2013 Yamaha VX Cruiser Review

Long live the king!

Story by Jeff Hemmel, Photography by Yamaha, Nov. 06, 2012
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It seems only fitting that one of the first reviews for 2013 is of the Yamaha VX Cruiser. After all, this is the single most popular personal watercraft on the market, and has been nearly since its introduction. The fact that it returns for í13 relatively unchanged doesnít change that fact, but rather reinforces the contention that the VX Cruiser is simply a well-made, focused, popular machine.

One that has earned many a consumerís money over the years...and just may be worthy of earning yours.

The Heart Of The Matter

2013 Yamaha VX Cruiser Action

The core of any successful PWC is a reliable, workhorse of an engine, and the VX Cruiserís 1052cc, Yamaha MR-1 certainly fits the bill. In these days of pricey petrol, itís incredibly fuel efficient, sipping as little as four gallons an hour at a comfortable 35 mph cruise. Like all Yamahas, itís also designed to run on regular 87-octane fuel. In short, itís one of, if not the least expensive PWC to operate over the course of a season.

Yes, you would be right to assume that engine is on the tamer side. Though manufacturers have now tossed horsepower numbers to the wayside, the VX engine produces approximately 110hp. Thatís less than all of its competition, but the results that matter are on the water. Here, the VX tops out at about 54 mph, while recording 0-30 times in the neighborhood of three seconds. No, you wonít be winning any drag races, but you will be comfortably handling the basics, including pulling friends or family skiing, wakeboarding, or tubing. Youíll also feel more comfortable handing the boat over to newcomers or younger riders, as the response is manageable. Need more power? Better look elsewhere...this is obviously not your category.

2013 Yamaha VX Cruiser Action Right Turn

Complementing the power is a versatile hull design. Forward, it features the sharper deadrise necessary to bust through choppy waters, long a Yamaha trademark. As you follow that angle aft, it softens somewhat to enhance stability. Chines are gently rounded to allow the boat to roll intuitively into a turn with a gentle inside lean. Crank the bars hard, however, and those with performance leanings will find a welcome surprise. While designed not to get you into trouble, the VX hull can actually carve a relatively tight, aggressive turn. This type of versatility is key for beginners, who will be best served by a boat that can grow with their skill level, rather than hold them back.

Low-speed handling is enhanced by an effective reverse. Its starboard location makes it difficult to operate throttle simultaneously, but the effect on the water is to put the craft where you intend it to go. The lever can also be feathered to mimic a neutral setting.

Letís Cruise

2013 Yamaha VX Cruiser Seat

Like other manufacturers, Yamaha is well aware of the fact that introductory-priced boats donít always go to introductory minded riders. Thatís why price-point boats like the VX have become more upscale over the years. The Cruiser concept centers mostly around a change in seat styling. The seat is tiered to allow passengers a slightly raised perspective, as well as keep them from crowding together. Each segment is also nicely bolstered with back support to take the strain and discomfort out of extended rides. I find it ideal for two adults, or two adults and a child. Three adults are certainly possible, but not the most practical for any length of time.

Driver and passengers will appreciate real Hydro-Turf mats in the footwells. They provide superior traction and comfort. Yamahaís handlebar position, though not adjustable, is also well suited for a variety of rider heights.

2013 Yamaha VX Cruiser Storage

Whether itís to the water or not, people inevitably bring stuff. Any gear brought along for the ride can be stowed in one of several areas. The largest is the tub under the bow. Thereís also a glovebox, with cupholders. Total capacity is 15.1 gallons. Other features that receive the nod of approval include truly usable rearview mirrors, a handy reboarding step, and a basic ski-tow eye.

Security is handled by Yamahaís familiar remote. Like a car remote, it can lock the craftís ignition with the push of a switch. It can also govern the craftís power to make the boat safer for younger, inexperienced riders, or even save fuel. Itís cool, but just donít lose it, as it doesnít physically attach anywhere on the craft.

The Sum Of All Parts

The last upscale touch is found in the Cruiserís paint scheme. Itís an attractive metallic, in either silver or a ďyachtĒ blue. It gives the boat a finished appearance thatís in keeping with many of the pricier PWC on the water.

2013 Yamaha VX Cruiser Right Side

And speaking of price, thatís one last piece of good news for the new year. Manufacturerís suggested retail remains the same as it was in 2012 Ė $9,599.

Obviously Miss Popularity is intent on keeping her title...

2012 Yamaha VX Cruiser Specs
Length 128.7 inches
Beam 46.1 inches
Dry Weight 750 lbs
Engine Four-cylinder DOHC EFI
Displacement 1,052 cc
Bore and Stroke 76mm x 58mm
Compression Ratio 11.4:1
Rated Horsepower 110 (estimated)
Fuel Capacity 15.9 gal.
Combined Stowage Capacity 15.1 gal.
Colors Silver Metallic or Yacht Blue Metallic
Price $9,599

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