2017 Yamaha FX SVHO Review

A luxury craft with a mind for performance

Fast Facts

Engine: Four-cylinder 1,812cc

Fuel Capacity: 18.5 gal.

Stowage Capacity: 33.2 gal.

Seating Capacity: 3

MSRP: Starting at $15,299

The FX hull categorizes the FX SVHO as a Luxury model in Yamaha’s WaveRunner hierarchy, but make no mistake, this is a performance flagship. It runs with anything the competition throws its way, both in off-the-line acceleration and top speed, and carves an aggressive line when cornering. Even the paint color – Azure Blue Metallic – is a nod to Yamaha’s performance heritage.

Luxury? It’s got it, but true luxury enthusiasts would probably be better off looking at the Cruiser or Limited models next in line. The 2017 Yamaha FX SVHO wants to run…and fun.

Performance Power…and Ride

The driving force behind the FX SVHO is found in the last four letters of its name, Yamaha’s Super Vortex High Output engine. One of numerous variations on the base 1,812cc engine platform that has served Yamaha well in recent years, the SVHO receives a more potent supercharger, larger and more-efficient intercooler, larger fuel injectors, forged steel pistons and a more efficient oil cooler than the SHO engine that precedes it. As to what that means to the consumer, expect 20% more power, noted both in the craft’s brutal acceleration and its 67 mph top speed. The former, benefitting from the lightness of the second-generation NanoXcel hull, deck and liner, along with 160mm pump, top-loader scoop grate and extended ride plate, is well below the two-second mark in real world conditions, and can dip even lower with a lightweight pilot and flat water. The latter also is a very real-world target – and one you may even eclipse in the right setting.

2017 Yamaha FX SVHO Wakeboard

The hull is well matched to the power, and exceptionally versatile. In calm conditions, it runs straight and true, and hugs the water when powered into a turn. It’s a ride that is simultaneously thrilling yet confidence inspiring. Nudge the electric trim button and drop the bow for the most aggressive slalom handling; raise it on the straightaways to elevate that bow and reduce the wetted surface. I find the craft’s inside lean intuitive, and trust the sponsons to keep the stern anchored. As to rough water, Yamaha has always excelled in this setting. The FX SVHO is firm, but comfortable, and blasts through chop with no surprises.

Highlight Reel

The 2017 Yamaha FX SVHO’s feature list is familiar, yet impressive. Both cruise control and a no-wake mode are offered, allowing the driver to lock in the speed and then either pull the throttle all the way for comfort (in Cruise Assist), or release it altogether when navigating a lengthy slow-speed zone. Cruise control also comes in handy when towing skis, boards or inflatables, as it eliminates the jerkiness inherent in a rider trying to hold a steady throttle. The craft also features tilt steering, Yamaha’s remote transmitter to lock the craft against unauthorized use (and govern speed when desired), two-tone Hydro-Turf mats, rear boarding step, and 33 gallons of storage capacity.

You won’t get a heavily bolstered seat, a nod to the craft’s performance leanings. The SVHO’s more subtle bolsters are better for riders who like to move about the saddle, shifting their weight in the turns. FX models all get a clever storage nook aft below that saddle. It’s perfect for items like a mask and snorkel, or towsports rope.

2017 Yamaha FX SVHO Cornering

The most impressive item on the feature list of the 2017 Yamaha FX SVHO, however, continues to be RiDE, Yamaha’s dual-throttle control system. RiDE essentially gives the driver one throttle for forward and one throttle for reverse. With no input at either, the craft assumes a neutral stance, the reverse bucket partially deploying to deflect water just enough to negate forward or backward movement. This makes maneuvering at the dock or launch ramp exponentially easier. Pull the RiDE lever at speed and that bucket deploys further to rapidly decelerate the craft, diverting water to the sides so as not to cause the bow to dip. Input at each lever is felt instantaneously, meaning you can be going full throttle, pull the RiDE lever to abruptly slow, and then be instantly once again back on the throttle. The same response is found at slow speed. RiDE features a short learning curve, and truly enhances the craft’s maneuverability.

Fun Factory

2017 Yamaha FX SVHO High Speed

Clearly the 2017 Yamaha FX SVHO measures up in all the flagship performance ways. It sports a large-displacement, supercharged engine that ticks off all the right numbers. It features a precision hull that carves flat water and charges into waves. If offers all the bells and whistles we’ve come to expect from a premier craft, while avoiding any major shortcomings.

In short, while this may be a luxury craft in position, it’s no laid-back cruiser. And that’s the way we like it.