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If you made the best-selling PWC currently on the market, would you risk tinkering with it? If you’re Yamaha, that answer is obviously yes. The company has made some subtle changes to the VX platform for 2010, and the result is a good boat made even better.
To be honest, it’s hard to feel a dramatic difference between an old and new VX unless you ride the two side by side. As Yamaha Product Manager Scott Watkins explains, the boat’s entire center of gravity has basically been moved slightly aft, a move which results in a somewhat lighter, more playful feel on the water. Sponson location has been refined, and the boat features a new ride plate and intake grate design.
Other changes are more obvious, and reflect the fact that the VX has grown into far more than an introductory model. The VX now offers more seat length and driver legroom, as much as four inches for the latter. That should make the boat more comfortable for taller riders, as well as multiple passengers. A larger seat bolster is a nod to passengers comfort, both when filled to the boat’s three-passenger capacity and when cruising on extended trips. The glove box, complete with integrated foam cup holders, is also expanded to allow a little more gear to be kept at the ready.
One very functional improvement is a new hatch design for the forward storage compartment. Namely, it gets mirrors up and out of harm’s way, taking them away from their low-to-the-water previous position, which often proved susceptible to damage at the docks, and moving them higher up toward the info display. The reverse lever remains on the console’s starboard side, but it’s also been made larger, which makes it a little easier to manipulate.
Beyond those changes, however, the VX Deluxe is still very much the boat that has led the industry in sales for years. Remove the seat and you’ll find Yamaha’s familiar MR-1 engine, a 1052cc, 20-valve, EFI four-cylinder that no longer gets a horsepower rating, but most likely still churns out about 110 hp. That makes it the lowest horsepower offering on the market, but allows it to still keep pace with Sea-Doo’s entry-level offerings. The VX comfortably reaches the neighborhood of 54 mph and reaches 30 mph in a respectable three seconds.
Yamaha has always touted the engine’s fuel-consumption superiority. Hooked to my fuel-flow meter, the boat burned just over four gallons per hour at an average 35mph speed, making it both reasonable to buy and reasonable to use. A remote transmitter is used to lock the boat for security purposes (similar to a car), but can also activate a low rpm mode that not only makes the boat less intimidating to beginners, but also will further limit fuel usage.
The information display remains relatively simple and easy to read. Info noted includes speed, rpm, fuel level, and engine hours. Warning indicators keep tabs on fuel, low oil pressure, overheating, and the engine itself.
Though the rideplate, scoop grate, and sponsons have changed, the hull remains Yamaha’s “progressive, stepper draft V.” In English, that means the hull’s V gets progressively deeper, with a chop-busting deep V at the bow and a stability-enhancing, less dramatic V at the stern. As always, it’s fantastic in rough water, holding its course without being overly influenced by the conditions. It’s also stable, a necessity on an entry-level model. Yamahas have always been rough-water standouts, and the VX models are just one more example.
That redesigned front compartment lid still lifts to reveal ample storage below, now listed at 15.1 gallons. Fuel capacity is 15.9, meaning the VX should have excellent range given its miserly fuel consumption. A simple U-bolt handles tow duties; a fancier tow eye might seem warranted, but the current setup gets the job done.
Though the Deluxe, like all the VX models, benefits from updates, colors remain the same as last year — Eclipse Black or Neptune Blue. The price, however, has increased slightly, now coming in at $8,699 (a $400 increase over the ’09 model.)
I alluded to it before, and I’ll emphasize it again. Once pure entry-level models, the VX boats have grown to become a machine for everyman (and everywoman), combining good power, handling, and features for an affordable price.
In this economy, that’s a tough combination to compete with.
Related ReadingInside Yamaha's 2010 VX Deluxe2009 Yamaha VX Deluxe/VX Cruiser Review2010 Yamaha WaveRunner Lineup Preview2010 Yamaha FX HO/FX Cruiser HO ReviewAll Things Yamaha on PersonalWatercraft.com
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