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After getting a major overhaul last year, we didn’t expect the 2020 Yamaha FX Limited SVHO to be changed. But there was indeed a notable tweak that made an excellent flagship craft even better.
Engine: Four-cylinder 1,812cc Supercharged/Intercooled
Fuel Capacity: 18.5 gal.
Stowage Capacity: 44 gal.
Seating Capacity: 3
Price: Starting at $17,599
In 2019, the top deck was completely made over, as was the hull, revealing a craft that not only looked different in the showroom but also performed differently on the water. Closer inspection revealed even more. Storage was increased in both the forward tub and glovebox, footwell drains were added to prevent puddling, low speed power delivery was tweaked for even greater control and a cool, new touchscreen display was an industry first.
And then there were the additional features that made their debut. Yamaha jumped into the music business with cool, EcoXGear speakers and revealed a new, industry-standard mount system that could also accommodate a fish finder, action camera and other accessories.
With so much work being done in 2019 you might expect the 2020 version to retain the status quo. Yamaha, however, clearly wanted to tinker with at least one piece of the puzzle. Time to hear all about it.
Last year’s EcoXGear speakers were cool, but there were a few elements where Yamaha clearly felt it could improve. One was the styling. The 2020 version of the FX Audio Package (included as part of the Limited’s Accessory Tech Package) replaces the generic (and generic-looking) EcoXGear speakers with models now exclusive to Yamaha. They’re clearly more stylish, fitting in at the dash like included features rather than add-ons.
They also don’t use the RAM mount system and steal a cupholder for the mounting “puck” base used in 2019. Now, cupholders are retained and speakers feature a cup-shaped appendage off the bottom that slides right into place. A spring-loaded pull pin locks the speakers in position; the pin also allows speakers to be angled to a wide variety of positions so that they can point directly at driver and passengers underway, or onto the dock later. Speakers can also be taken out and carried to the beach (or virtually anywhere else) to keep the tunes going.
Tech specs? Speakers on the 2020 Yamaha FX Limited SVHO feature an IP67 waterproof rating (able to withstand submersion up to a meter deep for 30 minutes). They’re also shock resistant, float so that submersion is unlikely and include a 3-watt, 4-inch subwoofer with a separate tweeter for dynamic frequency response. Rechargeable batteries promise 15+ hours of playtime. Speakers pair right out of the box, stream music up to 100 feet away from a Bluetooth paired smarthphone, and feature an EcoTalk button that lets riders access Siri or Google Voice.
RAM mounting hardware hasn’t gone away. It’s still included with the Limited and offers a convenient way to add a GPS fish finder (with thru-hull transducer), GoPro or similar action camera, and virtually any other accessory you might wish to include that uses the standard.
Now back to all that was great about the 2019 updates.
The new hull (fabricated from Yamaha’s lightest NanoXcel 2 material) was heavily influenced by the GP design. It turns on the proverbial dime with absolute precision, showcasing an intuitive inside lean while still displaying Yamaha’s trademark stability and rough-water prowess. A top-loader scoop grate improves handling, in part by better loading the pump. Squeeze the throttle and the supercharger with intercooler clearly boosts the performance of the already sizable, 1812cc engine. Acceleration is flagship brutal out of the hole. Top speed easily reached the benchmark 65mph plus 2mph leeway (in short, 67mph).
Cruise control and no-wake mode on the 2020 Yamaha FX Limited SVHO continue to offer convenient ways to maintain speeds. As to that low-speed handling mentioned earlier, no-wake mode can be adjusted faster or slower, mostly to make it easier to accommodate for current or when trying to ride side by side with a friend on an adjacent craft. An ultra slow mode can be activated for those times when you really want more reaction time, like at the ramp (or a crowded restaurant with lots of onlookers waiting for a mishap). Added power can also be supplied in reverse to make it easier to get the craft off a trailer.
The handiest feature, however, continues to be RiDE. By essentially making forward and reverse operated by two different throttles, Yamaha adds a lot of intuitive, low-speed control already. RiDE can also be applied at speed to rapidly slow the craft.
In terms of creature comforts, storage on the 2020 Yamaha FX Limited SVHO is impressive. The bow compartment features 30.3 gallons of space, as well as a Limited package addition of a removable, soft-sided cooler that secures into a designated position. The glovebox holds 4.65 gallons more and is watertight to protect your valuables. Aft, the familiar fast-access trunk is ready for wet items, like dock lines, towrope or mask and snorkel.
That touchsreen display is just as cool in 2020 as it was in 2019. The 4.3-inch display allows room for plenty of info, including the requisite speed, rpm, trim position and fuel level. It also features an access code that locks the ignition to prevent unauthorized use, as well as the ability to set acceleration profiles for different uses (like towing), govern top speed for young or novice riders, and monitor real-time fuel consumption. It does even more so play with it. You can even change the color to your liking.
Limited extras include the aforementioned Accessory Tech Package (speakers, GPS/fishfinder, RAM mount hardware), Accessory Tow Package (color-matched single passenger inflatable, tube inflator and 12-volt outlet, towrope, tube holder, towrope bag, two fenders, and matching cover), and pull-up cleats.
Easily overlooked but appreciated? A deep boarding step with an actual flat step that makes deepwater boarding both easy and far more comfortable on bare feet.
Competition for the 2020 Yamaha FX Limited SVHO? Again, it’s the Sea-Doo GTX Limited 300 ($17,199). Sea-Doo offers similar size, performance, handling and an electronic reverse/braking system. Extras include a permanently mounted Bluetooth audio system, Limited features (cover, storage organizer, dry bag, safety kit), removable aft saddle section and LinQ accessory mounts to attach additional gear (cooler, gas caddy, storage) to the aft platform.
Both are flagship craft with extras galore.
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