Captain's ReportLarson LXi Series--218, 238, 258
By Capt. Rob SmithCrossing the stern
All three of the boats in the new series carry many of the same traits, so you basically choose the size that fits your typical load and enjoy! 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. 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 before you leave it.
The optional arch is also designed rather 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 are trailering this boat!
The stern activity centers have features like a shower, stereo remote to make changing tunes easier, and the typical swim ladder. This platform is further above the water. It has some smaller pull-up cleats on the aft edge to tie off your water toys or a dinghy. The 218 LXi has a port side transom walkthrough. You flip up one section of the sunpad, swing out the seat back with scissor action, and take out one small seat cushion to get onboard. No fumbling around and trying to stow multiple cushions to get everyone onboard or keep the path clear at anchor. The 238 offers access on the port or starboard side which is really convenient. On the 238, there is also a locker under the sunpad to stow filler cushions and tow lines. That is one thing you will find out quickly. 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, I really enjoyed relaxing in the rumble seat on the larger LXi. 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
The cockpit sports Larson’s new upgraded vinyl and piping for a better look and feel to the upholstery. Overall, regardless of the model, 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. The portable table has a wonderful treatment to it. 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 system 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 while the 238 LXi has a sink inside the head compartment rather than taking space away from the cockpit. The head compartment is certainly big enough for the kids to take advantage of. At 6’ tall, I will likely still wait to get back to the docks, but it will save a lot of expensive and timely runs to the marina!
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.To the bow
Up front, other than progressively more room, the only difference between the three models is that the 218 has open storage below the bench seats, while the 238 and 258 have finished storage compartments.Specifications
The LXi 218 measures 21’6” centerline length with a beam of 8’3”. Her weight tips the scales at about 3735 lbs. dry with base engine and she carries 34 gallons of fuel. Engine options go up to either a MerCruiser or Volvo Penta 320-hp sterndrive.Test Results
I found all three models thoughtfully laid out with good ergonomics at the helm. The seats were incredibly comfortable for riding long distances. The spring suspension really pays off. Visibility at the helm was good while seated or on the bolster. The throttles shifted smoothly, partly due to the Extreme cables and upgraded throttles from Volvo Penta and MerCruiser. All three 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 hulls sliced through the waves we encountered with authority.
The LXi 218 with a Volvo Penta 5.7Gi produced a hole shot of 3.2 seconds and a time to 30 mph of 6.3 seconds. Her top speed reached 51.1 mph. At 3000 rpm, she was running 27.9 mph burning 7.4 mpg for a full tank range of 115 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 offers just the right amount of luxury and comfort at a price that is surprisingly well positioned for the market.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Larson LXi 218 (2009-) is 51.1 mph (82.2 kph), burning 22.8 gallons per hour (gph) or 86.3 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Larson LXi 218 (2009-) is 27.9 mph (44.9 kph), and the boat gets 3.76 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.6 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 115 miles (185.07 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 280-hp Volvo Penta 5.7Gi gas sterndrive.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
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