By Steven Bull
Whether you are stepping up from a smaller boat or buying your first boat ever, budget is likely the name of the game for you. Fear not – there are good buys out there.
The 2003 Grew 174 is compact enough to trailer easily, big enough to fit a small family and is lively enough to ensure your investment pays dividends in enjoyment. All at a price tag under $9,000.
On one hand, this is a fairly basic boat. On the other, it’s a great starter with everything you need. There is seating up front in the bow lounge with small storage under the seats. Moving back there is a large, vented storage compartment in the floor and dual bucket seats for passenger and captain. The port side has a stereo with CD player and a large, lockable storage compartment.
Speaking of storage, pockets on the back of the bucket seats are handy spots for phones, wallets and sunscreen. The chairs spin and slide to give you the chance to get properly set up behind the controls and the steering wheel adjusts as well.
The layout of the controls and gauges is straightforward and everything you need is within a quick glance. Even novice boaters can handle everything without feeling overwhelmed.
It’s a compact boat so there is not an embarrassment of storage onboard. A transom bench seat conceals multiple storage bins, making the most of the space.
Directly behind the bench is a sun pad that is perfect for the loungers of the group who will likely spend a good chunk of time back here, especially with the swim platform and telescoping swim ladder.
The 3-litre, 140-horsepower MerCruiser sure does kick this Grew across the water. I got it to a top speed of 40 miles per hour at 5000 rpm which, some of you may think isn’t so fast. This is a small boat skimming along the water, not a big, heavy boat, so you get every ounce of thrill out it. Though a cruising speed of 22 mph at 3000 rpm will be more comfortable for long runs and more fuel-efficient.
The 174 has a stepped hull design to reduce drag, increase lift and get it up on plane faster. Acceleration from zero to 20 mph took just six-and-a-half seconds.
It corners tightly and comfortably thanks to the hull design. It is quick around some tight turns and whips around the lake like a go-kart on the water!
It isn’t the biggest boat, so you get bounced around a little on a choppy day like our test day but it handles the waves nicely and remains fun and confident so you’ll feel comfortable bringing the family out on the water.
The 2003 Grew 174 is fast, fun and solidly built!
This boat is featured in the Summer 2015 issue of Boats&Places and in episode 12 of the 2015 Season of PowerBoat Television.