YAMAHA FX CRUISER SUPER HIGH OUTPUT
By Captain John B. Wenz
My contact at Yamaha told me that I’d be impressed when I tested the new models for this year. Boy, he wasn’t kidding. Once again, Yamaha has unveiled a bunch of industry “firsts” with the newest flagship in their Waverunner PWC lineup. I’m talking about the new FX Cruiser Super High Output. This top-of-the-line watercraft is aimed at the discriminating buyer who is looking for the total package of luxury, features, and most of all, performance.
This Waverunner is recognizably Yamaha, yet the sleek new lines give it an even more upscale look than their previous top model. The FX Cruiser SHO is 131.5” long, has a beam of 48.4”, and a height of 48.8”. She carries 1, 2, or 3 persons for a total capacity of 529 pounds, and has storage space totaling 26.4 gallons. Some of the features are also recognizably Yamaha are things such as the pop-up docking cleats and the “Three-point Cruiser Contact System” features that we’ve seen and commented positively on in the past.
The excitement starts with an all new 1800cc engine
That’s right, 1.8 liters of supercharged, Yamaha marine engine. This is the largest displacement engine ever built into a production PWC. And, surprise of surprises, this little beauty is optimized to run on Regular Unleaded gas- it’s got an 18.5 gallon tank. Yamaha has a reputation for reliability, and I wouldn’t expect anything less from this engine.
Innovations made possible by the Engine Package
Given the fact that Yamaha builds both their boats and their PWCs around their engines, you can conclude correctly that there’s a nice synergy between hull and motor design teams. The Super High Output engine includes an onboard computer, making this the first PWC with an electronic throttle- what we call “fly-by-wire” technology. Along with engine performance enhancements like the throttle being more responsive, there are some other benefits that fall into the comfort and convenience category. How about the industry’s first cruise control, Yamaha’s “Cruise Assist” for starters? A little thumb button sets the throttle at whatever rpm you’re at, so you can relax while still holding the handgrip. Increasing or decreasing rpms is accomplished by the touch of “up” or “down” buttons, and a slight move of your hand disengages the cruise control. It takes a little practice, but it’s simple to use. This kind of feature is directed at those who like to cruise all day- and it works!
In addition to the cruise control feature, there’s another exclusive called the “No Wake Mode.” It’s a pre-set throttle speed, engaged by depressing a button at your fingertips. I’ve used this feature on Yamaha’s boats and I can tell you that it’s real handy whether you’re making your way through a long no-wake zone or just doing a little side-by-side sightseeing. As if that wasn’t enough, yet another benefit of the electronic control package is Yamaha’s “Reverse Traction Control”. This is another simple but effective tool, made possible by the new technology. It is basically an RPM limiter when the reverse bucket is engaged and it really helps tame steering and maneuverability in reverse. Close quarters handling has terrorized more than one novice PWC operator in the past and the SHO engine from Yamaha goes a long way toward eliminating that terror.
Familiar Yamaha Cruiser features are back
Along with the new features made possible by the engine electronics, you’ll recognize some familiar stuff already included in Yamaha’s Cruiser line. The heart of the trademarked “Cruiser” concept is the Cruiser seat. I’ve logged quite a few hours in this seat and I can vouch for how comfortable it is. The security provided by the seat, combined with the adjustable tilt steering and raised foot chocks allow both driver and passengers to simply relax and enjoy the ride. There’s a remote controlled security system and a low rpm mode which can be activated from up to 30 feet away. Along with the comprehensive digital instrument package, a new addition is the Industry’s only on board fuel flow meter, so you can monitor your fuel consumption.
What in the world is NanXcel?
Nanotechnology- learn it, know it, live it. It’s the wave of the future, and Yamaha is the first PWC builder to use it in their manufacturing process. What it involves is engineering at the molecular level. What it means to you and me are huge benefits created by some broad advances in the properties of manufactured materials like plastics, for example. In the Waverunner line-up, this translates to lighter hull weights (up to 25% lighter), increased speed, acceleration, and responsiveness. Besides that, the finish is smoother and gem-like and these PWCs look really cool!
As I said, Yamaha promised to impress me this year, like they’ve done in the past. First of all, both color schemes, the Crimson Red Metallic and the Platinum Metallic caught my eye as soon as I arrived at the test site. Once I got onboard, the comfort was characteristic of a Yamaha Cruiser, only better. All the benefits of the Cruise Assist and No Wake Mode were clear and straightforward as expected. But what I didn’t expect was for the Nano tech hull to be so superior. From my first acceleration, I felt a big difference. The FX Cruiser SHO took off like a rocket. Once we were underway, the feel of the boat was solid, yet the ride was nimble. Acceleration, turning response and top speed were all obviously improved. It’s much easier to feel than it is to describe, but it was really obvious when I did a comparison. I first rode on a conventional hull and then jumped on the new one. It was akin to the sensation you get when you pick your car up from the mechanic after an overdue tune-up (not that I’ve ever done that!) Your car seems grateful and can’t wait to take you for a ride, and it makes you sort of fantasize that you traded-in “old reliable” for a new hot-rod. That’s the kind of sensation I got as I sat on the FX Cruiser SHO and punched the started button. I hope my analogy makes sense. If it doesn’t, do yourself a favor and go for a ride. You’ll see what I mean.
Under the gun, radar gun that is, we reached a top speed of 66.3 MPH. As far as acceleration goes, PWCs accelerate so fast that a radar gun’s processor can’t keep up. The best we could figure is that the FX Cruiser SHO reached 30 in about 1.8 seconds! At a cruising speed of about 30 mph you can figure that the FX Cruiser SHO will get you about 125 miles on a tankful.
A Total Package
Like the guys at Yamaha promised, I was very impressed. The FX Cruiser SHO is a really complete top-end PWC package that delivers style, comfort, convenience, and reliability. Most of all, it’s one nice ride.