While the AR190 was designed for operating in protected waters, she still has a relatively high freeboard. We measured 33” (84 cm) at the bow and 36” (91 cm) at the stern. That will keep her safe, as well as contribute to the dry ride we experienced during our test. The high freeboard has positive implications for some of the interior features.
The first, and most obvious place where her freeboard affects
the interior is in the storage. The bow seats all have deep storage inside, and there’s even a compartment under the forward bow seat for storing the anchor. We’re happy to see that it includes an anchor keeper to prevent the anchor from bouncing around.
The cockpit also has deep storage. We measured 17” (43.2 cm) under both side seats, and the openings are large as well. This allows for larger items to fit in the individual compartments.
Of course we also have in-sole storage
that is deep enough to accommodate wakeboards and skis. We’d recommend adding board racks to the tower. That makes boards easier to get to, more secure when tied down correctly and opens up the under-deck storage for holding even more gear. Keeps the water toys out from under foot, too.Most runabouts in this class have storage compartments that measure 12” (30.5 cm) across, 9” (22.86 cm) deep and run for perhaps 36” (91 cm) forward. Here, we measured 14” (35.56 cm) across, 16” (40.6 cm) deep and a length of 45” (114 cm). Of course, that’s just for the opening, but the compartment itself runs well forward under the bow deck. Yamaha has created what may be the largest in-sole storage compartment in class.
While on the subject of storage, there’s console storage to port that also managed to swallow all our gear with room to spare. It’s accessed from a hatch to the side, in the walkthrough to the bow. Above the console is a large glove storage compartment which houses the stereo, keeping it in an environment protected from the elements. Any water that gets in is drained overboard. The lid is held open by a tension spring that collapses with a simple press.
Next we have a deep cockpit
keeping everyone safe and secure. The side windows run well aft, ending just ahead of the spot where the tower mounts to the caprail. This adds even more security to the cockpit depth.
Yamaha excels in its fit-and-finish. This is certainly evident in the AR190, an affordable boat in the company’s lineup. The snap-in carpet is standard, and backed by a rubberized liner that prevents it from being pulled apart, or pulled from its snaps and dragged across the deck.
Elsewhere in the cockpit we see that the sides are almost completely padded, with only a few exposed areas of finished gelcoat. All upholstery is fabricated from thick gauge vinyl, and Yamaha uses multiple tones and bead welting as graphic accents. This process certainly adds time and expense to the construction, but to our eye, the end result is worth it.
The bow seating is in the usual configuration, with dual lounge seats to either side, providing an excellent forward facing vantage point. Padded bolsters outboard not only provide comfort during maneuvers, but also cushion the backs of two occupants seated facing each other. We would add another padded bolster to the front of the bow that would, in effect, create a backrest for an aft-facing occupant.
The cockpit is clearly the main social area of the AR190. Wraparound seating runs from the port console all the way around to the helm chair, and the seating is not interrupted with any permanent walkthroughs to the transom. Removing the center seat cushion exposes a step to the transom when access to the swim platform is desired.For tow sports, state marine law and common sense requires an aft-facing observer, and that person can be in either the bow or just to the port side of the operator. However, in the cockpit position to port, there is a grab handle, positioned just below the glove box. That's good for security, but also means the observer will probably need a throwable PFD cushion for added comfort. Easily accommodated, but a consideration nonetheless.
The helm seat
is a comfortable wrap-around type with the lumbar area completely open, providing cooling ventilation for the operator. It slides fore and aft for drivers with different leg lengths and, as it is mounted to a pedestal, swivels around allowing the driver to join in the social environment of the cockpit seating when the boat is at rest. There is a flip-up bolster to provide an elevated vantage point with the driver's head just above the windshield.So the bow will comfortably accommodate two people, wraparound seating in the cockpit will handle five, plus an additional in the helm seat makes six, for a total seating capacity of eight.
There is additional seating at the stern of the AR190, but we don't include it in the underway capacity. The reason is that this seating area is intended for use at times when the AR190 is not underway. For those that are into relaxing at anchor or the dock, this is an ideal location to sit and enjoy.Part of what makes this seating area possible is the low-profile height of Yamaha's waterjet engines. There is no need for a bulky engine box, typically utilized as a sun pad location. Instead, Yamaha created the "stern patio", a seating innovation that has come to distinguish and identify the brand.Cushions wrap around what would be the transom. The seat bottom is a step treated with rubberized Hydro-Turf matting that remains cool to the touch even in direct sunlight. Its convenient location to the swim platform makes this an ideal staging area for watersports. A concealed reboarding ladder is just underneath the swim platform, with two boarding straps for strong hand holds.
Moving to operations, we’ll begin with a look at the helm. Yamaha did a good job of keeping the AR190 a user-friendly boat by creating an attractive helm which functions well with a minimalist, uncluttered appearance.The console is a soft gray with a gloss surface. Two gauges reside in the upper panel, a speedometer and tachometer. The tachometer also has a digital window providing selectable information that can be scrolled through with a push-button. Below, are rocker switches that are lighted when activated, and we’re happy to see that circuit breakers are just below the switches — eliminating the need to crawl under the console, looking for an in-line fuse or a fuse box, should something go wrong electrically.
Even with the affordability theme of the AR190, to the far right is the combined “no wake mode” and “cruise assist” button that will allow much easier adjustment of cruising or towing speeds using incremental digital adjustments. This is a useful feature to have, especially when running alongside other boats, and certainly when towing. Get a skier or wakeboarder up on top with full application of the throttle, then reduce speed to a more comfortable level, and fine-tune that speed with up/down presses of the cruise-assist button. For "no wake" mode, an initial press sets the forward speed for best pace while keeping the wake negligible.
The engine control to starboard
works the same as on other boats, at least from the perspective of the operator. But in a jetboat its functionality is slightly different. There is no transmission controlling a spinning propeller underneath the boat. The waterjet impeller is always turning when the engine is running, sending a flow of water and thrust through the duct. For what we would refer to as "neutral," there is a bucket that drops into the waterjet stream, deflecting the thrust downward. This serves to hold the boat in position, with a minimal amount of control when turning the wheel.
When moving the engine control forward
from the neutral position, we do not engage any gears, but instead raise the bucket to provide an unobstructed flow from the waterjet duct. This thrust, pushing out the rear of the jet, propels the boat forward. Add more throttle, the flow increases and the boat moves faster.
When moving the engine control back
from the neutral position, the reverse bucket drops fully into the path of the waterjet duct and redirects the thrust forward, under the hull. This has the effect of moving the boat in reverse.Theoretically, one could go from full-forward-throttle to full-reverse-throttle without causing the kind of transmission damage that would be expected from a boat with a spinning propeller. Of course, this isn’t a particularly safe maneuver, and the onboard guests will certainly find it uncomfortable.It is a simple matter of creating thrust, and either interrupting or not interrupting that thrust to control the direction of the boat. For that reason, jet boats are among the safest to operate because there is no such thing as a "prop strike" injury.
There was a time when jet boats were notoriously hard to handle, but those days are long behind us. Part of what makes Yamaha's jetboats so much more maneuverable is the inclusion of an Articulating Keel. The hull of the boat comes down to meet at a keel that runs all the way back to the stern. At this point it is met by a hinged piece that is connected to the steerable jet duct. Moving left or right as the wheel is turned, the Articulating Keel gives the AR190 increased directional maneuverability, both at low and high speeds.We’ll get more into exactly how this affected performance in the handling section of this report.
Engine access is accomplished by releasing a hinged hatch at the stern, under the cockpit seating. The hatch lifts with the assistance of two gas struts. Underneath is the 1.8-liter (1812cc) High Output Yamaha marine engine.
A Yamaha Exclusive
Just as floating items can get wrapped around a spinning propeller, they can also get "ingested" into the jet's impeller intake. While it's usually easy to clear a grass or a towline from an outdrive, the impeller on a jetboat is a little further removed. Yamaha provides a solution with a "cleanout port" located underneath the transom seating. Simply lift the hinged seat and the cleanout port access is located underneath.Because it is not safe to reach into this area while the engine is running, Yamaha added an engine cutoff switch that is activated when the hatch is raised. This helps prevent any mistakes about reaching into this cleanout port while the engine is operational.
We mentioned the Articulating Keel earlier, so now it’s time to see how it worked for us. During our tests, we found it improved both low and high-speed maneuverability. For low speed, it made short work of docking, allowing us to maneuver the AR190 sideways right up against the dock.
At faster speeds, it had other advantages. Like most jetboats, the AR190 will spin out in the turns but we had to work at it. She would not spin out until she bled off speed to about half of what she had upon entering the turn, and only with continuing full throttle settings. Otherwise, turns are the same as with any other boat. For some, those spinouts make for a fun ride, but one can’t keep doing them all day. Sooner or later, more traditional handling characteristics for towing watersports will satisfy everyone aboard.
In cruise, she’s also a nice handling boat. She accelerates quickly and planes almost instantly. There’s a slight pull to the wheel below 24 mph (38 kph) and above that the thrust and integrated keel will center the wheel. She feels solid when cutting across wakes and we couldn’t get spray to come aboard. There’s only three-quarter-turn lock-to-lock steering, so it’s effortless and fun to keep cranking and banking.
Pricing and Observations
Yamaha prices the AR190 at $29,999. She’s sold as a complete package including a painted single axle trailer and an aluminum tower. We find her to be an excellent value and a comfortable boat to be in, and thanks to the addition of the Articulating Keel, she's also a fun boat to drive. She’s certainly beginner-friendly, which works well in conjunction with her focus on first-time buyers as her target audience.We also find that she has a lot of appeal to more seasoned buyers that are limited to the size of the boat they can purchase, whether that reasoning includes finances, or size restrictions for the lake that they will be operating on. She's also easily trailered, which further adds to her allure. We could easily see taking the AR190 on vacation with us, naturally being near the water.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Yamaha AR190 (2019-) is 43.2 mph (69.5 kph), burning 11.9 gallons per hour (gph) or 45.04 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Yamaha AR190 (2019-) is 28.4 mph (45.7 kph), and the boat gets 4.51 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.92 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 122 miles (196.34 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 1812cc High Output Yamaha Marine.
Standard and Optional Features
|Carpet: Cockpit||Standard Snap-in|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
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