2013 Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 Review

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

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 year’s version? Check out the paint scheme. The 2013 version is available in Lucky Green, a vibrant hue that’s pretty far removed from the typical Sea-Doo shades. It’s bright, it’s bold, and it’s a breath of fresh air in a year where things are pretty status quo.

No, that’s 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

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-Doo’s 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 passenger’s 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 SeatA bolstered seat offers very good back support and keeps rider and passengers in place.

The saddle, in the SE’s 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 it’s 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, it’s 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 today’s more common precision.

2013 Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 Action

Like the hull, the engine is yet another proven performer from the past. It’s Sea-Doo’s familiar 4-TEC at its most basic, producing roughly in the neighborhood of 130 hp. Without a supercharger, you’ll 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 it’s also capable of towing skiers and wakeboarders, with surprisingly satisfying power out of the hole.

Compelling Features

2013 Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 iBR LeverSqueeze the brake lever and you can slow down the GTI SE 130 in a hurry.

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 brand’s Intelligent Brake & Reverse (iBR) system. Imagine using the reverse bucket to slow yourself at speed and you’ll get the basic version of iBR, except that here you don’t 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 won’t surge forward or back as thrust exits the pump. Pull the portside reverse lever and you’ll back away with control; squeeze the starboard-side throttle and you’ll move forward. It’s all very intuitive, meaning you’ll be using it quickly, and keeps your eyes on the water. iBR also makes docking a breeze.

2013 Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 GaugesThe gauges on the GTI SE 130 have been upgraded for 2013. You can now monitor the craft’s trim position.

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 HookWe’d prefer to see a dedicated tow eye instead of this basic U-bolt for a tow hook.

As always, there is the occasional miscue. On a Limited model, I’m surprised to see the lack of tilt steering. It would work well in concert with the craft’s sit-or-stand ergonomics, especially for taller riders who may feel cramped by the handlebar’s 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 Limited’s 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

Related Reading
2013 Sea-Doo Lineup Preview
2012 Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 Review
2012 Sea-Doo GTI 130 Review
2012 Sea-Doo GTS 130 Review