Last fall when Larson introduced a new 19’ platform, the LXH 190 bowrider, we delved into the differences between outboard and stern-drive options. But now we need to take a closer look at the stern-drive LXH 190 I/O, because its propulsion package makes it appealing to many inland lake boaters and coastal customers—and because it’s sleek like Larson’s other sport boats, yet stands apart because of its design, which is a wonderful crossover between a deckboat and a runabout.

In stern-drive form, the LXH 190 I/O still looks sporty yet has the room of a deckboat.

In stern-drive form, the LXH 190 I/O still looks sporty yet has the room of a deckboat.

The first detail to consider is the bow, which changed slightly this year. It features a pickle-fork, which became a popular design cue a few years ago and has spread throughout the marine industry like a brush fire on a parched hillside. That happened for a reason. The pickle-fork is a good-looking design, but it also has the added benefit of creating more room in the bow. In the LXH 190 I/O, the bow walk-through is full-width from the windshield to the forward platform. What’s different is in the forward center seat, which used to be molded in but now can be folded down to increase bow deck space.

That roominess also is evident in the cockpit, which is conventional in its layout, but is more spacious than many 19’ runabouts. What’s neat is how the top of the windshield doesn’t constrict interior space. It largely parallels the gunwales and the dashboard to port and starboard. That matters when people are milling about in the cockpit.

The aft bench offers ample seating space, too. It’s not full width, but that’s because Larson designers fitted the LXH 190 with a walk-through to the swim platform. It’s economy-sized, just wide enough to provide access to the aft platform for swimming and water sports, or for disembarking onto the dock. And this is where a stern-drive shines, benefitting from the full-width platform and the sunpad atop the engine box. Most deck boat designs, of course, run with outboards.

In terms of build quality, the LXH 190 is manufactured with the automated VEC process in which factory workers spray the female portion of the molds with gelcoat in the conventional way. After that, they lay out precut pieces of fiberglass matting and position steel backing plates and hardware inside the female mold. Then, the automation begins: the male portion of the mold lowers hydraulically and locks onto the lower half with an air-tight seal. A resin and catalyst mixture is injected to form a one-piece hull and stringer assembly. You can see a video of the process here:


That manufacturing process produces a more consistent product and helps keep costs in check, and it shows in the LXH 190 I/O’s price. Base MSRP is $39,567 with a 180-horsepower 4.3-liter V6. That’s plenty to push around a 3,360-pound boat, but it might be worth the extra money to get MerCruiser’s 250-horse 4.5-liter V6. The 4.5-liter V6 is not a marinized automotive engine, but rather a proprietary engine from MerCruiser, designed and built to power boats, and it’s a great package. That bumps the price to $43,131.

There are a couple of other items on the options list that you kind of need. Those are the Bimini top, which costs $826, and a splash of color on the hullsides, which adds $564. The rest you should be able to live without, and that keeps the LXH 190 I/O under $50,000, which is critical for some buyers.

In a market where the list of needs often overshadows the list of wants, the Larson LXH 190 I/O is a refreshing stern-drive option—and it offers the sporty looks of a bowrider along with the roomy interior of a deckboat.

Other Choices: The Sea Ray 19 SPX is a natural competitor. Same goes for the Four Winns Horizon H190.

For more information, visit Larson.

See Larson LXH 190 I/O listings.

Deadrise21 degrees
Displacement3,360 lbs
Fuel capacity37 gal.