Larson SEi 190 Review

Issue: January 2005

Larson boats are relative newcomers to the Aussie bowrider scene. They are just one of the brands in the US-based Genmar stable of boats. But it doesn’t stop there, because Genmar is just one of the companies in the massive Brunswick Corporation, Larson has an already wellestablished pedigree in this country. However, being a production boat the Larson SEi 190 is built to fit neatly into a strategic price bracket. So, the analogy that can be drawn here is that in car circles she could be compared to a Holden Statesman. Just by looking at her you can tell that she is neither cheap, nor shoddy. 

Smooth, fine, stylish lines and obviously top quality componentry have been used on this boat and the Modern Boating team could not fault the build quality. There were no daggy joins, rough edges, ill-fitting components or sharp corners. Also, by just looking at her hull we could tell by those flat and more than 200mm wide chines that this boat was going to be super stable out on the water. The 190 features a deep-vee entry that planes easily and cuts through the water effortlessly. With a beam of 2.39m and a centreline length of 5.64m, the SEi 190 is just the right size. 

She’s big enough to offer a comfortable ride with plenty of room to move about inside, yet remains easy to handle around the dock and to tow. But the best thing about this boat ‘ it got the team instantly onside ‘ was the exhilarating performance she produced from a relatively small 4.3lt V8 Volvo 225hp GXI sterndrive engine, spinning a standard stainless steel prop. Obviously, Larson have its Delta VEC hull design down pat, because when the power was applied, the boat shot out-of-the-hole like a scalded cat. She recorded 0-40mph in 9.1 seconds and had a WOT top speed of 50.1mph. 

However, because this was the test boat’s first time in the water, we didn’t want to push her too hard for too long, so the team finally settled on a cruise speed of 38mph at 3500rpm for a few laps around Lake Macquarie. But we did stick the boot into her for a couple of stints and the acceleration was blistering. At water skiing speeds of around 35mph, the hull produces a good flat wake for skiing, but because this boat is a sterndrive ‘ she carries all her engine weight at the stern ‘ drop back to 20mph and her bum digs in, walling up a good wake for boarding. The power-assisted steering is light and precise. With the help of those wide flat chines you can throw this boat from lock-to-lock at high speed without any fear of losing her. 

Turn the wheel hard and she comes around effortlessly, showing no signs of ventilation even with the leg trimmed out to one quarter. I mentioned earlier that this Larson was a fairly beamy boat and she comes in at the bow quite quickly. This restricts the passengers in the bowrider cockpit to two, but at least they can stretch out and relax in comfort. This cockpit is heavily padded with high sides, so those travelling there will feel secure even during tight turns. There are grab handles on both sides and plenty of drink holders. The cushion in the bow lifts to reveal a drained drink’s compartment and there is even more storage under the bench cushions. 

Seated behind the high curved-glass windscreen, both the driver and passenger are well protected from the slipstream. The driver’s bucket seat features a bolster, while the passenger’s seat swings 180 degrees, so they can act as the observer when the boat is carrying out water skiing duties. Larson uses top quality Faria components in its helm station. They feature red backlighting to reduce glare and these easy-toread analogue gauges are backed by a limited lifetime warranty. The sports steering wheel tilts, so the driver can adopt a comfortable driving position. The binnacle controls are at the right height for driver comfort and ease of operation. 

An AM/FM cassette stereo with two marine grade speakers keeps the music pumping in the main cockpit, but there are no speakers in the bowrider cockpit. So any passengers seated there may have difficulty hearing the music when the boat is underway. There’s a rear lounge across the transom and a sunpad on the top of the engine bay cover. The swim platform is a little narrow, but this has been done to maximise the room in the main cockpit. This platform also gets a bit slippery when wet, so it will need to be treated to rectify this. A swim ladder clips into a recess in the swim platform and makes boarding from the water an easy. 

The Larson SEi 190 also has clipin carpets, which helps in the cleaning department and a complete set of bow, cockpit and mooring covers come with the 190 as standard equipment. To complete this boating package is the option of a custom colour trailer from EZ Loader Custom Boat Trailers. This trailer features DuPont ‘Imron’ paint, spring axles, chrome wheels and many other options that provide style and value for years to come. 

An EZ Loader galvanised or aluminium trailer with a two-year warranty is standard. The Larson SEi 190 bowrider is a well finished and complete package capable of carrying out all of the on-water tasks a family could ask of her. Cruising, water skiing, wakeboard, she takes it all in her stride. There’s even an infill for the bowrider cockpit that turns this area into a casting platform, so fishing is also well catered for. 

So, how much will a new Larson SEi 190 set you back ? Around $44,990. 

Words by Ian Macrae