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Watercraft Preview: 2007 Stratos 176XT

Stratos is poised to revolutionize the 17-foot bass boat market with the ultra affordable 176XT glass rig

Date: 10/22/06
Watercraft: Freshwater
Manufacturer Stratos-Genmar
Reviewer: Zander

Introduction: Stratos is preparing to take the 17-foot bass boat market by storm with their new aggressively priced 176XT fiberglass boat. This generously featured bass boat is designed to deliver glass performance at a price less than the top selling similarly sized aluminum boats. Stratos is a member of the Genmar family of watercraft. Genmar is the parent company of a number of well known brands including Four Winns, Seaswirl, Wellcraft, Champion, and most famous... Ranger. While Ranger boats range in price from 15-60K most Stratos boats are considerably more affordable. Stratos built its first bass boat in 1984 and has earned quite a following among local tournament fisherman. Each boat is p100% composite and produced with high-quality CP Armorcote gel-coat finish and comes backed with a limited lifetime warranty on the hull.


The Stratos 176XT looks like a high performance bass rig... it is hard to believe that this boat only costs $12,995, that is 2 thousand less than the industry average (also outfitted with 50hp powerplants) for similarly sized aluminum boats!


When it comes to boats in the 17 foot range the top selling boats are all aluminum, and when it comes to this segment nobody sells more boats than Tracker. These aluminum rigs have improved greatly over the years but many of the models offered by even the biggest aluminum boat manufactures come with small 25hp engines, lack of amenities, and seem to be increasing in price season after season. In fact the average price for a 17 foot (single console) aluminum boat with at 50hp (fuel injected) engine is right at 15,000 dollars. This is a reasonable price to pay for a rig that is armed with a trolling motor, basic electronics, and livewells. Stratos is making things a lot more interesting for the 2007 season with their new 176XT. The 176XT is an all-fiberglass alternative to noisy aluminum boats, and sports the same aggressive styling and practical configuration of modern tournament rigs.



The 176XT will come rigged with a 50hp Yamaha outboards, Minn-Kota trolling motor, Lowrance electronics, and a trailer for only $12,995! That's two thousand less than the industry average for a lesser equipped aluminum boat! This price is simply amazing, but what about the fit and finish of this rig? The 176XT is 17 feet, 6 inches in length and is rated for a maximum of 75 horsepower. The beam is 84" and the boat can hold a total of 596lbs of weight. The boat is built with all composite construction (no wood), and makes use of fiberglass stringers, and a all composite transom. We were surprised that the boat comes with a fully featured trailer that includes 13" painted wheels, baked on high gloss paint, and even a swing away tongue. With the tongue open the entire package is only 18' 10" in length, making it possible to park this boat in most garages.


The 176XT is attractively appointed and comes standard with a 50hp Yamaha powerplant


The boat itself is also surprisingly well appointed. The console is designed to offer anglers more legroom, as well as a raised forward casting deck that allows multiple anglers to more freely and comfortably while fishing. Because the boat is built wider than most similarly sized aluminum boats it is more stable on the water. This makes it safer and easier for two anglers to lean over the gunnels while landing fish. The 176XT also features the complete range of electronics, including a Lowrance X 50DS, an onboard Minn Kota Charger, aerated livewell, removable navigation lights, and speed, tach, and fuel & trim gauges. 


Compare the stability of the 176XT versus an equally sized aluminum rig


This is no stripped down boat, in fact, the 176XT comes armed with plenty of angler friendly features including a spacious rear deck, a rod locker, running rod racks, four tackle storage boxes, and custom matched upholstery all standard.


Plenty of angler friendly features make this boat more feature rich than the vast majority of similarly sized aluminum boats

Conclusion: Anglers that normally would only have had to consider an aluminum boat due to price constraints now have a brand new alternative for the 2007 season. The Stratos 176XT is the most aggressively priced fiberglass boat ever, and best of all this boat doesn't ask anglers to make any sacrifices. Instead Stratos designed the boat to offer much more than aluminum competitors at an ultra aggressive price, one that is even lower than the industry average for similarly sized aluminums. How did they do it? By leveraging their buying and manufacturing power and lowering their margin to aggressively target consumers in this low price-high value segment. Will other manufacturers follow suit and offer ultra low priced fiberglass boats as well? That remains to be seen, but for now Stratos is poised to offer the most attractive 17 foot boat on the market with the new 176XT.










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