As is usually the case with Yamaha, it creates boats that are all-inclusive, meaning there are no options, but the features that one boat doesn’t have will be included on another with a new model designator. Such is the case with the 195 Series that consists of two boats, the AR195 with a forward swept watersports tower, and the SX195 with a standard Bimini. The tower, or Bimini top are the only differences, well other than price, that separate the two. Other than that all the features are the same, including the fact that these boats are the first to be offered with Yamaha’s 1.8L supercharged, Super Vortex High Output marine engine, the most powerful engine in the Yamaha boat line.
One of the first things we noticed when we stepped aboard the 195 is that the boat looks much more expensive than it is. With the SX195 coming in at $33,299 and the AR195 at $35,299, these boats may be the best bargain in the industry, but you can’t tell that by looking at them.
Beginning with the upholstery that incorporates multiple tones and textures, along with bead welting, makes for an impressive display. But looks mean nothing unless comfort is taken in, and here Yamaha delivers with multiple densities of water resistant foam that adds more support in key areas of the body.
Additional areas that draw the eye to a more upscale level of boat are the speaker grills that enhance the premium sound system, the brushed aluminum and angular grab handles, and of course the beautifully wrapped premium steering wheel.
And the windshield is pretty stylish in its own right with a good-looking black anodized frame that contrasts well with the white topsides.
With Yamaha’s low profile engines, it was the first company to really take full advantage of the stern of the boat and make it into a more attractive gathering area. The concept worked and took off across the industry, but to be sure no one can look at a Yamaha boat and not expect to see the clever “aft patio” that it made so popular.
It consists of two levels of deck, one with padded seat backs. Drink holders are to the sides, and both decks are padded to provide more comfort, non-skid safety, and to repel the heat from the continual onslaught of the sun. The entire area makes a great gathering spot when the 195 is not underway, and when preparing for some watersports it serves as an ideal staging area for putting boards on.
Under the lower platform is a concealed reboarding ladder and two grab handles aid in the reboarding.
The upper decking is actually a hatch that reveals wet storage in a convenient location to the staging area that the swim platform provides. There’s a drain in the compartment but we’d like to see it mounted a bit more flush for keeping the compartment drier, and there’s also a clean out port here but more on that later.
Moving into the cockpit, we see U-shaped seating that wraps around the stern and comes ahead to meet the two swivel buckets seats for the captain and observer. Yamaha designed the aft seats with, what it calls, optimized ergonomic comfort, meaning that the corners of the seats are no longer squared off and uncomfortable for anyone to sit in at an angle to the cockpit gathering. By rounding off the corners, now we can sit into this previously avoided spot and take further advantage of the available space the seating provides.
The two bucket seats are open in the back providing ample ventilation on hot days. Both swivel and slide. The port side seat swivels around 180-degrees allowing it to be utilized as an observer’s seat for watersports, and it understandably takes sliding fore and aft to complete the entire swivel. As for the captain’s seat, it stops short of the full 180-degrees to prevent the seat from hitting the throttle accidently.
Cockpit storage is under the side seats, as expected. To port, the compartment also houses the battery and battery switch. Just ahead of the port bucket seat is a glove box that houses the stereo in a protected environment. Alongside the stereo is an accessory jack and input connectivity plugs.
As with most boats, there’s also storage in the deck right at the bow walkthrough. This compartment is not only quite deep at 1’2” (.36 m) but also at 6’ (1.83 m) plenty long enough to store boards along with a ton of other gear. The hatch, with its turn and lock latch, is held open with a single support strut and the opening is gasketed all the way around. Matting at the bottom of the compartment protects the valuable gear.
We access the bow through the usual walkthrough in the windshield. Yamaha carries the beam of the 195 well forward to provide more room in the bow, and it works quite well. The seating consists of the usual lounge seats to either side and an aft facing seat fully forward.
Padded bolsters surround the bow with the exception of the areas where the speakers are, way up in the forward corners. The beverage holders are also here, a tad out of reach from the lounge positions.
As expected there’s storage under both bow side seats, but we don’t always see anchor storage fully forward. These side storage compartments measure in at 4’ (1.22m) with the opening measuring 2’ (.61m) x 1’4” (.41m) and Yamaha takes the extra step of adding carpet to the interior along with the molded in contours that channel water away from the interior of the compartments.
Moving to the operational features of the SX195 we’ll start with the exterior where we see four 4” (10016cm) pull-up cleats, two to each side. Inside, we’ll start at the bow where there is a dedicated storage space for the anchor under the forward bow seating. This anchor locker also includes an anchor keeper so it won’t be bouncing around in its storage space.
The engine is the biggest deal with the new SX195s since it’s the first time that Yamaha has put its most powerful engine into a boat instead of limiting it to just the waverunners. This 1812cc Yamaha 4-stroke, 4 cylinder, Supercharged and intercooled, 16-valve Super Vortex High Output engine delivers a lot of power and got us moving while barely giving adrenaline a chance to keep up.
To be clear, this is not an engine taken from a motorcycle or ATV and marinized for use on the water. This was purpose built by Yamaha for marine use, and more importantly, Yamaha didn’t outsource the engine. So if something goes wrong, it’s the same company that built the boat standing behind the engine as well.
The installation allows for plenty of room for regular maintenance and daily checks. Soundproofing made a noticeable difference that went from the screaming levels of the previous models to a more comfortable level that remained low enough where we were actually able to have a conversation while at cruise speed… a conversation about how quiet the boat was.
Now it’s no secret that jet intakes and impellers can get clogged. Unlike a propeller, jets take water in one end and blast it out the other. Not surprisingly, if we run through weeds, or a plastic bag that some thoughtless boater tossed into the lake, then we stand a chance of blocking that flow of water through the jet pump.
We’ve seen jet boats where someone actually has to go for a swim to free up the flow again, but Yamaha has a different take on the matter and it’s called the clean-out port.
At the swim platform, there’s a hatch that opens to reveal the port that leads right down to the impeller. Now to be clear, whenever the engine is running, the impeller is spinning. Shifting into gear only opens and closes the exhaust to make the boat move… or not. Given that, no one in their right mind would put their hand in there with the motor running. Sure we could shut the engine off and take the key with us, but people aren’t always smart enough to take the extra step to ensure that the digits all stay attached to the hands.
Instead, Yamaha utilized a kill-switch that activates whenever this hatch is opened. The engine shuts down, and won’t even turn over if someone tries to turn the key. The caveat however, is that the engine will also be killed if this compartment is used for wet storage, but in most situations, if someone were in this area the engine would be shut down anyway.
Now at the bottom of the port is a plug (Wouldn’t do to have exhaust water blasting out this port now would it?) and all we do is reach in and turn the handle a quarter turn to release, and then pull the plug out. Now the impeller is exposed and free to clear. When done, replace the plug, close the hatch and off we go.
The helm consists of two gauges, one with a selectable display that shows Gallons per hour, Miles per Gallon, Gallons Used since last fill, Water Depth, Water Temp, and Battery Volts. These gauges create a clean, uncluttered dash panel that also looks good. All dark colors and a matte finish eliminate glare, and a visor over the gauges also helps with that. The steering wheel is a premium upgrade for this model year.
Rocker switches are to both sides of the wheel with the most significant being to the far right. This is the Cruise Assist and No Wake rocker. Set a cruise speed and then incrementally increase or decrease with just a push of the button. At no wake speed, just move the throttle to the forward detent and the button can do the rest.
The Yamaha SX195 has a LOA of 19’ (5.79 m) , a beam of 8’ (2.44 m), and a draft of only 13” (33 cm). With an empty weight of 2,238 lbs. (1,015 kg), full fuel, and two people on board, we estimated our test weight at 2,838 lbs. (1,287 kg).
With the single 1812cc Yamaha SVHO engine turning a stainless steel 3-bladed impeller in a 160mm jet pump we reached a top speed of 52.3 mph at 7500 rpm. At that speed, we could keep going for 69 miles, but pulling back to 5000 rpm produced a best economic speed of 24.4 mph. At that speed, the fuel burn of 6.7 gph would allow us to run for 98 statute miles while still keeping 10% of the SX195’s 30 gallon (114 L) fuel capacity held in reserve.
She’s a quick boat to handle, reaching 30 mph in just under 6 seconds and she does so with practically no bowrise. Probably the biggest improvement in handling comes from the Articulating Keel that allows for zero thrust steering, along with straight line tracking during acceleration and quicker response when turning.
With the turn held on she’ll spin out as expected. We had a calm day on the lake so we can’t talk about how she handles choppy conditions, but crossing the wake of the camera boat showed that the SX195 transitions over the wakes with no hull slap and minimal spray kept low. All in all, an exciting ride.
Bringing the SX195’s into the dock is pretty straight forward… until reversing. When we reverse, the steering is also reversed, that is to say, steering to the left will back to the right. This takes the uninitiated a few tries to get the hang of but then it becomes pretty second nature.
The way around this is to always remember that the steering wheel steers the bow, never the stern. If you want the stern to go left, steer the bow to the right by turning the wheel to the right. Works every time.
Putting the most powerful engine Yamaha makes into the 195 Series was a smooth move and gave a small boat some serious performance. Now, just because a boater has to be limited in size, for whatever reason, does not mean that performance needs to be compromised.
And one look at the interior will tell that just because a boat has a smaller price tag, that the quality does not need to be compromised on either. Of course we can’t overlook the safety factor of the spinning propeller being removed from the equation. Judging by the way these boats are selling, and the comments we hear at boat shows, that’s all some people need to see before considering a jet boat. Once they start looking at Yamaha, the question simply becomes… which one.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Yamaha SX195 (2017-) is 52.3 mph (84.2 kph), burning 20.45 gallons per hour (gph) or 77.4 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Yamaha SX195 (2017-) is 24.4 mph (39.3 kph), and the boat gets 3.63 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.54 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 98 miles (157.72 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 1812cc Yamaha Super Vortex High Output.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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