2013 Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 Review

Sea-Doo hopes style and features have recreational customers feeling lucky

Story by Jeff Hemmel, Photography by Sea-Doo, Oct. 30, 2012
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The 2013 Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 is almost identical to the 2012 Sea-Doo GTI SE 130. So why get excited about the new yearís version? Check out the paint scheme. The 2013 version is available in Lucky Green, a vibrant hue thatís pretty far removed from the typical Sea-Doo shades. Itís bright, itís bold, and itís a breath of fresh air in a year where things are pretty status quo.

No, thatís not enough to justify a new model purchase. But given that the SE 130 is a pretty compelling candidate behind the paint job, it just may be enough.

Style...And Substance

2013 Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 Beauty

Once a dated and dull candidate in the line, Sea-Doo reinvented the GTI series in 2011 with a welcome refresh. The look is upscale, with a faceted design that rivals Sea-Dooís GTX flagship. The stylish design incorporates a number of clever features. Take the footwells for example. They continually slope from front to back to allow driver and passengerís feet to always be in constant contact. They also cant inward to produce a more natural seating position and take pressure off the knees, as well as provide some leverage when cranking through a tight turn.

2013 Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 Seat

The saddle, in the SEís case a bolstered, touring-style perch that provides great back support and keeps passengers in place, narrows forward around the knee area to facilitate standing as well as avoid that legs-spread-side feeling of many PWC saddles. The instrument panel has been moved forward, so that itís clearly visible seated or standing. For the SE model, Sea-Doo adds to its functionality, introducing a fuel-consumption readout, clock and trim position to the display. Other SE additions include a fold-down reboarding step and improved wide-angle mirrors.

Below the bond line, however, status quo is acceptable. The GTI follows its history of providing a shallower, more playful feeling hull. In fact, save for a slight stretching and reallocation of boarding platform space aft, itís the same hull that GTI lovers have appreciated for many years. Deadrise is a mere 16 degrees. Flick it into a corner, keep your weight just right, and you can still get a little of the sliding, loose feel of yesteryear. Shift that weight and you can carve the water with todayís more common precision.

2013 Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 Action

Like the hull, the engine is yet another proven performer from the past. Itís Sea-Dooís familiar 4-TEC at its most basic, producing roughly in the neighborhood of 130 hp. Without a supercharger, youíll save gas and money, but still reach close to 55 mph in that across-the-lake drag run. You may not always have power to spare, but itís also capable of towing skiers and wakeboarders, with surprisingly satisfying power out of the hole.

Compelling Features

2013 Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 iBR Lever

Where Sea-Doo truly sets the GTI apart from the entry-level norm is in terms of features. Namely, just how many are offered...and how advanced those offerings are.

Obvious is the brandís Intelligent Brake & Reverse (iBR) system. Imagine using the reverse bucket to slow yourself at speed and youíll get the basic version of iBR, except that here you donít go flying over the handlebars, but instead allow the onboard computer to assist and use that redirected water flow to slow the craft in almost half the distance normally required. iBR is also appreciated around the dock. It allows the SE 130 to start in a neutral mode, meaning you wonít surge forward or back as thrust exits the pump. Pull the portside reverse lever and youíll back away with control; squeeze the starboard-side throttle and youíll move forward. Itís all very intuitive, meaning youíll be using it quickly, and keeps your eyes on the water. iBR also makes docking a breeze.

2013 Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 Gauges

The other noticeable feature is electronic throttle. It allows Sea-Doo to offer pre-programmed acceleration curves, one for everyday riding and one for more performance-focused pursuits. A third setting searches out the most fuel-efficient speed. That same electronic throttle also gives the craft the benefits of cruise control. Set a speed and you can simply squeeze the throttle and fully grip the handlebars, rather than try to figure out a steady pressure on the lever. No-wake zones are even easier to handle. Activate the no-wake setting, and you can release the throttle totally.

Feeling Lucky?

2013 Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 Tow Hook

As always, there is the occasional miscue. On a Limited model, Iím surprised to see the lack of tilt steering. It would work well in concert with the craftís sit-or-stand ergonomics, especially for taller riders who may feel cramped by the handlebarís low position. Other minor gripes include the basic U-bolt for a tow hook. A dedicated tow eye would be better, or at least more convenient.

Beyond those omissions, however, the GTI platform in general offers a lot for this end of the price scale. Add in the Limitedís extra dose of luxury, and you just may have found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Or at least a boat that will make your friends green with envy.

2013 Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 Specs
Length 132.6 inches
Beam 48.5 inches
Curb Weight 755 lbs
Engine Naturally aspirated three-cylinder EFI
Displacement 1,494 cc
Bore and Stroke 100 mm x 63.4 mm
Compression Ratio 10.6:1
Fuel Capacity 15.9 gal.
Combined Stowage Capacity 30.8 gal.
Colors Black and Sunshine, Lucky Green
Price $9,899

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