The FX Cruiser SHO and the FX SHO are essentially the same watercraft, with only a slight variation in features. So what do you need to know about them? We put them through a full test and review to answer that question. First, even though they have one of the longest hulls in a PWC, at 132.7'' and weigh in at 840 lbs. and 827 lbs., respectively, the ride characteristics on both are as good as on shorter, lighter units -- and in one way they are better.
Available colors: Bronze Metallic or Yacht Blue Metallic
Powered by a 1.8 liter, supercharged, super high output Yamaha Marine Engine
The FX Cruiser SHO and the FX SHO are designed for three riders. Here you can can see the convenient location of the grab handles for the third rider.
The FX Cruiser SHO and FX SHO have not evolved much in the last three years, but there turns out to be an unexpected benefit in that: because of their weight and size, they handle rough water very well. While just as nimble in the turns as smaller watercraft, this series of PWC is smooth and stable in seas of one to two feet, and if you are are cowboy like some of the BoatTEST staff, in conditions greater than two feet.
There is little or no hard pounding in rough water and the hull, at 132.7'', pushes through and evens out your ride, which reduces fatigue. In our opinion, this is one of the best watercraft set-ups if you are a rider who likes to go long distance in big water. The 1812 CC four-stroke four cylinder supercharged Yamaha marine engine delivers even thrust through all the rpm ranges. In fact, the PWCs' acceleration is remarkable given their weight.
We found the long hull, 132.7'', inches delivered smooth turns and a predictable ride, even in rough water.
Speed and Fuel Consumption
This year’s test produced almost identical results to those we have gotten the last three years, with an average top end speed of 66.3 mph, burning 18.6 gallons per hour. Since most of us like to yank and bank and are never consistently on the throttle, you can expect an average speed of 35.6 mph and average fuel consumption of 6.3 gph. With a 18.5 gallon fuel tank and calculating a 10% reserve, you should have an average range of around 94 statute miles.
Features Make the Difference
Some of the features that we like are the electronic key, which allows you to not only lock the watercraft and walk away from it, but also to set it to limit the rpms. This limited rpm or “Low” mode is nice when you have a younger rider just starting out. It limits the rider to approximately 30 mph. The ability to electronically lock the watercraft with a remote key and leave it on the beach for a while gives peace of mind.
The look of the display is simple and easy to read. The large analog dial will provide you rpm and speed indications and the two side screens can be seen easily even with direct sunlight behind you.
The multifunction display is one feature that distinguishes the two models. The FX SHO has only one digital screen on the port side. The FX Cruiser SHO has a screen on port and starboard and allows you to set them to display your speed, fuel consumption, water temp, or rpm. Additionally, between these two screens is a large analog display and the combination provides you with all the data you would ever want, as well as all the warning and engine operation information you expect.
Another feature you find on the FX Cruiser SHO and not on the FX SHO are port and starboard docking cleats, located on the forward section.
The handlebar is adjustable in four positions, and the ride is equally comfortable standing and sitting on both models. However, the seats differ greatly. The FX Cruiser SHO has a scalloped back rest for the driver and the second passenger which are very comfortable. Each of the machines is designed for towing, but we found having the observer facing aft on the FX SHO is more comfortable than on the FX Cruiser SHO due to the lack of the raised seat back. Each has a re-boarding step, a width of 48.4 inches, and 26.4 gallons of storage.
The FX Cruiser SHO is shown here with the scalloped seat backs which add a great deal to the overall ride comfort.
The most noticeable features for handling are found on the handlebars, the same on both the FX Cruiser SHO and the FX SHO. On the starboard side is your standard squeeze-trigger throttle, but under this is your cruise assist and no-wake mode buttons. The no-wake mode is convenient: at idle, hold the blue button until you hear the beep, then the watercraft will maintain rpms so you have a speed between 5 and 8 mph without having to hold the throttle.
The handle bar is adjustable to four different positions making a comfortable ride position possible for most everyone.
The cruise assist is just as easy to use. Accelerate to any speed above 3000 rpms and then press and hold the cruise assist button. When you hear three beeps, you can pull the throttle back and hold it flat against the handle, your speed is now locked in. You can use the up and down arrows on a thumb toggle to adjust your speed correspondingly. This is a very convenient feature for the long haul riders. Yamaha has also built in a safety disconnect, so if your hand comes off the throttle, the cruise assist will disengage and the watercraft will stop.
We should point out that the hulls and decks on both models are manufactured from NanoXcel. These are the first watercraft manufactured through the use of this cutting-edge nanotechnology. Yamaha’s NanoXcel ultra-lightweight, high-strength material is said to reduce the weight of the hull, deck and liner by 25% and helps the performance in acceleration and in fuel economy. We can also report from experience that if you scratch the hull by accidentally hitting a rock, you can easily sand down the area and return it to its original condition.
We think the FX SHO series make a good all around PWC for one or for the family.
The engines are open-looped, raw-water cooled, which means that the engine sucks in the water it is sitting in, circulates it through the engine block and cooling system, then ejects it. Knowing that half the riders will operate in salt water, Yamaha has added a fresh water flush-out connection just under the aft seat section. In fact, even if you use this PWC in freshwater, we think it is a good idea to flush out the system with clean freshwater.
The engine oil dipstick is easy to find and use, and the engine oil filter is equally easy to find, remove and replace. Also, under the aft seat section is a storage bin which the BoatTEST staff find convenient to fill with lots of ice and bottles of water. Pulling this bin out reveals the battery located in a protected area in the aft compartment. Something we liked was that Yamaha optimized the engine in these units to run on regular 87 octane gasoline.
With a large forward storage compartment under the front hatch, there is enough room for a days worth of gear. And to the port side in front of the handle bar, there is dedicated dry storage with a screw off cap, perfect for keys, cell phone, etc.
The Water Jet Pumps
The drive shaft out of the engine connects directly to a three-blade, stainless steel impeller pumping the water through a 155 mm jet nozzle. This means you have no transmission and far fewer things to go wrong on the water. But with no transmission, you also have no reverse! For that reason Yamaha has carefully engineered a shield -- or "bucket" -- that moves down over the jet nozzle output to divert the flow of water forward.
This is exactly the same way the pilot of a jet airliner reverses thrust direction upon landing in order to slow the plane. On the starboard side of the watercraft, under the handle bar is an easy-to-use reverse thrust handle.
The Bottom Line
There wasn’t really anything we found that we did not like about the FX Cruiser SHO and FX SHO. Yamaha seems to have thought everything through, and this is probably why the models have not changed in the last few years, except for the color options and engine control software.
We feel the overall looks and performance hit the mark for a luxury performance watercraft. We can think of little to add to improve on the FX SHO series.
Overall we find the general looks of these two watercraft what we would call "conservative," but the performance excellent. Both models turn very well and are forgiving with less experienced riders. After several hours on these watercraft you will easily be able to tell the difference in the smoothness of the ride over many other PWCs on the market. With a starting price of $13,399, you are getting all of the bells and whistles you need and the performance you expect, for around $3,000 less than other luxury PWCs.
Yamaha FX Cruiser SHO (2011-) Test Result Highlights
Top speed for the Yamaha FX Cruiser SHO (2011-) is 66.3 mph (106.7 kph), burning 18.6 gallons per hour (gph) or 70.4 liters per hour (lph).
Best cruise for the Yamaha FX Cruiser SHO (2011-) is 20.2 mph (32.5 kph), and the boat gets 5.77 miles per gallon (mpg) or 2.45 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 96 miles (154.5 kilometers).
Tested power is 1 x 1812cc High Output Yamaha Marine Engine.
Time from 0 to 30 of the Yamaha FX Cruiser SHO (2011-) is 1.8 sec. seconds.
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels go to our Test Results section.
Standard and Optional Equipment
Yamaha FX Cruiser SHO (2011-) Standard and Optional Equipment
= Standard = Optional
Yamaha FX Cruiser SHO (2011-) Warranty
Yamaha FX Cruiser SHO (2011-) Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.
1 year limited warranty
Yamaha FX Cruiser SHO (2011-) Price
Yamaha FX Cruiser SHO (2011-) Price
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.
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