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With the RXT-X 300 looking over its shoulder (and to be fair, stealing much of the spotlight), it’s natural to wonder if there’s still a place for the 2017 Sea-Doo RXT 260, a craft that uses the same hull form but sticks with the “older” 260hp engine package.
Engine: Supercharged three-cylinder 1,494cc
Fuel Capacity: 15.9 gal.
Stowage Capacity: 42.8 gal.
Seating Capacity: 3
MSRP: Starting at $13,999
The short answer is yes, and the reason is both power and price. That lower horsepower engine still offers much of the same result as the engine above it in the Sea-Doo hierarchy. Acceleration is still forceful, and top speed again nips at 67 mph. What just may seal the deal for some consumers, however, is that the RXT 260 runs close to the RXT-X 300, but saves its buyer $1,500 in the process.
That’s a lot of money to keep in your pocket. Or, a lot of gasoline to put in your tank.
While the upper deck may lack a few of the “X” accouterments that define the craft a step up in the ranks, the 2017 Sea-Doo RXT 260 shares the same hull below, a deep-V, stepped design that carries many of Sea-Doo’s high-end models. It finds its way through chop like a champ, delivering up a surprisingly smooth ride as it predictably cuts its way across the waves. Show that hull some calm water and it turns into a smaller-feeling craft, carving into turns with a gentle inside lean and sending up a shower of spray that a slalom water-skier would envy.
That handling is enhanced in multiple conditions with the RXT’s variable trim system, an electronic trim that can be used to plant the bow for more hull in the water in turns and alternatively raise it to take much of that hull out of the water during high-speed runs. Set a favorite up and down position and you can quickly reach them through a quick double-tap of the button, allowing your eyes to stay focused on the water ahead.
Enhancing the rider’s control in all of the above scenarios is the ErgoLock seat added in 2016. An idea that evolved from the RXP-X, the saddle is noticeably scalloped out in the driver’s portion, providing a cradle that surrounds your butt and thighs and allows the driver to both grasp the seat during high-speed runs across open water, or use their legs more effectively in high-speed, high-G turns. The driver’s legs stay closer together in a more natural position. The enhanced back support helps enhance that “locked-in” feeling, while also offering plenty of back support for long-distance cruising. Add Sea-Doo’s palm-rest style grips and you’ve got a craft that you’ll feel secure on, even when pushing yours – and the boat’s — limits.
And those limits are certainly waiting to be stretched. Sea-Doo’s 1,494cc Rotax uses a supercharger and intercooler to pack the engine with a greater volume of cool, condensed air, resulting in crisp, 1.8-second acceleration to 30 mph, a strong midrange, and as mentioned, 67 mph top speed in good conditions before the GPS-based speedo triggers the engine’s electronic governor and pulls back the reins. Sound familiar? Those are similar numbers to what you’ll find on the new 300hp engine, although to be fair the latter does offer better response when coming out of a turn or punching the throttle while launching across the waves. Still, it’s more than enough to keep you running with the current crop of flagship models, as well as more than enough to make the 2017 Sea-Doo RXT 260 a competent tow vehicle for watersports.
Like all Sea-Doos, that power delivery can be governed in one of two ways. One is Touring mode, the alternative to Sport mode that tames the forcefulness of the boat’s acceleration by watering down its acceleration curve but never its top speed. The other is a secondary lanyard that, when installed, acts as a speed governor. Riders can also go the “eco” route, choosing a mode that controls the engine’s response with utmost fuel-efficiency in mind.
Naturally, the 2017 Sea-Doo RXT 260 still gets the full complement of Sea-Doo extras, including Intelligent Brake and Reverse (iBR), cruise control and no-wake modes. The former allows the craft to act like a traditional boat, with forward, neutral and reverse settings, as well as rapidly decelerate at speed. The latter are handy when long-distance cruising, towing skiers, boarders and tubers, or negotiating those seemingly endless no-wake zones.
The boat also gets storage, a shortcoming to models prior to 2016. There’s nearly 43 gallons of space split between the bow compartment and glovebox. That’s enough to handle everything from a spare change of clothes to the necessities brought along on a long cruise or even overnight trip.
Comparable models? Sea-Doo offers only the GTX Limited S 260 at this horsepower point, a craft that’s similar but tacks on suspension and a host of Limited extras for $16,999. Other models close on the family tree have switched to the new 230hp, Rotax 1500 HO ACE engine. Yamaha’s FX HO runs $13,199; Kawasaki’s Ultra 310 models start at $15,299.
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