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When you think about personal watercraft, most people try to find the perfect balance of performance, comfort and price. There are a lot of high-quality machines on the market, and two of them, the 2018 Kawasaki Ultra LX and Sea-Doo GTI Limited 155, have a lot to offer the PWC aficionado. How would you choose between the two? Let’s compare the numbers to see how they stack up.
Kawasaki has been in the business of personal watercraft performance longer than anyone, and it has a rich heritage of extreme quality and amazing power. The Ultra LX is powered by a 1,498cc DOHC, inline four-cylinder, four-stroke engine. This naturally-aspirated engine has four valves per cylinder and is fed through a 60mm throttle body direct fuel injection system. This beast of an engine pushes a 155mm axial-flow, single-stage jet pump with a three-blade, stainless-steel impeller. It can produce 957 pounds of thrust and scoot you across the water faster than you can say, “Let the good times roll.”
Sea-Doo is no slouch in the performance category either. BRP, the parent company of Sea-Doo, has been making things go fast for decades, and its engine division, Rotax, is legendary when it comes to making seriously big amounts of dependable horsepower. The GTI Limited is powered by a 1,494cc, inline three-cylinder, four-stroke Rotax engine. This naturally aspirated motor runs four valves per cylinder and uses BRP’s iTC intelligent throttle control drive-by-wire system that allows for three different software mapping systems within the throttle control. This system lets you have more control at the dock, and it gives you a Touring, Sport and ECO modes for different levels of power delivery and fuel economy.
The Learning Curve
You wouldn’t unleash all the power that either of these machines can produce on a new rider. Luckily, both manufacturers recognize the need to have limits. Kawasaki has its Smart Learning Operation (SLO) system which allows you, as the owner of the PWC, to set speed modes that fit the skill level of the rider. Going along with that, Kawasaki uses a five-way adjustable handlebar set up that moves to fit the rider and riding style of the person behind the controls.
Sea-Doo has a similar set up for the GTi. The iCONTROL key system lets the owner of the PWC set speed modes for whomever is riding, making it easier to slow down those inexperienced riders until they gain more experience behind the controls. This system is a digitally-encoded key system, so it also acts as an anti-theft system for your ride; a nice touch. Sea-Doo also has its Intelligent Braking and Reverse (iBR) system, which adds a braking system and allows the rider to engage forward, neutral and reverse all while keeping both hands on the controls. The iBR system has been recognized for increasing safety for the operator and passengers. Pretty cool stuff for sure.
So, Which One?
Both of these amazing machines have some pretty amazing features that can increase your enjoyment on the water. Kawasaki integrates its Smart Steering system that adjusts the steering response to the throttle position, making the steering more predictable and precise at whatever speed you’re going. It also has a 20.6-gallon fuel tank for longer adventures and a whopping 56 gallons of storage capacity under the hood for taking along gear and such. All this for an MSRP of $11.199.
The Sea-Doo GTI Limited 155 comes with the company’s Variable Trim System (VTS) that lets you make on-the-fly adjustments to the trim for better handling. This is a really nice feature that lets you adapt to water conditions, number of passengers or your own personal preferences. It comes with a 15.9-gallon fuel tank and 30.8 gallons of storage capability. The GTI Limited 155 has an MSRP of $12,499 and is available at a dealer near you.
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