Aside from all the frills, all the muscle, all the performance, there’s no denying that this is not only a serious watercraft, but among the best looking we’ve seen. Everything about it just says upscale style. She’s got lines and trim that add to the allure that this is a top tier model that leaves little to nothing to be desired. But whether the vehicle is a Ferrari, Lamborghini or a Yamaha FX SVHO… looks will only go so far. This watercraft delivers well beyond the looks.
The first place where Yamaha excels with the FX SVHO is in technology, and there’s so much of it piled into this machine that we are hard pressed to determine where to start. So let’s begin with the power plant…
When we say that this engine is race-inspired, we mean it. This is the same engine the race team uses in competition… and wins. It’s the “Next Generation” Super Vortex High Output (SVHO) 1.8L, Supercharged, 4-cylinder, 4-stroke purpose-built Yamaha marine engine. Yamaha tells us that this engine produces 20% more power than its predecessor, the SHO engine. It does this through engineering with a larger intercooler, larger supercharger intake, redesigned oil cooler, newly designed forged pistons and an 8-vane, high-pressure 160 mm pump impeller. And we’ll save the trouble of asking… yes, it burns premium-unleaded gas.
RiDE is a unique addition to personal watercraft. While the throttle trigger is in its normal position on the right side of the handlebars, the left hand handles another trigger that controls reverse.It’s a simple idea that we’re amazed hasn’t been around forever but we’re glad it’s here now.With a simple squeeze of the left trigger, the vehicle enters reverse mode with the reverse bucket directing the thrust out of the sides and providing 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 direction, not the top, and then it starts to come together pretty quickly.
So What’s so “Intuitive” About It?
As we cruise along, when it comes time to stop short, just squeeze the left trigger and the engine slows while simultaneously dropping the reverse bucket to slow and stop the FX 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 hugely safe.
But this vehicle is capable of some serious speed. What happens if we slam it into full stop during a flat-out run? It adjusts the deceleration and reversing accordingly so that the vehicle still stops in the most efficient manner while remaining in control. Intuitive!
What about if we panic and grab both triggers at the same time? The electronics correctly assume that the vehicle needs to be stopped and works just as if the left trigger only were grabbed. Stopping travel distance is reduced by 30% with this system, and the vehicle remains in control throughout. Intuitive!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. And before the copycats start to jump on the bandwagon, know this, Yamaha holds two patents on the system.
Cruise Assist/No Wake
There’s very little throw to the throttle trigger, it just begs to be squeezed all the way or not at all. And that’s fine for the most part. This hot rod wants to run. But sometimes we have to cruise to the playground and that may mean distance, no wake areas, or both. Holding the trigger at a precise setting can be a real pain in the exhaust nozzle. Enter the Cruise Assist/No Wake buttons.Just press No Wake and the FX SVHO will set a forward cruise speed 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 disengage, squeeze the trigger and away the rider will go.
By the same token, come up to a cruise speed and press “SET”, then squeeze the trigger fully. The FX SVHO will hold its speed regardless of the throttle position (short of releasing it). Up and down arrows allow for making incremental changes to the cruise speed. This is a great feature, especially when two or more WaveRunners are cruising together, or in our case, when one is tracking alongside a camera boat.
The NanoXcel hull 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.NanoXcel 2 takes it even further with a resulting hull that is, according to Yamaha, 37% lighter, stronger, and results in performance gains in acceleration, fuel savings, top speed and handling.
This is a feature that has been around Yamaha outboards for years, and now the WaveRunners can benefit from it. It’s a series of buttons under the handlebars, allowing the user to cycle through a digital LCD gauge without having to reach over the handlebars to do so. It provides information on a host of features including speed, engine tachometer, fuel management (fuel level, time remaining, distance remaining, etc…) as well as gear and trim indicators.
This is a feature that doesn’t get the attention it should, as some won’t even use it. For that matter, several models don’t even come with trim, still others have a manual trim. But this machine is all about the frills and muscle, so electric it is.
Simple presses of the button angle the exhaust duct up and down to compensate for weight distribution throughout the FX SVHO. Got a heavy driver, angle the bow up more. Got more weight to the rear, bring the bow down.
Beyond the technology that goes into the Yamaha FX SVHO, there are a lot of other features that make this a premium level WaveRunner. Let’s take a look at some of them.
This contoured seat is both comfortable and durable. It accommodates three with the rear seating also accommodating a rear-facing observer during towsports. And it’s all upholstered with a thicker marine grade vinyl that will have it looking good for the long haul.
Adjustable Tilt Steering
This simply allows for adjusting the height of the steering wheel for different size riders and different riding styles (sitting, standing…).
Reboarding Deck and Step
The FX SVHO 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 rearview 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 FX SVHO boasts a whopping 33.2 gallons (126 L) of storage in five separate compartments. The front compartment is the largest and swallows a ton of gear. This is also where the required fire extinguisher gets dedicated storage. The hatch is held open with a gas strut.
To the left side of the panel, just ahead of the handlebars, is a watertight compartment with a screw top that can hold small items.
Next is the storage glove box in front of the driver. This is where the quick access items go, sunscreen, wallets, hat, glasses…. Or choose to use the removable beverage holders instead.
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.
Lastly, the aft wet storage compartment is convenient to the tow sports. Toss in the tow line, extra life vests… nearly anything that will need to get accessed from the rear of the WaveRunner. Inside is a connection for attaching a garden hose to give the engine and pump a freshwater flush.
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 as tubing it’s spot on. Just under the rear of the seat is the tow ring.
Security Mode with Remote Transmitter
The security mode will disable the ignition system making the FX SVHO impossible to start if stolen off the beach. It also can be used to limit the power output if first timers are longing to give the craft a try. All controllable from a key fob remote that is waterproof and floats.
Beverage Holders on Dash
This is in addition to the removable holders in the driver’s glove box. The staple of every watercraft, be it WaveRunner or luxury yacht, the beverage holder is the most neglected on so many boats, but it’s not missing on the FX SVHO. No worries about staying hydrated here, a good idea on a watercraft with zero shade.
Because this is a relatively heavy WaveRunner, that translates into a solid ride with a little bit of the sportiness taken out. It’s more of a luxury SUV than a sports car. She’s quick of the line and with that massive engine, quite fast, but it’s during the maneuvering that everyone does on these type of watercraft that it really feels more docile and secure. 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.
Pricing and Observations
The Yamaha FX SVHO is a premium-level watercraft. MSRP is $15,199 fully-loaded, out the door. As for her performance and handling, words like fun, exhilarating and breathtaking only begin to scratch the surface.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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