Boat Test: 2007 Key West 176CC

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Boat Tested2007 Key West 176CC
Price As TestedNot Available
Category Center Console
Manufacturer Key West
Length17ft 7in / 5.36 m
Key West boats are normally found in

the inshore and offshore waters of

Florida and the Atlantic coast, where

bay boats are popular for fishing or recreation.

Over the last several years, this style of craft has

been finding its way onto Canadian waters in

ever increasing numbers.

The Key West 176 Centre Console's hull is

mated to a one-piece cockpit liner and bonded

to a foam-injected fibreglass stringer system.

The solid, wood-free hull is backed by a tenyear

transferable hull warranty.

The design and layout of the 176CC is

functional and low maintenance, incorporating

features for fishing and just playing around on

the water from the bow to the transom. The

anchor locker has slots and locking tabs to

securely stow the supplied anchor with ample

room for rode.

The bow casting platform has an effective

non-skid pattern and incorporates a large storage

space underneath. A snap-in, marine-grade

vinyl cushion converts this area to seating.

The helm seat is a marine-grade cooler with

padded top, locked into position under a

flip/flop bolster that is comfortable either sitting

or standing. A marine cooler with a removable

padded cushion provides additional seating

ahead of the centre console with room for two

in the moulded transom seats.

The centre console itself features a stainless

grab rail that protects the low windscreen and

provides a solid handhold when underway. The

stainless steel wheel and engine controls fall

readily to hand and the helm incorporates full

instrumentation, including compass, with room

for a fish finder and other electronics.

Standing or moving about to fish, the self

bailing cockpit's non-skid surface feels quite

secure and will be quite easy to keep clean

thanks to the built-in wash down system. For

the fishing minded, the 176 comes standard

with a 15 US gallon aerated live well, gunwale

rod storage and eight stainless steel rod holders.

Keeping the decks clear, Key West incorporates

a built-in fuel tank with a full-size fuel filter

in the transom, where you'll also find the

battery and switch.

For our test, Honda had arranged for us to

be the first to run the new BF90 prototype in

Canada. The Key West 176 CC, rated for 90

to 115 hp, was an ideal application for the

BF90.

Honda set some serious goals for this motor

based on consumer research. Surveyed consumers

indicated their desire for an outboard

with strong acceleration, acceptable top speed, easy

starting, smooth idling and excellent efficiency.

The Honda had the 1,300-pound (450 kg)

Key West on plane quickly and delivered a top

speed of 38.8 mph on GPS. Acceleration was

also strong, with the boat reaching 20 mph in

6.0 seconds and 30 mph in 10.8 seconds, attributable

to the BLAST technology that advances

the ignition to improve acceleration.

Underway in calm conditions, the 176 CC

ran flat, requiring minimal motor trim. Overall,

the hull design proved to be a well-balanced,

predictable handling package, but it could be

over trimmed if pushed hard in the turns. To test

the hull's sea keeping, we had to create our own

rough water; the 15 degrees of deadrise in the

hull had the boat handling the wakes well.

As an easily trailered fishing machine or a

great boat for the family to run around with at

the cottage, Key West has this model dialed in

quite well.
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