The first place where Yamaha excels with the VX Cruiser HO is in technology, so let’s begin with the power plant…
This is the 1812cc 4-cylinder, 4-stroke High Output Yamaha Marine Engine. It’s purpose-built for the marine application, as opposed to taking a 4-wheeler or motorcycle engine and “marine-izing” it. Being built specifically for marine use means owners benefit from the engineering and corrosion resistance that make for a long lasting engine. Yamaha connected it to a 155mm jet pump, and, for added convenience, it runs on regular unleaded gasoline.
RiDE is a unique addition to personal watercraft. While the spring-loaded throttle trigger is in its normal position on the right side of the handlebars, the left hand handles another trigger that controls reverse. Now, with RIDE, and a simple squeeze of the left trigger, the VX Cruiser HO enters reverse mode with the reverse bucket directing the thrust out to the sides to additionally provide instant steering response. Keep in mind though, the reverse steering is backwards… left is right and right is left, and this takes some getting used to, but it does come. Just use the bottom of the steering handlebar to dictate the rear of the VX Cruiser HO’s direction of travel, not the top, and then it starts to come together pretty intuitively.
As the VX Cruiser HO cruises along, and it becomes necessary to stop, just squeeze the left trigger and the engine slows while simultaneously dropping the reverse bucket. This allows the craft to slow and stop the VX Cruiser HO in as short a distance as possible while still remaining in control, and without launching the driver over the handlebars. That’s not only intuitive, it’s safe.
But what happens if we slam it into full stop during a high speed run? The RiDE technology adjusts the deceleration and reversing accordingly so that the vehicle will still stop in the most efficient manner while remaining in control. Going at cruise, the engine deceleration is moderate, going fast, the deceleration is more pronounced. That’s what we mean by intuitive!
What if there’s a new rider onboard, and he/she grabs both triggers at the same time? The RiDE electronics correctly assume that the vehicle still needs to be stopped and works just as if the left trigger only were activated. With this technology, stopping travel distance is reduced by 30%, and the vehicle remains in control throughout. Again… intuitive!
So Does it Work?
We did it over and over again from top speed and had no hesitation in doing so. There was no stuffing the nose, no swaying off course, and no launching the driver off the seat and over the handlebars. The deceleration is smooth with no jerking motions and full directional control. It’s a very clever system, and Yamaha was smart enough to hold two patents on it.
Cruise Assist/No Wake
With a ride like this, it’s hard not to just squeeze the throttle trigger the whole way and let it rip. But sometimes we have to travel through no wake areas, or cruise for some distance to get where we want to go. Holding the trigger at a precise setting can be inconvenient, so Yamaha came up with the Cruise Assist/No Wake buttons.
A single press and three second hold of the No Wake button will be rewarded with three “beeps” and the VX Cruiser HO will set a forward cruise speed of approximately 5 mph. Slow enough to produce no wake but fast enough to get where we need to go and provide thrust for steering, without having to touch the throttle. To return to normal operations, just squeeze the trigger and No Wake is disengaged.
By the same token, bring the VX Cruiser HO on up to a comfortable cruise speed and press “SET”, and squeeze the trigger fully. The Cruise Assist will engage and hold that speed regardless of the throttle position (unless it’s released). Then the cruise speed can be adjusted incrementally with the Up and Down arrows. This is a great feature, especially when two or more WaveRunners are cruising together.
The NanoXcel hull far surpasses its fiberglass counterpart in terms of light weight and strength. It starts out life as a flexible sheet. When put under extreme pressure it becomes a solid with extreme strength. In the case of the Yamaha WaveRunner, the pressure is actually a machine press in the shape of the hull. When the two parts of the press come together on the sheet, the hull is formed and the solidifying takes place. Separate the press and out comes the hull.
Beyond the technology that goes into the VX Cruiser HO, there are a lot of other features that make this a premium level WaveRunner.
This contoured seat is both comfortable and durable. It accommodates three with the rear seat also accommodating a rear-facing observer during tow sports. And it’s all upholstered with a thicker marine-grade vinyl that will have it looking good for the long haul.
Reboarding Deck and Step
The VX Cruiser HO is fully-compliant for tow sports with its three-person capacity and accommodation for a rear-facing observer. It’s even compliant for those states that require rear view mirrors for towing. As such it makes sense that the rear deck be large enough to serve as a staging area for getting onto the tube, and back aboard again. For those in the water, reboarding is as simple as flipping down the spring-loaded reboarding step and climbing aboard.
The VX Cruiser HO comes with 24.6 gallons (93 L) of storage in three separate compartments. The front compartment is the largest and can hold lots of gear. This is also where the required fire extinguisher gets dedicated storage. The hatch is held open with a clever hinge that locks when opened past a detent.
Just ahead of the driver is a convenient storage compartment, much like a glove box, for housing smaller items such as sunscreen and vessel registration. It’s also large enough to hold a couple of water bottles.
Under the seat is waterproof storage. This container has a screw top with rubber O-ring to keep items dry and it’s also removable.
Yamaha added Hydro-Turf non-skid matting to all the decking to allow for better gripping in bare feet. It also remains cool to the touch in direct sunlight.
Adding a tow hook is a great idea. Maybe it’s not the slalom ski or wakeboard vehicle of choice, but for something more pedestrian like tubing, it’s spot on. Just under the rear of the seat is the tow ring.
Dual mirrors are molded into the front visor, allowing the rider to have better spatial awareness in addition to being able to keep an eye on the end of the towline. This is a required feature in some states for all watercraft being used for towing, so we’re glad to see it here on both levels.
The Yamaha VX Cruiser HO gives a sporty ride with a quick response to operator input. It’s more sports car than SUV to be sure. She’s quick off the line, and with that massive engine, quite fast. But it’s during the maneuvering, that everyone does on these types of watercraft, that it really shines with nimble handling and cat-like response. There’s no feeling of instability as she rolls from one side to the other in turns, but more of a stable roll that remained comfortable throughout.
The VX Cruiser HO doing what it does best… cranking and banking.
Pricing and Observations
The Yamaha VX Cruiser HO combines power, style and value. MSRP is $11,099 out the door, and in our opinion, that represents a great value.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Yamaha VX Cruiser HO (2018-) is 65.0 mph (104.6 kph), burning 13.5 gallons per hour (gph) or 51.1 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Yamaha VX Cruiser HO (2018-) 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 VX Cruiser HO (2018-) is 1.8 sec. seconds.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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