A PWC site dedicated to Jet Ski, Seadoo, Yamaha WaveRunner, Honda AquaTrax and HSR-Benelli offering personal watercraft reviews, news and more.
Our Personal Watercraft
Classifieds provide easy to search listings of PWC's for sale
Research the Personal Watercraft and get a price quote from local dealers
Choose a state to browse listings of all Personal Watercraft dealers in your area
Use our Buyer’s Guide to get a quote or fill out an online application to get the coverage you need
There’s no denying the appeal of all-out speed. Power, however, costs, both on the showroom floor and at the gas pump later on. That’s why, for all its appeal, a good number of consumers would be wiser to actually consider a machine with less power.
In this regard, Kawasaki’s Ultra LX shines. It shares the same platform as the brand’s premier flagships, but opts for a slightly tamer, more fuel-efficient engine within.
That shared platform is a winner. The Ultra hull is deep, with a pronounced V that cuts through the toughest conditions with total finesse. Offshore racers love it for the same reason that newcomers will sing its praises – it’s predictable, stable, inspires confidence, and almost never deviates from its line. If you’re heading out to sea, or ride anywhere where the conditions are frequently rough, it’s one of the best choices on the market.
That same platform, however, can still feel small and nimble in flat conditions. A grooved ride plate and aggressive sponsons keep the craft anchored through tight turns. Lean to the inside, stay on the throttle, and you’ll rocket in and out of corners with a smile. Yes, the LX misses the electronic trim of its pricier siblings. The ability to trim that nozzle down really brings out this craft’s inner slalom champion. But for the target audience, it’s likely not as important as performance junkies think.
COMPARISON: Read our review of the 2016 Yamaha VXR Review
Besides, this is a craft that – while still able to perform – focuses more on touring. It’s comfortable, with a bolstered saddle separated into three distinct tiers, positioning each rider in line a little higher than the last for both better comfort and an improved view forward. The driver gets a five-position handlebar, ready to lean back for leisurely cruising or tilt up to complement standing when the conditions are rough. And everybody aboard gets space for both their stuff and itinerary. The LX boasts an amazing 60 gallons of storage capacity, much of it included in the generous bow tub. A nearly 21-gallon gas tank also means those trips will last long into the sunset rather than be interrupted looking for a fuel dock.
Of course, what gives the Ultra LX such great cruising range isn’t just its fuel capacity, but its engine. Kawasaki’s familiar 160hp 1,498cc four-stroke, it foregoes the supercharger and intercooler here to keep its budget price tag. Leaving those two items off the list also does wonders for the engine’s fuel economy.
COMPARISON: Read our review of the 2015 Sea-Doo GTI Limited 155
Not always just interested in cost-effective cruising? Without those add-ons, the LX is still capable of a top speed approaching 55 mph. What I appreciate most, however, is that it maintains a strong low-end punch out of the hole. With that bottom-end grunt, and not the surging that can come with trying to control a supercharged engine’s throttle, the LX makes a great platform for wakeboarding, wakeskating, skiing, and tubing.
Amenities reflect the price, but don’t shortchange the consumer. The prerequisites – things like mechanical reverse, easy-to-read LCD information display and spring-loaded boarding step – are present and accounted for. Buyers also get Kawasaki’s magnetic key system, which is used to both prevent theft and activate a speed-governed mode that allows newer riders to become more comfortable with the craft’s handling and response before feeling its full potential. An additional nod to newcomers is Kawasaki Smart Steering. Less-experienced riders frequently release the throttle when presented with an obstacle, losing their steering control. KSS detects these behaviors and boosts thrust just enough to initiate the maneuver the driver is trying to execute at the handlebars.
No, the Kawasaki Ultra LX probably won’t win many drag races. What it will do, however, is prove a versatile platform for the family as well as a great choice for long-distance exploring. And it will do all these things virtually everywhere, meaning you won’t be left on the dock watching other people have all the fun when conditions turn less than ideal.
After all, it’s still an Ultra.
Get PersonalWatercraft.com in your Inbox!
Like PersonalWatercraft.com on Facebook