Bayliner claims that the 175 BR is their hottest selling boat. We had no reason to doubt them, but considering the quality of Bayliners lately, we suspected it was a dubious claim to fame. After looking her over, we found little that we didn’t like about this fun runabout. Bayliner also wants us to believe they’ve come of age in designing boats able to squeeze more performance out of less horsepower. To that we say “really?” We can’t prove that by just looking her over, so we put the 175 BR through a full test to see just how she performs.
The Bayliner 175 BR measures in at 17'6" (5.33 m) LOA and 6'11" (2.11 m) wide, making this a simple and easily trailerable day boat. But would we toss the keys to the kids for the day?
Capt. Steve’s Test
With the “better performance out of less horsepower” words ringing in our ears, we set out from the launch ramp to see for ourselves if Bayliner had it right or were just talking the talk. The first thing we noticed, which doesn’t necessarily have to do with performance per se, is that this is one of the most easily trailerable boats out there, but more on that later.
You can see that even the average male model had a clear line of sight through the windshield, but we’d still like to see the addition of a flip up bolster on the options list. The Bimini is optional, and a must have.
We did find that this is a very nice handling, and very docile boat. One of the first encounters we had was a 75’ sportfisherman coming right at us at half speed, which meant half in the water, which meant a humongous wake following right behind... each wave easily above our rails, and breaking at the top. With nowhere to run, we headed right for them and reduced speed to “slow cruise.” Just before they got to us, we turned to meet them at a 45-degree, and we simply cruised up and over, and then up and over again. Nothing came onboard, no one got wet, and mister “could care less about his wake” continued on, blissfully unconcerned about the rest of the boats he was beating up, most of them shallow draft cast-netters that did indeed take the wakes over the rails. Oh well, we at least passed the first test, even if it wasn’t planned.
We’re glad to see that Bayliner did away with the faux wood panel and went with a more silvery panel that adds brightness without adding glare.
Now Let’s Get Going
With Shamu’s wake now past, we got to the business of performance. We’ve tested our share of Bayliners and have now come to expect less than “break- neck” performance. In other words, hard turns at full speed are not an event that requires all to be hanging on. Quite the contrary, a slight slide accompanies the turn with a gentle bank angle that keeps everyone onboard and comfortably planted in their seats. Also, the 175 tends to bleed off speed in the turn, which further reduces the need to brace.
Even if you try to get into trouble, the 175 simply won’t let it happen. It’s just too forgiving of a boat. Since this is largely an entry-level boat, your kids are going to want to take the keys and stretch their legs on their own. Let them. This is exactly the boat you want for that occasion.
Notice how high the sides come up on the bow seats. The grab handles are positioned just right for a quick grab if needed. We’d add a bow cleat for anchoring. This boat is equipped with the optional bow cover.
But What About “More Performance for Less HP?”
Let’s take a look at the numbers.
Our tests were performed with the one and only engine available, the venerable 135-hp MerCruiser 3.0L. You can get power steering or a catalytic converter, but it’s still the 3.0L. We found the top speed to be a respectable 44.1 mph while burning 11 gph. Our best cruise came at 3000 rpm and 24.4 mph while burning only 4.6 gph.
So let’s do a little math. With a 21 gallon (79.5 L) tank, you can conceivably cruise for 4 hours at 24.4 mph with a 10% fuel reserve. At roughly $3/gallon (I know… your cost may vary) you’re looking at about $57 a day, less if you don’t spend it all at cruise speed. That’s not too shabby a way to spend that kind of money, and it will pay dividends that you can’t put a price on.
There are not a lot of surprises in the layout of the 175 BR, nor should we expect any. As in any 17’6" boat, there is a limited supply of storage. It’s in the usual places but just not a lot of it. Once you bring the tote bags of towels, a cooler, change of clothes, sunscreen, beach chairs… the usual junk, you’ve pretty much max’d out the available space. So once again, we take this opportunity to recommend that you wear your life jackets rather than use them to take up valuable storage space.
The Bayliner 175 has a basic layout for seating seven people. Note the curved windshield frame that gives the boat a more pleasant look.
There is storage under both bow seats which, by the way, are quite comfortable for two people stretched out in lounging position, but cramped when attempting to face each other. The walkthrough windshield is supported by 1 ¾” supports that easily held my weight as I did 100 dips (one of which was caught on camera).
The helm seat is a well positioned bucket, and we were glad to see that it isn't wrap-around. This allows you to easily rotate yourself to the side to stand up, rather than be required to slide forward and out, something you rarely have room to do. The seat adjusts fore and aft as well as swivels. A flip up bolster option wouldn’t hurt, but is not available.
If you’re looking to lie down, these seats open up to make a flat sunning area.
We’re happy to see that Bayliner went with the dual seats on either side of the engine box, rather than a sunpad and bench seat. This gives more cockpit space.
The portside seating is back to back and lays flat for sunning. We were most pleased with the stern layout: Seats on both sides of an engine box instead of a sunpad with bench seating intruding into the cockpit. For a boat this size, it’s a perfect layout. For me, who bursts into flame in the sun, it’s even better. We would like to see the addition of a fire extinguisher discharge port in the engine box.
The engine cover is supported by two gas assist struts. Note how the box is gasketed all around. The hatch is back-gelled for a finished look underneath. The seat backs lift out for easy access to battery and hoses.
Who’d Want One?
If sales are any indication, a lot of people. Frankly, it’s easy to see ourselves trailering this boat to any vacation spot. If you're retired, what better way to enjoy your stops along the highways of the country?
If you have kids, or better still, grandkids, this boat will have you on the favored list in short order. It comes to you nicely equipped right out of the box, so to speak, with a trailer included for an MSRP of only $16,061 less prep and freight. Options include a stereo, Bimini, cockpit cover and wakeboard tower… take your pick. Our choice… go with the Bimini top and you’re good to go.
Bayliner 175 Bowrider (2011-) Test Result Highlights
Top speed for the Bayliner 175 Bowrider (2011-) is 44.1 mph (N/A kph), burning 11.0 gallons per hour (gph) or 41.64 liters per hour (lph).
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels go to our Test Results section.
Standard and Optional Equipment
Bayliner 175 Bowrider (2011-) Standard and Optional Equipment
= Standard = Optional
Bayliner 175 Bowrider (2011-) Warranty
Bayliner 175 Bowrider (2011-) Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
Bayliner 175 Bowrider (2011-) Price
Bayliner 175 Bowrider (2011-) Price
Base Price (MSRP)
Price as Tested
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.
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