By: Mark Bracks

Mark Bracks reckons the Glastron MX175 is a top boat for a low price

My hosts from Coastlife Marine at Wyong, NSW, Bryan and Michael, were waxing lyrical about the new Glastron MX175 bowrider before I even had a steer. But I must’ve missed something.
Michael’s response when I commented that it had a bit of stick getting out of the hole floored me: "Yeah, not bad for a four-cylinder with a carbie."
Honestly, my honest first impression was that there was a fuel-injected V6 burbling away behind us.
It was certainly a welcome surprise on a day better for running up a bar tab bench-boating than being out on the rain and wind-swept Lake Macquarie.
There are a few other welcome surprises that will attract a lot of interest in this $29,990 3.0lt, 135hp MerCruiser package.
Glastron is celebrating 50 years of business, in which it has produced nearly 500,000 craft.
The company grew to be huge in racing circles in the 1970s, and featured in a number of James Bond movies. For the new millennium it has moved to Little Hills in Missouri.
Glastron offers a lifetime warranty on the hull, transferable to the first buyer of a second hand boat – bonus points in resale.
Given the contours and quality finish of the hull and deck, I can’t disagree with the company’s claim that every craft in its range is created equally.
There is no swim platform at the stern – it’s more of a wide moulded step - but there is enough room to sit or stand comfortably. There’s a cleat either side of the 2.1m transom and a boarding ladder on the starboard side, but the lack of an extended swim platform means the leg is exposed.
Considering the craft’s 2.21m beam, there is a generous sundeck (1.8m wide by 95cm deep) on the engine cover access hatch to the 3.0lt MerCruiser and underfloor 87lt fuel tank.
The one-piece 1.7m-wide padded rear seat is contoured as three seats, which are separated by two moulded cup holders. There’s thoughtful use of space under the seat with three separate, self-draining recesses for eskies or tackle boxes. With the seat removed, the area could also double as a fishing perch.
There’s a grab handle either side that may be a bit of a reach for kids, but they never hang on, anyway.
The underfloor locker along the centre of the craft is huge, running right up into the bow, so there’s a lot of room to hide life-jackets, skis and boards, although a fitted strut for the lid wouldn’t go astray.
There is plenty of leg room between the rear seat and the adjustable, upholstered swivelling bucket cockpit seats. There is also plenty of room for driver and passenger, although there is no gunwale storage running along the side of the craft.
The instruments are well laid out, with white dials on a turquoise panel set into the moulded dash.
The speedometer (in mp/h) and tacho are surrounded by oil, volt, trim, fuel and temp gauges, provision for an hour-meter and switches for the manual bilge, lights and press-to-test buttons. These are easy to read and the position of the steering wheel doesn’t restrict quick glances.
The ignition and blower switches are easy to reach beside the wheel and the throttle falls comfortably to hand.
The driver and passenger positions have moulded foot rests, cup holders, and plenty of legroom. The passenger has a big storage bin as a glovebox.
The walkthrough to the bow is larger than many craft of this size, being half a metre wide with cockpit protection via the three-piece opening screen.
The bow has plenty of room for two people to stretch out on the padded seats. There are handy storage bins below the back rest, as well as self-draining storage under the clip-in seats, which can be used as steps for bow access.
All canopies and biminis fitted to craft sold by Coastlife Marine are made by Aussie Sun Boat Covers.
It would be no trouble to fit the plated seven people, as space has been well utilised, providing adequate storage for a day trip.
The MX175 is the type of craft in which to head out to a cove with family or friends for the day. As for the ride, there is very little to criticise. As mentioned earlier, it gets on plane in an instant, delivering a pleasant burble as you motor along. Throttle response is surprising and immediate.
It was hard to judge the rate of knots as the craft was straight out of the crate, and as such the speedo hadn’t been calibrated. However, the MerCruiser tops out at about 5200rpm, while comfortable cruising is best between 3800 to 4000rpm.
The miserable weather gave the MX175 a chance to show the chop-flattening features of its hull design. Spray was also well dispersed away from the hull.
The craft is well balanced. With two adults in the craft, it sat level in the water when it was at rest and under power.
Steering is light, precise and quick, and holds a line well. Even with aggressive use of the wheel the MX175 didn’t want to lose the tail, and the leg had to be trimmed well up for the craft to display any cavitation problems in tight turns.
Weighing just over 1000kg, it is suitable to be towed behind many vehicles.
For the nitpickers, closer inspection reveals where the dollars have been saved: the wiring in the engine bay could be better hidden and more protected, there are exposed screw heads, an on-floor battery secured by a rubber strap, relatively small engine cover hinges, and no under-gunwale storage.
These are small gripes, though, as the Glastron MX175, with the $30,000 package from Coastlife, offers impressive value for money, quality of finish and a great ride.
Simply, it will give many similarly-priced craft a run for their money.
The Glastron MX175 is a gas!

Use of space

Noticeable where money has been saved


Specifications: Glastron MX175

Price as tested:  $29,900
Base from:  $29,900 with bowrider cover, bimini by Aussie Sun Boat Covers, clip-in carpet, trailer, safety gear and registration

Material: Moulded fibreglass upper and lower decks with VEC technology
Length overall: 5.21m
Beam: 2.24m
Draft (drive down):  0.79m
Deadrise: 21°
Weight:  About 1043 kg with 3.0lt Mercruiser

HP: 190
Fuel: 87lt
Capacity: Seven including driver

Make/model: MerCruiser
Type: Four cylinders, carburetted
HP: 135
Displacement: 3000cc

Coastlife Marine,
Pacific Highway,
Wyong, NSW 2259.
Phone: (02) 4353 3644

Originally published in TrailerBoat #203


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