BAYLINER 185 AND 175 REVIEW | Trade Boats Australia | Boats and Yacht Catalog

BAYLINER 185 AND 175 REVIEW | Trade Boats Australia

29 Апр 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »
Bayliner 175


The Bayliner 185 and 175. Best of both worlds.

The arrival of the latest new model from America often means the boat in question has an extra drinkholder or a different colour scheme, but in terms of Bayliner’s 2012 range there are a number of significant differences and — in the case of the 175 — an entirely new hull.

We could not have picked a more glorious day for our test of the 175 and its bigger sibling, the 185. It was a clear and sunny winter’s day on Sydney Harbour, and the temperature pushed into the high 20s. With perfect weather and one of Australia’s most spectacular waterways at our fingertips, conditions were ripe to show off these two bowriders in their element — cruising, hooning around and generally enjoying life out on the water.

Actually, we experienced a good range of conditions even without a breath of wind, because we found plenty of man-made rough water, particularly around Sydney’s famous bridge. When people ask me what sort of boat they should buy to tour Sydney Harbour, I tell them to get a damn good one. For first-timers, negotiating the waters around Circular Quay can be quite daunting, as you have to avoid being mowed down by kamikaze River Cats while tackling the monster backwash trailing behind the bigger ferries.

I was about to find out for myself how a 175 and a 185 would fare in the marine equivalent of city peak-hour traffic…

THE 175

Although it’s the baby of the Bayliner fleet, the 175 just might be the liveliest budget-oriented fun package around. The new hull is now even sleeker and more efficient. Even with the relatively agricultural four-cylinder MerCruiser it’s still a rocket ship on the water, blasting its way to a top speed of 41kts (75.9kmh) — which feels extremely fast when sitting close to the water. It’s a virtual go-kart in the steering department, and allows itself to be thrown around from side to side with glee.

Bayliner has taken a page out of Henry Ford’s business manual, which means you can have the 2012-spec 175 in any colour you like, as long as it’s black. Fortunately for the fashion conscious, black seems to be the now colour in boats; it’s the new black, if you will. White topsides offset the stark dark panel along the side and the contrast accentuates the flowing lines of the hull, which dips down at the bow to create a sporty low profile, in turn enhanced by the new lower-profile windscreen. A big Bayliner logo announces the brand, but the model size is kept to an understated badge amidships.

Layout is typical of an American bowrider and for a small boat it makes good use of the length — it’s roomy enough for seven passengers. There are spots in the bow for three — although it’s a more comfortable place for one each side sitting lengthways — plus a driver’s seat, back-to-back passenger seats and rear jump seats for another two. This year’s model brings more freeboard to the cockpit, and the deeper sides will be a welcome addition for those with children.

The helm has a simple bucket seat on a slider and it is set low in the hull, giving good vision through the screen. However, driving from a standing position isn’t particularly comfortable — it would only be a temporary option when docking. Because the seat is set low the 175 gives you the impression of being in a sports car, accentuated by the fact you’re sitting so close to the water. There is good forward / aft adjustment of the seat and although it does not have a wraparound profile, it’s still reasonably comfortable and easy to access.


An all-new dash has a simplified instrument panel with two large dials instead of the wide array from the previous model. You get a speedo that incorporates a fuel gauge and voltage meter plus a separate tacho. The new layout makes room for two drinkholders on the driver’s dash, which inevitably make a good place for mobile phones and keys, too. The steering wheel is a sporty number with good grip and it now also features tilt adjustment. A row of switch panels operates the horn, lights and bilge blower, while the ignition key is on the left of the wheel, which I found a bit awkward at first as I’m right-handed.

On the passenger side, the back-to-back seat can convert to a full-length sunlounge with storage below. Navigators get a drinkholder, a grabrail and a new lockable glovebox instead of the open bin on the old model.

Bayliner 175

Between the front seats is an in-floor locker extending to the bow to take skis up to 8ft long. I know it’s a cost-cutting thing but it’s unlined and the lid is removable rather than being hinged, which can also be a bit awkward. Waterproof carpet on the floor is permanently fixed and does not extend into the bow.

In the stern, two seats either side of the enginebox are removable and reveal non-skid mouldings for boarding. Moulded storage trays are now built into the engine cover to make a useful table for rear passengers and a much more practical use of this space. Gas struts aid lifting the cover and keep it upright for easy inspection and maintenance. Out back is a narrow swim platform with a folding stainless steel ladder moulded into the starboard side.

Because the narrow gunwales allow more cockpit space there is a shortage of stowage along the sidewalls. A simple bungee net has also been included to hold smaller items.


Yes, I described the 3lt motor as agricultural and at first I felt the carby-fed, in-line four-cylinder MerCruiser seemed a little mundane. However, after a full day on the water I’m prepared to eat my words. That’s because the 175 simply doesn’t need more power. Out of the hole it lifted high at the bow but quickly got on the plane. With only a slight touch on the trim lever it settled into a nice, flat stance and was soon flying along at over 40kts (74kmh). At low speeds the motor seemed a bit lumpy (the dealer explained that it was a new engine and still needed fine-tuning) but as the revs increased it sounded sweeter. At full noise it turned into a banshee wail that told you it was doing its best to propel you as fast as it could. On the harbour the chop kept us down to 21.1kts (39kmh) at 3000rpm, which is still a reasonable cruising speed, and the 175 remained dry even over the wake from bigger boats.


At $29,990 drive away the 175 is very much in boat bargain territory. Sure, it’s an entry-level package without all the trimmings, but it’ll get you on the water in a proven and capable package that will thrill your socks off or cruise at a leisurely pace while you take in the sights and enjoy the sunshine.

On the plane.

Bayliner 175
Bayliner 175
Bayliner 175
Bayliner 175
Bayliner 175

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