Boat Buyer's Guide 2014
Author: Alan Jones
The big news at Tracker this year is that its aluminum V-hull boats, such as the Pro 175 TXW, now sport a powder-coated finish called Diamond Coat. While powder coating might be new for Trackers boats, the builder has had plenty of practice with the process, as it’s been powder coating its trailers for years. We went to the factory for a firsthand look at the process, which begins with the application of special solvents that clean and prepare the aluminum surface. The powder — the consistency of talcum — is sprayed on, and the boat is oven-baked to cook the finish to a very shiny finish that a Tracker spokesman said is four times harder than paint. The final step is spraying on a clearcoat that adds more protection and gloss that’s slippery for better performance and even makes it easier to load and unload the boat from your trailer. Not only does Diamond Coat resist chipping and peeling, but it also makes the aluminum more saltwater resistant.
While you might assume this process — previously only seen on high-end boats and components such as wheels on luxury brands such as Mercedes Benz — makes the Pro 175 TXW phenomenally expensive, you’d be wrong. It comes in at a No Hassle No Haggle price less than $16,000 when equipped with a Mercury 60 FourStroke. We tested it with that engine and found it to perform well. The Tracker, pushed by the Merc 60, got on plane in 5.8 seconds, reached 25 mph in 12.1 seconds and achieved a top speed of 37.1 mph. The all-welded Revolution Hull rode smoothly over the chop on Table Rock Lake, in Branson, Mo., not far from where it was built.
While its price might be low, the Pro 175 TXW comes with a host of features, including the huge new 19-gallon aerated bow livewell to complement the 16-gallon stern livewell, which features a timer and a recirculator with pumpout. Another new feature is the rotomolded helm console that comes standard with a Lowrance X-4 Pro fishfinder. A lockable centerline rod locker, which holds rods up to 8 feet long, and a Minn Kota Edge trolling motor come standard. This year, all lockable compartments come with an easy-to-grab T-handle. The package even comes complete with a powder-coated steel trailer that now has power-coated (see a trend here?) silver-finish wheels.