boats. In today’s growing market with more and more Europeans looking at Larson, they felt they needed a clean slate to build a boat for the big water you might experience around the coasts and in places the Baltic and the Med. Larson looked outside of their company for a designer with the appropriate credentials to start fresh for this new series. What they got was a boat with lifting strakes and full spray rails that deliver a very dry ride, a variable deadrise to smooth the ride even in choppy waves (the “Soft Ride Hull”) and an extended planing surface to get on plane faster. Deep bow and cockpit areas keep you inside and dry, even when the waters about you get sloppy.
Things We Like
One of the first things I noticed and appreciated was there are two cleats in the bow instead of the double duty single anchor cleat some bow riders have. This makes docking much more friendly whether alongside or in a slip. The mid and stern cleats ensure you can do a proper job of securing your boat -- bow, stern and spring line -- before you leave it.
The optional arch is not only one of the most unique looking we’ve seen, it’s also designed cleverly. Rather than have it disconnected or hinged down without support, this one is hinged and supported without having to lie across the helm and companion dashes or windshield. A gas assisted shock and cable system does all the work. You will definitely appreciate that when you’re trailering this boat!The stern activity centers have features like a shower, stereo remote to make changing tunes easier, and swim ladder. This platform is further above the water than we’d like, but Larson compensated with a four-step ladder as opposed to the usual three. It has some smaller pull-up cleats on the aft edge to tie off your water toys or a dinghy. These are a rarity in this class boat.
The 258 offers cockpit access on the port or starboard side which is really convenient. There is also a locker under the sunpad to stow filler cushions and tow lines. One thing you will find out quickly is that Larson eliminated the sole locker and has provided storage around the boat where you need it, such as a stern locker for gear. At the end of the day at anchor, I really enjoyed relaxing in the rumble seat facing aft. There’s room for two with drink holders to help keep your hands free. All you need is a clear view of the sunset!
Into the cockpit
Larson has stitched piping on the seats and cushions for a better look and feel to the upholstery. Overall, there is ample seating in the cockpit as well as storage, drink holders and speakers so all can enjoy the music. The bucket seats are a new design which allows you to spin around on the seat without having to swivel. They are super comfortable regardless of position.But just as on virtually every other boat in this class you can’t raise the helm seat. So, before you buy, make sure when you are sitting there that you have good visibility.The portable table has a clever twist that we’d like to see more often. It has a cork layer on top that prevents your drink from sliding across every time a wave passes beneath the boat. I have been seeing Sirius Satellite ready radios in boats for years now. Larson raises the bar with the portable system along with the parts so you can take yours to your car or home rather than have multiple subscriptions for each. The stereo is now a Sony system and has a dial that even I can read. The 258 LXi has a small wet bar behind the helm seat for preparing beverages. The head compartment is certainly big enough for the kids to take advantage of. But at 6’ tall, and 230 lb., I will likely still wait to get back to the docks.
The helm station is well laid out with primary 5” inch gauges mounted high for visibility and smaller engine monitoring gauges below them. Between the two primary gauges is a space to mount a small GPS unit, if you desire one. The dash has more of an upscale automotive look to it. The windshield is large enough for decent visibility whether on the bolster or seated while running. They do have side/wing windows that help keep the air from chilling you too much. One option you may like is the blue tinted windshield.
Larson’s 258 LXi has a centerline measurement of 25’6”. Her beam measures 8’6” and she weighs 4750 lbs. dry with base engine. She carries 56 gallons of fuel and is rated for up to 425 hp engines from Volvo Penta or MerCruiser.
I found all the seats were incredibly comfortable for riding long distances. Visibility at the helm was good while seated or on the bolster. The throttle shifted smoothly, partly due to the Extreme cables and upgraded throttle from Volvo Penta or MerCruiser. It delivered the dry ride Larson wanted and fast planing times. The variable deadrise hull shape, reverse strakes, chine flat and high freeboard did their job keeping the captain and crew both dry and relaxed throughout the test ride. Turns were smooth and the hull sliced through the waves we encountered with authority.
The 258 LXi was powered with a MerCruiser 496 MPI packing 375-hp. She reached plane in 4.1 seconds, and made 30 mph in 6.7 seconds. She reached a top speed of 46.4 mph. At 3000 rpm, she was burning 10.5 gph and traveling 28.5 mph for a full tank range of 137 miles.From my point of view, Larson is hitting it straight down the centerline for a home run with the LXi series. You get more amenities, more luxury and performance without the luxury costs. If you have been considering an upscale runabout or are ready to move up from the basics, Larson’s LXi series should go on your short list.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Larson LXi 258 (2009-) is 45.4 mph (73.1 kph), burning 31.2 gallons per hour (gph) or 118.09 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Larson LXi 258 (2009-) is 28.5 mph (45.9 kph), and the boat gets 2.72 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.16 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 137 miles (220.48 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 375-hp MerCruiser 496 MAG MPI.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
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