Boat Review by: Richard Crowder
Bayliner offers six models from sixteen to twenty-two feet in what it refers to as its “Proven Value” Bowrider series. It also offers three other series of family boats; Deck Boats, Wake Sports, and Center Consoles.
Three of the six models in the Bowrider series are the VR4, VR5, and VR6 of which the VR4, at close to nineteen feet length overall and subject of this review, is the smallest and newest of the VR models in the series. The VR4 is available with both I/O (sterndrive) and OB (outboard) power.
Perhaps one of the most notable features of the VR4 is its seating arrangement and the flexibility this arrangement offers. With no transom walk-thru to the cockpit from the large and most useful swim platform, full wrap-around J-shaped bench seating literally fills the cockpit from just aft of the driver’s seat on the starboard side, back to the transom, across the stern, and forward along the port side of the cockpit almost to the passenger console.
This bench seat stops just sort of the passenger console to provide legroom for forward seating for a passenger opposite the high back, swivel driver’s bucket-type seat with forward flip-up bolster. A portable-type seatback fits into a slot in the portside bench seat cushion to facilitate forward-facing passenger seating or, with this seatback in the same slot, to stretch-out lounging in a rear-facing position. This same seatback can then be moved to a slot positioned further aft on the port side to facilitate forward-facing stretch-out lounging.
Storage is found beneath all of the seat cushions and further storage is found within an in-floor storage compartment suitable for watersports accessories such as waterskis, wakeboard, etc. Even more storage is located within the passenger helm. A glove box is located within this passenger console.
Another unique feature of the VR4 is its standard Sport Windshield with walk-thru opening centre section. This is a three-piece windshield with curved corners. A “normal” five-piece windshield with opening centre section plus side wings is optionally available.
Bow seating is somewhat unique also in that a pair of curved backrests mounted on the forward face of the consoles and reaching around to the side gunnels give back support for forward or side-facing seating/lounging. Another similar backrest pad is mounted on the inside of the gunnel at the bow for rear-facing seating or stretch-out lounging with the addition of the optional bow filler cushion.
With this added cushion, you may also opt for the Bow Wind Block cum backrest cushion which neatly inserts vertically immediately ahead of the base of the centre walk-thru windshield section to not only block wind from entering the cockpit but also provides a backrest for a “down the centre” forward facing lounging position for a third person.
The helm console of the VR4 features a tilting Custom Sport steering wheel facing multi-function fog-resistant gauges including speedometer, tachometer, fuel, volt, and trim readouts. A 120-Watt AM/FM stereo with MP3 capability and two speakers is standard. Standard solid hull colours include white, blue, black, or gray. Standard upholstery colour is two-tone gray and white called Graphite.
Additional notable standard equipment includes a telescoping boarding ladder on the walk-across swim platform and a black single axle painted trailer with swing tongue. Also standard are six interior grab handles and six cupholders. Standard outboard power is a 115 horsepower Mercury EFI Four Stroke.
A good complement of available optional equipment will allow you to outfit your VR4 to suit your chosen boating lifestyle. The upgraded 150 horsepower Mercury outboard will provide greater speed and/or greater pulling power for watersports or cruising. For watersports, choose the ski tow pylon and/or the Xtreme tower with integrated bimini top with optional wakeboard racks. You could also choose a six-foot bimini top with boot, bow and cockpit covers.
An aft filler cushion creates a cockpit sunpad and a cockpit table enhances relaxation. Go with the optional “Chestnut” interior, two-toned hull colours, a stainless steel package which upgrades many items, and a lighting package which gives you docking and underwater lights plus interior lighting upgrades.
You may also want cockpit snap-in Seagrass woven floor covering or alternatively, cockpit flooring mat in Teak or Gray. This same mat may also be had on the swim platform. At the helm, upgrade to a 7-inch glass screen to replace the analog gauges, hydraulic steering, in-dash depth finder, and automatic bilge pump. You may also want an additional pair of speakers, a galvanized trailer, or if fishing is your thing, a livewell, trolling motor, Lowrance Elite 3x fishfinder, and bow casting platform with seat.
The Bayliner VR4 OB offers “Proven Value” and much, much more.
|Dry weight:||2,822 lbs||1,280 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||33 US gals||125 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Outboard|