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It’s to be expected. After putting a lot into the line in recent years, including the heralded RiDE system and a total new introductory lineup just last year, the company has earned the right to sit back for a season before once again ramping up the offerings in 2019. New paint and graphics are the only notable change.
Besides, the Yamaha product line is arguably the strongest it’s ever been. In an industry that’s already enjoying an 11% bump in the October 1, 2016 – July 31, 2017 sales period, the brand is enjoying its own impressive 18% increase in sales, with the VX and EX lines proving particularly strong.
Here’s a recap of the upcoming 2018 lineup…as well as a few tidbits gleaned from a factory tour provided to members of the press in mid-August.
Introduced for the 2017 model year, the EX series continues to consist of three boats – the EX, EX Sport, and EX Deluxe. All shorter in length, lighter in weight, and more affordable than any three-passenger model the company has offered before, EX models are powered by a slightly tamed version of the 1,049cc three-cylinder TR-1 engine, a compact powerplant with exceptional fuel economy.
Hulls and decks are formed from familiar SMC fiberglass, and perform equally well at touring, towing, and cruising. The EX model is the base offering, starting at $6,699. The EX Sport adds manual reverse, mirrors, a boarding step and additional graphics for $7,699. The EX Deluxe ($8,699) increases the offerings with the electronic RiDE system, metallic paint, and a two-tone seat with more contoured cut-and-sew construction.
Now the midrange offering in the 2018 Yamaha WaveRunner Lineup, the VX models continue to shine in sales. The VX ($9,599), VX Deluxe ($10,399), VX Cruiser ($10,699), and VX Limited ($11,099) all utilize the TR-1 engine High Output engine; the VX Cruiser HO ($11,299) opts for the high output version of Yamaha’s familiar naturally-aspirated 1.8-liter. All feature RiDE, a system that enhances low-speed control with dual throttles for forward and reverse, as well as the ability to rapidly decelerate at speed.
The Cruiser and Limited models feature Yamaha’s tiered cruiser seat, with added back support for touring enthusiasts as well as those who just enjoy a little more locked-in feel, and both cruise control and no-wake mode. The Limited adds a watersports-oriented package that includes a color-matched inflatable tube and towrope, tube inflator, tube holder, rope bag and dry bag. In addition, the boat gets a 12V plug for electronics, unique colors and graphics, four pull-up cleats, ski tow eye, and 3D Yamaha logo.
All but the base model upgrade hull construction to the lighter weight NanoXcel material, increasing the power-to-weight ratio.
Performance Race Series
The GP 1800, VXR and SuperJet all return as the performance cornerstones of the 2018 Yamaha WaveRunner lineup.
The GP 1800 ($13,999) has quickly made its mark. Combining the Super Vortex High Output variation of the supercharged 1.8-liter motor with a second-generation NanoXcel 2 hull, the craft is the epitome of power-to-weight ratio. The hull’s defined strakes, soft bow chines and race-proven keel design combine to give the craft a lean-in, aggressive ride that arguably make the craft the hardest-cornering model currently available. The RiDE system and electronic trim round out the offerings. One new addition? A “sticky” seat material to give riders better grip.
The VXR ($11,999) continues to go the naturally aspirated route, using that same 1,812cc engine but foregoing the supercharger and opting for the first generation of NanoXcel. Otherwise, it’s like the GP 1800 Lite, also offering both RiDE and electronic trim.
The SuperJet ($8,499) also returns. Shorter and lighter than the Kawasaki standup that has reentered the market, the craft is a favorite of freestyle and surf riders. The 701cc engine remains the lone two-stroke on the market.
At the top of the food chain in the 2018 Yamaha WaveRunner lineup, the FX series continues to include the FX HO ($13,299), FX Cruiser HO ($13,799), FX SVHO ($15,299), FX Cruiser SVHO ($15,999) and FX Limited SVHO ($16,899). All feature RiDE, and five-position electronic trim control. The Limited SVHO, Cruiser SVHO and FX SVHO feature the second-generation NanoXcel 2 construction in hulls, decks, and liners. Yamaha notes the switch to Nano2 alone reduces weight of an SVHO model by 46 pounds.
SVHO models receive the supercharged Super Vortex High Output variation of the 1,812cc engine, paired with a 160mm pump and top-loader intake grate. RiDE, Cruise Assist and No Wake modes are standard issue, as is the remote transmitter that both prevents theft and activates a low RPM mode. Theater-style tiered seating highlights all Cruiser models, as well as the Limited. All offer tilt steering and multiple storage areas, including wet stowage off the aft platform.
Limited model extras include a single-passenger color-matched inflatable, towrope, inflator pump, color-matched cover with integrated solar panel battery charger, and 12V outlet located in the glovebox.
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