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Review: 2016 Bayliner VR5 and VR6 bowriders-gctid685687

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    #16
    Lik I said, yesterday was the first time actually seeing the new boat in person. A couple of observation that caught my eye as compared to my 2012 185, which no offense taken, I love my 185. Also I have to keep her as I cannot have a boat with an 8' beam 8' as I would not be able to get it through some tunnels that I have to pass through to get to the other lakes on my chain...

    But here are a few items..

    The overall size does feel like a 20-22' boat

    I love the "faux" teak matting

    Swim platform is nice, but was kind of disappointed with the mounting of the ladder....tucked underneath held in place by a rubber cord

    Beam forward design is huge up front in bow

    Doesn't have Storeage behind bow seat backs, ( I really like those little spots in mine)

    Ski locker is bigger than my first apartment...awesome actually...someone could sleep in there if they had to

    Stern walkthru actually stays open, heavy door thru to cockpit, in videos it seems as this is very light weight and you have to hold open when walking thru...that is not the case..

    Especially the stern seat is very soft, seems almost too soft to hold up

    Looking up under the helm the wiring is very neat, well thought out (ergonomic) and accessible to ALL gauges and electrical. My current 185 looks like a rats nest there and it is very difficult to work or find what you need under the helm for accessories or troubleshooting

    The gunwales when sitting in the stern seat behind the captains seat seem about 48" tall from floor to top. The captains chair is on a molded pedestal which is good otherwise your shoulders would be at the top of the gunwale. Seams as though you sit low in this boat, maybe from all glass construction, maybe by design, just feels odd to me. Would have to get used to it.

    With the new seating design, there is no storage in the gunwales. I sort of like those areas on my boat to put smaller items and not have to place them into a deep Storeage locker with other larger items.

    Above or in front of the steering wheel on the dash is a rubber padded tray to keep stuff..I like that as I did that to my boat so things wouldn't slip around, but I also like a hidden or "out of the sun" box on my dashboard to keep light and temp sensitive stuff in (phone/wallet/iPod). I lined that Storeage box on y 185 with kitchen cabinet liner and it keeps everything safe, soft and prevents sliding out.

    I like that there is a cup holder on the dash, not at your feet like on my 2012. I think they had one on the dash in 2015 also.

    All the cup holders are Ss...nice

    Rub rail all around boat is both Ss and rubber insert...classy looking.

    I saw the interior in the white. I think it also comes in a tan...with the faux teak liners in it, I think that the tan interior would be too much, well "tan"

    Under the stern seats just like on a 185 with the sport seating is plenty of room for Storeage, engine work, additional battery, whatever.

    Over all it is a very, very nice boat especially for the money...for me anyway, it would take some getting used to but when sitting in the captains chair looking forward, it looks like a deck boat it is so wide...

    Just thought I would share my thoughts and first impressions from seeing in person as compared to my existing 2012 185..
    Hell, Michigan (yes we really live in a city named "Hell" in Michigan)
    2012 BR 185 - 3.0 TKS
    1999 Chaparral 233 Sunesta Ltd., 5.0 Volvo
    1985 Harris Flotebote Classic 240
    1993 Yamaha Waverunner III VXR
    1993 Yamaha Waverunner III
    1995 Yamaha Waverunner III GP
    1995 Yamaha Waverunner III VXR PRO

    Comment


      #17
      Great input.

      It's very clear to me the VR5 only replaces the 185 on paper - in every other regard, it's a MUCH larger boat (including weight....which is giving me headaches considering I want to order one with a minivan that can only haul 3500 lbs). In reality, it replaces the 185, the 195, and lower levels of the 205/215 with one boat. The customer who would have gotten a basic 3.0 185 is likely now an Element XL customer.

      The high gunwales are intentional, as it is perceived as a safety item for younger families. I used to think it was bunk, but now that I am married with a child, I completely agree with them. It also means the boat can take rougher water - which is a huge plus to people like me who would hit Lake Geneva WI and Lake Michigan.

      The thinner gunwales/lack of storage is also intentional - they wanted to maximize interior room at all costs and simplify construction. Side scallops mean more parts, more quality control, etc... I think they compensated by giving more storage under the seats and the ski locker, same with the consoles and the lack of storage in there. I had an 1850 Capri, I know exactly what you mean about those storage cubbies.

      I share your concern about the rear seat durability, but then again, I made a 1986 Bayliner's vinyl last 25 years...*shrug*. I think it will last with proper care.

      I would wish for an armrest for the shift and throttle control - I noted that it was difficult in rough water to control at times.

      Here's the tan "Desert Sand" exchange. I would have agreed with you in theory, but in person it just works and really makes the boat look premium:



      Good feedback though!
      Matt Train
      BOC Site Team
      Chicagoland, IL

      Comment


        #18
        Great point about the weight!! Now if you tow "safely" and by the book our 3500 towing capacity vehicles technically cannot pull this boat at least again by the numbers and being within the acceptable weight limits. I am sure that Bayliner has studied this, at least I hope that they did...if I didn't live around the corner from the lake, I don't think that I would chance towing this boat any distance with my 3500# tow rated vehicle...being a price point boat, and enticing new owners into the market, with their mini-vans and small crossovers there is little room many times for an additional tow vehicle and a boat....I hope they did their homework on this issue...reminds me of when Chevrolet launched the Nova. The car was selling in every market except they couldn't give them away in South America....someone figured out after the fact, that Nova in spainish, no va, means it does not go! And this was the largest company in the world General Motors!

        I understand about the bigger lakes and intercoastal waters too. Good point. I only have mine on our inland lakes here and at most I might cross over someone's 1' wake. I also agree with the lack of armrest doe the captain....personally I am not a fan of the combo wake tower/Bimini top either...I haven't seen one with just the Bimini top. Also I prefer the full windshield, not the one with the missing side windows...looks unfinished to me.

        I have to disagree with you regarding the likely 185 3.0 customer now being an Element XL owner.....no way! I think that the boat is ugly, too jack of all trades for me....reminds me of a deck boat that didn't finish growing out of its pontoon boat skin....if I was in the market for a new boat, and all things being equal to my current 185, especially the beam which is 7'7", let's say for argument that the VR5 was 7'7" as well, even though it's not, I would not feel comfortable enough with my current vehicle, a 2015 vehicle rated at 3500# for towing to tow this boat home and therefore would probably have to look at something else.....believe me, the work it took to get the "admiral" on board to at least even consider buying a boat was plenty...there is no way on earth that she would EVER consider that to buy a boat we would have to buy a different vehicle...no way, no how...
        Hell, Michigan (yes we really live in a city named "Hell" in Michigan)
        2012 BR 185 - 3.0 TKS
        1999 Chaparral 233 Sunesta Ltd., 5.0 Volvo
        1985 Harris Flotebote Classic 240
        1993 Yamaha Waverunner III VXR
        1993 Yamaha Waverunner III
        1995 Yamaha Waverunner III GP
        1995 Yamaha Waverunner III VXR PRO

        Comment


          #19
          Thank you it was a great review and had a lot of information. I am a new member in the process of ordering a VR5 I have the option of ordering the mercruser 4.5 200HP or the 4.3 220HP motors for the same price. I am not sure which one to order any suggestions or recommendations would be welcomed

          Comment


            #20
            I think I would want the new technology 4.5 liter.
            Jeff & Tara
            (And Ginger too)
            Lake Havasu City, AZ

            2000 Bayliner 3388
            "Sea Ya"
            Cummins 4bta 250s

            In memory of Shadow, the best boat dog ever. Rest in peace, girl. July 2, 2010

            Comment


              #21
              Jeff is right, and I had this same conundrum (I am probably ordering a VR5 later this spring).

              Here's the inside scoop from someone "in the know":

              YOu unequivically want the 4.5. The 4.3 is older, and heavier - which offsets the horsepower advantage. It also isn't as fuel efficient and a little more difficult to maintain. The performance between the 4.3 and 4.5 is nearly the same (I don't have exact numbers), but the 4.5 is SOOOOOOOO much better to be in front of. It's smoother, has a better power band, and the RPM-compensation in a turn is a really fun feature that makes the boat much sportier feeling.

              Full disclosure, I owned the 4.3'd version of the VR5's predecessor, the 1850 Capri Sport. It was a great engine for it's time. That time is past.

              The only positives I can think of with the 4.3 is there are a lot more of them in the wild, and therefore more parts available. But as time goes on, that advantage will wane because the 4.5 is Merc's new entry level stern drive engine, and they are going to put it in absolutely everything below 25 feet.
              Matt Train
              BOC Site Team
              Chicagoland, IL

              Comment


                #22
                I have seen both these models at the Toronto Boat show a few weeks back. Im a currently 185 owner so I really only looked at the VR5 as it was the directly replacement for me. Love the helm area and seat and the option of the new merc and really like the NO carpet. Not sure on the seating yet. Not in love with the flip back and forth seating. The walk through is nice my worry would be with people sitting in the back and making a hard turn starboard a person could slide right off the seat. Lack of storage on the gunwals was also a let down.

                Other then that the boat looks nice, you would need step up the towing vehicle too as this boat is much heavier then the present 185.

                Comment


                  #23
                  +1
                  ..........
                  Hell, Michigan (yes we really live in a city named "Hell" in Michigan)
                  2012 BR 185 - 3.0 TKS
                  1999 Chaparral 233 Sunesta Ltd., 5.0 Volvo
                  1985 Harris Flotebote Classic 240
                  1993 Yamaha Waverunner III VXR
                  1993 Yamaha Waverunner III
                  1995 Yamaha Waverunner III GP
                  1995 Yamaha Waverunner III VXR PRO

                  Comment


                    #24
                    "nicker22" post=709012 wrote:
                    I have seen both these models at the Toronto Boat show a few weeks back. Im a currently 185 owner so I really only looked at the VR5 as it was the directly replacement for me. Love the helm area and seat and the option of the new merc and really like the NO carpet. Not sure on the seating yet. Not in love with the flip back and forth seating. The walk through is nice my worry would be with people sitting in the back and making a hard turn starboard a person could slide right off the seat. Lack of storage on the gunwals was also a let down.

                    Other then that the boat looks nice, you would need step up the towing vehicle too as this boat is much heavier then the present 185.
                    Fully loaded, on trailer, about 3,500 lbs. The boat weighs around 2,8XX lbs alone.

                    That's direct from the factory in Reynosa.
                    Matt Train
                    BOC Site Team
                    Chicagoland, IL

                    Comment


                      #25
                      Love that desert sand interior! in love with the flip back and forth seating.

                      "Full beam forward" just not sure about that... making her look pretty ugly IMO.
                      Joon, Kathy, Jaden & Tristan
                      Uniflite 42 AC, DD 671N
                      93 3058 sold
                      92 2855 (day boat)
                      91 Fourwinns 205 (lake boat)
                      Longbranch WA
                      Life is Good

                      Comment


                        #26
                        +1 on the "bow look". If you have the chance to get into one and sit in the captain's chair looking towards the bow, it looks like a deck boat, not a bow rider.....again I think the weight issue is a bigger issue when looking to attract "new boaters" and their first boat....unless you have a vehicle "designed" for towing, this boat is too heavy/big....the mini-van, small crossover families could not tow this vehicle "safely" with their vehicle's tow limit of usually about 3500#
                        Hell, Michigan (yes we really live in a city named "Hell" in Michigan)
                        2012 BR 185 - 3.0 TKS
                        1999 Chaparral 233 Sunesta Ltd., 5.0 Volvo
                        1985 Harris Flotebote Classic 240
                        1993 Yamaha Waverunner III VXR
                        1993 Yamaha Waverunner III
                        1995 Yamaha Waverunner III GP
                        1995 Yamaha Waverunner III VXR PRO

                        Comment


                          #27
                          "RobMick" post=709053 wrote:
                          +1 on the "bow look". If you have the chance to get into one and sit in the captain's chair looking towards the bow, it looks like a deck boat, not a bow rider.....again I think the weight issue is a bigger issue when looking to attract "new boaters" and their first boat....unless you have a vehicle "designed" for towing, this boat is too heavy/big....the mini-van, small crossover families could not tow this vehicle "safely" with their vehicle's tow limit of usually about 3500#
                          Well I will let you know. I have a 2015 Sienna SE with a 3500 lb tow capacity, and while I am not sold on the van being The Final Answer, I am going to slap a hitch on it and try it.

                          I also don't much care for the front end. I think the VR5 looks better than the VR6 because it's shorter and melds it's lines a little better. And 5 years ago, the VR boats WOULD have been deck boats.

                          What we are seeing is the evolution of the family bowrider, and Bayliner isn't the only one who is doing it.
                          Matt Train
                          BOC Site Team
                          Chicagoland, IL

                          Comment


                            #28
                            Most cars with a 6 cylinder petrol engine or a 4 cylinder Diesel engine are capable of towing 3500 lbs / 1587 kgs here in Australia.

                            Don't see the big deal about the weight.

                            The 185br (18'0") vs VR5 (20'4"). . . . . Big difference in length.

                            Comment


                              #29
                              "David1975" post=709094 wrote:
                              Most cars with a 6 cylinder petrol engine or a 4 cylinder Diesel engine are capable of towing 3500 lbs / 1587 kgs here in Australia.

                              Don't see the big deal about the weight.

                              The 185br (18'0") vs VR5 (20'4"). . . . . Big difference in length.
                              The 5 includes the swim platform, which is bolted on. Take that off and the running surface matches the 185 pretty closely.
                              Matt Train
                              BOC Site Team
                              Chicagoland, IL

                              Comment


                                #30
                                So did ya buy one yet Matt? They are sweet looking. Wish I could justify a new 2nd boat, but the wife would prob strangle me. She already gives me dirty looks when I tow home some ugly "project" boat. There may be a 1974 Tanzer in my side yard still

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