Bowriders are the crossover athletes of the boating world. Need convincing? Just take a look at what their owners ask of them. Wakeboarding, skiing, tubing, fishing, joyriding, beaching. It’s all in a day’s work for these prolific runabouts. At the same time, they’re expected to carry a heavy load of people and gear — and to do so with sleek looks and exuberant performance. Good thing today’s boat builders know what it takes to coax the most out of these open-bow family fun boats. Here we take a look at the some of the newest models for Heartland waters.


Rinker Captiva 236 BR

It’s the clever design features, and the way they enhance the usability of the boat, that set this new bowrider apart. The port-to-starboard cockpit bench can convert to an “L” or “U” shape with modular extensions that fold right out of the sidewalls. There when you need them, gone when you don’t. In a similar way, the aft sun pad can become a four-position lounger with a backrest that hides away when not in use. Our only objection is that these features are options. Of course, the standard 236 BR shows some smart thinking, too, including a cooler that can be accessed from above, through the seat top, via a small port. No need to get up when you want a cold one. Stereo speakers and cup holders are recessed into the coaming, taking up less space, and a transom walkthrough with a hinged cover eases flow to and from the integrated swim platform. www.rinkerboats.com


Rinker Captiva 236 BR

Length Overall: 23 feet, 6 inches

Beam: 8 feet, 6 inches

Draft (drive up): 1 foot, 10 inches                                  

Dry Weight: 4,170 pounds

Fuel Capacity: 41 gallons

Max. Power: 320 horsepower

Base Price: $48,615


 


Bayliner 185 Bowrider


Bayliner 185 Bowrider


This builder contends that its new 185 Bowrider is one of the roomiest in its class based on the fact that the widest part of the boat extends farther toward the bow. Bayliner calls this Beam Forward Design, and combined with high gunnels, it provides more passenger space as well as enhanced under-seat storage and safety. The 185 Bowrider comes with a portside back-to-back seat that converts to a lounger, plus a pair of jump seats and a motorbox aft. Optional Sport Seating changes this to twin bucket seats and a full-width transom bench and sun pad. Two available packages — the Flight Series and Fishing Package — allow owners to customize the boat to suit their needs. The former includes a wakeboard tower, swim platform extension and special graphics; the latter a trolling motor, bow and aft casting platforms and seats, livewell, Garmin fishfinder, rod storage and tackle bag. www.bayliner.com


Bayliner 185 Bowrider

Length Overall: 18 feet

Beam: 7 feet, 7 inches

Draft (drive up): 1 foot, 9 inches

Dry Weight: 2,368 pounds

Fuel Capacity: 28 gallons

Max. Power: 220 horsepower

Base Price: $19,999


 


Yamaha AR192


Yamaha AR192


New for this year is the AR192, which along with its SX192 sibling is the first Yamaha boat to come with the supercharged 1.8-liter Super High Output Marine engine. (This is the go-to engine for most of the brand’s WaveRunner lineup.) The result is a boat with impressive speed and a compact propulsion system that sits low in the hull. Designers have used the extra space to create a roomy interior with twin bucket seats and a L-shaped bench in the cockpit — in addition to a stern lounge that merges seamlessly with the molded-in swim platform. This area includes integrated cup holders, wet storage, deck matting, upholstered backrests, a ski tow eye and a swim ladder. An available table and transom stereo remote complete the “patio on the water” feel. The AR192 also comes with a standard, folding wakeboard tower with optional racks, speakers and a rear-view mirror. www.yamahaboats.com


Yamaha AR192

Length Overall: 19 feet, 2 inches

Beam: 8 feet

Draft: 1 foot, 2 inches

Dry Weight: 2,176 pounds

Fuel Capacity: 30 gallons

Max. Power: 235 horsepower

Base Price: $30,999


 


Cobalt R5


Cobalt R5


The new R5 reflects Cobalt’s reputation for building boats with superb style and craftsmanship. The exterior profile is raked and aggressive. Inside, the finish is yacht-like, incorporating high-end materials and textures. The seating is made to be multifunctional, including an aft sun pad with adjustable backrest, a doublewide passenger bench with reversible backrest, and a bow configuration that allows for either a full wraparound bench or a forward-facing seat and lounge. A head in the portside console adds convenience. The helm could be straight from a luxury town car — exotic wood trim, stainless-steel switches, five-inch gauges, top-stitched accents, leather-wrapped wheel. The equipment list is deep, too, with a Rockford Fosgate stereo, swim platform with flip-down swim step, Porta Potti and Kevlar-reinforced hull, plus options like a Garmin GPS/chartplotter and underwater lighting. One nit: For the price, shouldn’t the cockpit table be standard? www.cobaltboats.com


Cobalt R5

Length Overall: 25 feet, 8 inches

Beam: 8 feet, 6 inches

Draft (drive up): 1 foot, 9 inches          

Dry Weight: 4,880 pounds

Fuel Capacity: 50 gallons

Water Capacity: 10 gallons

Max. Power: 430 horsepower

Base Price: $87,333


 


 


Sea Ray 230 SLX


Sea Ray 230 SLX


This premium bowrider isn’t “new” in the same way as the other boats covered here, but it does have a unique feature for 2013 that warrants closer inspection. The 230 SLX is now available with an optional system that provides “unprecedented stability and performance, automatically.” The so-named Dynamic Running Surface consists of two large, triangular planes (like trim tabs) that integrate into the hull and automatically keep the boat level in changing speed and water conditions. Sea Ray says it has conducted tests that show the system improves acceleration, reduces bow rise and optimizes trim no matter the boat’s load. The test team also collected data on the wake-shaping characteristics and says the results demonstrate an improved “ramp” for wakeboarding at 19 to 23 miles per hour and a reduced size for waterskiing at 30 to 33 miles per hour. Sea Ray hopes to expand the system to other models in the near future. www.searay.com


Sea Ray 230 SLX

Length Overall: 23 feet

Beam: 8 feet, 6 inches

Draft (drive up): 1 foot, 11 inches

Dry Weight: 4,100 pounds

Fuel Capacity: 50 gallons

Max. Power: 300 horsepower

Base Price: $66,634


 


Glastron GT 225


Glastron GT 225


Visually speaking, the GT 225 from Glaston makes a statement. Not only does the 22-footer come with a two-tone hull but also a matching two-tone deck — almost always an option — and quality Aquaflex vinyl throughout. Top it off with a distinctly retro-cool windshield, and you’ve got one hot looking ride. Happily, this bowrider offers more than just appearances. The cockpit has a pair of bucket seats and a U-shaped bench that backs up to the full-width sun pad. The latter converts to lounge seats for enhanced functionality, and there’s a hidden walk-through to access the big, integral swim platform. Two optional packages sweeten the deal even more: The XL Package includes stainless-steel hardware, special graphics, tilt steering, pull-up cleats and a bow scuff plate. The Legacy Package includes all of the XL items, plus exclusive color schemes inside and out, a deluxe stereo, swim platform matting and more. www.glaston.com


Glastron GT 225

Length Overall: 22 feet

Beam: 8 feet, 4 inches

Draft (drive up): 1 foot, 5 inches

Dry Weight: 3,300 pounds

Fuel Capacity: 40 gallons

Max. Power: 320 horsepower

Base Price: $41,499


 


Four Winns Horizon 260


Four Winns Horizon 260


Hot on the heels of its new Horizon 210 and Horizon 230, Four Winns has introduced a new Horizon 260 for this year. The big bowrider was created with comfortable living in mind and, as such, incorporates a lot of cruiser-style features. To wit: The large bow has opposing lounges with forward-facing backrests, adjustable headrests and armrests — like your favorite chaise by pool. There’s an L-shaped aft seating area and sun pad with kick-up headrest. An enclosed head compartment includes a wood cabinet, sink, overhead lighting, opening port and Porta Potti. The refreshment center with countertop, refrigerator and sink makes an (ahem) entertaining option, as does the cockpit table. Many amenities are standard, such as a Sony stereo with CD player and MP3 port, covered transom walkthrough and a custom-matched trailer. An optional wakeboard tower and cruise control with programmable rider settings add serious sports value. www.fourwinns.com


Four Winns Horizon 260

Length Overall: 26 feet

Beam: 8 feet, 5 inches

Draft (drive up): 1 foot, 7 inches                      

Dry Weight: 2,250 pounds

Fuel Capacity: 75 gallons

Water Capacity: 12 gallons

Max. Power: 380 horsepower

Base Price: $84,615


 


Larson LSR 2300


Larson LSR 2300


This Little Falls, Minn., builder made a splash by introducing a totally redesigned LSR series in celebration of its 100th anniversary this year. Each of the new models — consisting of the LSR 2000, LSR 2100 and LSR 2300 — features updated exterior styling, a finely tailored interior, watersports-ready swim platform, color-matched trailer and optional wake tower. As the largest of the group, the LSR 2300 benefits from its enhanced dimensions and offers a bow with wraparound lounge, twin bucket seats (the driver gets a flip-up bolster), port-to-starboard cockpit bench and aft sun pad with transom walkthrough. Multiple options allow the owner to really take the boat to the next level, with items like a flip-up aft rumble seat, U-shaped cockpit seating, upgraded sound system with tower speakers, and premium high-back seats with armrests for the driver and passenger. www.larsonboats.com


Larson LSR 2300

Length Overall: 23 feet, 1 inch

Beam: 8 feet, 4 inches

Draft (drive up): NA                                  

Dry Weight: 3,100 pounds

Fuel Capacity: 36 gallons

Max. Power: 300 horsepower

Base Price: $44,783


 


Stingray 191RX


Stingray 191RX


What’s wrong with a small, affordable, outboard-powered bowrider? Absolutely nothing. The Stingray 191RX is a boat meant to attract first-time boaters who want to get out on the water but aren’t looking to break the bank. Because it’s powered by an outboard, there’s more interior room. In fact, you get a standard full-beam cockpit bench rather than jump seats and motorbox. You also benefit from easier maintenance and diminished corrosion concerns. The 191RX has all the features an entry-level buyer wants in a bowrider, including a forward area with twin lounges, a pair of bucket seats, marine-grade carpet, walkthrough windshield, ski/wakeboard floor locker, swim ladder and plenty of cup holders. An integrated, self-draining cooler in the bow is a nice touch, as is the indirect LED cockpit lighting. The helm has a soft-touch eyebrow with top-stitching and quality Faria gauges; a marine audio system with MP3 port is optional.  www.stingrayboats.com


Stingray 191RX

Length Overall: 19 feet, 3 inches

Beam: 7 feet, 6 inches

Draft (drive up): 1 foot, 5 inches

Dry Weight: 2,100 pounds

Fuel Capacity: 34 gallons

Max. Power: 90 horsepower

Base Price: $22,637