What the rider doesn’t get in the VXS WaveRunner:
Yamaha designed this as a no-frills model, with a starting price of $11,599. What has Yamaha left out of the VXS? The PWC doesn't have cruise assist or an adjustable handlebar. But since this watercraft is intended to be driven hard, cranking and banking, those items are not needed.The rider doesn't get the supercharger with the VXS, which at first left us wondering how this little package would perform. But after the test, we realized there is no need for a supercharger on this unit. Since the design is shorter (131.5''/3.34 m), and thinner (48.0''/1.22 m) and less weight (765 lbs./347 kg), the 1812cc power plant is more than enough to give any rider the thrill they are looking for. Further, as we often mention, all of the leading PWC builders purposely limit their units to a top speed of about 65 mph.
There isn't a fancy multifunction display, but for the way the operator will ride the VXS, all they need is the speed and the gas gauge. Speaking of gas: Yamaha has optimized the VXS engine to run on 87 octane regular unleaded gas, and our tests showed an advantage to not having that supercharger -- a WOT fuel burn of only 13 gph.
What the Rider DOES Get:
First and foremost, the rider gets performance; the VXS wants to go fast and wants to turn. In our test ride we spent half of our time standing and the other half sitting -- the VXS was equally comfortable in both positions. When turning the VXS is very stable and the hull's nose stays up with no plowing, even if you let the power off a bit after entering a turn.A major feature that the VXS does have, is the Yamaha
, which consists of several new components that help to enhance the overall driving experience of this watercraft. The first component is the specially designed reverse bucket. Electronically controlled by the BCU (Boat Control Unit), the reverse bucket has been designed to deflect and vector the thrust of water from the jet pump nozzle in several directions when deployed in reverse/deceleration mode. The vents on the side have been designed to provide maximum turning thrust when deployed in reverse/deceleration mode.The VXS has a 18.5 gallon (70 L) tank -- but as mentioned above, fuel is not an issue on this watercraft as the driver can run it at WOT for over an hour. One's bottom will probably give out before the fuel does. One does get some storage, a total of 24.6 gallons (93 L), just enough to bring along the essentials. And since the VXS is designed for three riders, the driver gets a seat that is ergonomically contoured for three people.
Styling and overall looks are always subjective, but we think the VXS delivers on that as well. The sharp angular bow has pleasing lines that look great even from the driver's seat (which has a scalloped backrest). In fact, of all the vessels on the water, probably nothing is as futuristic and as fast-looking as the current models of PWCs. Did I mention that the VXS is stable? Stability is probably this vessel's most outstanding characteristic, so pardon me if I repeat myself. And frankly, I can't think of any attribute for a PWC that is more important, particularly one this narrow. Stability is what keeps the rider out of trouble and it is the element that makes the VXS so "forgiving" when they do something stupid. Our test included hardover turns at 10 mph, 25 mph, 40 mph, and 55 mph, all delivering the same predictable stable, carved turns without sliding or digging in. Now it is a jet drive and a short-based watercraft, so we don’t suggest hard over turns below 10 mph with anyone else on board, unless one likes testing their balance.
Now, all of this is not to say that it is impossible to fall off the VXS. In fact, one of our crew managed that trick. That's when we put to the test the VXS's reboarding step -- this one swings down low enough actually to be helpful. Inadequate reboarding steps on PWCs have been a pet peeve of some of the crew at BoatTEST.com for years. I'm happy to report that the one on the VXS actually makes reboarding relatively easy.
If I couldn't find something to quibble about on the VXS, I wouldn't be earning my paycheck. What I don’t like: First off are the rear view mirrors. I appreciate that they are set inboard of the rub rail and up out of the dock strike zone, but if they are going to be there, then they should be adjustable. Who ever heard of rear view mirrors that are not adjustable?Another item is the latch to open the forward storage cover; we would like to see the small latch replaced with the same style as on the FX Series. These are much easier to open while sitting in the driver’s seat and leaning forward.
The engine compartment is very well laid out; aft of the divider bulkhead is an easily accessed battery, which is protected and convenient. There is enough space between the engine and body of the PWC to allow the rider to get their hands on everything, especially the oil filter, which can easily be removed without spilling oil. The engine oil dipstick is convenient on the starboard side, forward of the engine, and the air filter is right on top. What could be better than that?Another "must mention" is the VXS' speed and fuel consumption. Her top end speed of 68.4 mph is nothing to sneeze at and getting from 0 to 30 mph in 1.8 seconds is also commendable. Now add to that a starting price under 12K and the economical fuel burn (be sure to study the "Performance Tables") that one gets because there is no supercharger, and there's a nice package, indeed.
Don't take Yamaha's "no-frills" approach to the VXS to mean that it has cut corners. It has not. Everything that is there, with the exception of the two things I mentioned above, is top notch. If one is a beginner or even a reasonably proficient PWC rider, and want something fast, simple, stable, and affordable that can hold three people, they won't go wrong with the Yamaha VXS. If the buyer is looking for the cheapest PWC on the market, the VXS at $11,599 isn't it, so perhaps they should look elsewhere. Our suggestion is to take a look at the VXS first, so that the buyer will be able to tell exactly what they are not getting with the lower-priced units. If the buyer is a veteran PWC rider and they like all of the bells and whistles on more expensive PWCs and won't be confused by them -- and will actually use them -- then the VXS might be too basic for them. Nevertheless, even in this case, I would recommend to carefully examine the VXS and use its price as a benchmark when researching bigger, far more loaded PWCs.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Yamaha VXS (2016-) is 68.5 mph (110.2 kph), burning 13.5 gallons per hour (gph) or 51.1 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Yamaha VXS (2016-) is 24.2 mph (38.9 kph), and the boat gets 7.67 miles per gallon (mpg) or 3.26 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 110 miles (177.03 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x Yamaha 1812cc, four-cylinder, four-stroke.
- Time from 0 to 30 of the Yamaha VXS (2016-) is 1.8 sec. seconds.
Standard and Optional Features
1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)