Ready Out of the Box
Larson equips the LXi 238 with plenty of standard equipment for the boat’s base price of $50,070; that’s with a 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0L MPI and Bravo III drive. The same package with a catalytic converter to meet emissions regulations where necessary is $52,934. Bigger MerCruisers, to 320-hp, and Volvo Pentas, also to 320-hp, are available; most expensive ($58,238) is the catalyst-compliant 320-hp MerCruiser 377 Mag MPI EC, also with a Bravo III. In 2009 we tested the LXi 238 with the 320-hp Volvo Penta 5.7 GXi: Top speed was 44.2 knots (81.9 KPH), cruise around 23.2 knots (43 KPH). Performance should be similar with the biggest MerCruiser. No matter what engine you choose, Larson includes deluxe sport bucket seats with flip-up bolsters for skipper and companion, tilt steering, a full gauge package including hour meter, horn, AM/FM/stereo with four speakers and an MP3 jack, a sink with 12 gallons of fresh water and a color-matched trailer with swing tongue and custom wheels. All you really need to add is safety gear, docklines and fenders.
A boat like this is all about leaving the cockpit, whether to waterski, wakeboard, swim or catch some rays. Larson makes it easy, too: The walk-through windshield opens a carpeted passage into the bow, where there’s comfortable lounging room for two. A filler cushion is a $390 option. Do you need it? We think not – there’s a big sunpad aft.
Construction: Stiffer Is Better
Larson is one of only a handful of builders to employ the VEC (Virtual Engineered Composites) computer-monitored, closed molding process. Its proponents say VEC creates a stiff, strong and solid boat that holds its shape in rough water “for optimal performance and fuel efficiency.” Not only does VEC ensure that the running surface stays straight and true, but it also virtually eliminates rattles and vibration for a smooth, quiet ride. Larson is so confident of VEC quality that it covers its hulls with a lifetime limited structural warranty, and the warranty is transferable to a second owner – a good selling point when you decide to move up to a bigger Larson.
Options Add Up
You’ll want to add some options to your LXi 238. First on our list will be the wakeboard tower, even though it costs $8,522. That includes board racks. Yes, the boat comes with a stainless steel ski tow ring (all deck hardware is stainless), but skiing is so 20th century. Today we wanna wakeboard, or at least our kids do, so the tower is, for us, a no-brainer.
And what’s a fun family boat without a major sound system? We’d pay the $910 to upgrade the standard stereo to one with a subwoofer and amp. Heck, the guy on the board wants to hear Lady Gaga, too, doesn’t he? If you’re really into making a racket, Larson offers the Captain’s Call Exhaust on some engines; this lets you redirect your exhaust from underwater to through the transom, just like on raceboats. We think it’s cool, but at $3,510 we’d let it pass. If we want to make noise, we’ll buy a sportboat to start with.Using the Larson website, we spec’ed out our own LXi 238, with the options mentioned above, plus a canvas package (Bimini top and bow and cockpit covers) and the Lifestyle package of docking lights, transom shower and swim platform mat. With the 320-hp catalytic-converted MerCruiser (we’ll all need them soon, at least in the U.S.), the total came to $71,340, MSRP.
If you have a sporty family, or friends who like to do tricks on a wakeboard, maybe this Larson is the boat for you. She’s got modern styling, plenty of seating, lots of standard stuff and is built by a company known for quality boats. There are lots of boats available in this class, though, so you should check out a bunch of them before deciding. After you do, we wouldn’t be surprised if you came back to the Larson LXi 238: She looks like a pretty good boat to us – but we want the wakeboard tower.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Larson LXi 238 (2011-) is 51.9 mph (83.5 kph), burning 23.7 gallons per hour (gph) or 89.7 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Larson LXi 238 (2011-) is 26.7 mph (43 kph), and the boat gets 3.63 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.54 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 183 miles (294.51 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG.
Standard and Optional Features
|Carpet: Cockpit||Standard Snap-in|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Five to Life