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Kawasaki has chosen to stick with a proven formula for 2015, returning a familiar lineup based almost entirely around the successful Ultra hull platform. Five of six models, including the Ultra 310X, Ultra 310X SE, Ultra 310LX, Ultra R, and Ultra LX, share the aggressive, big-water ready hull design. The sixth, the STX-15F, continues to leverage the long-running STX hull to carry Kawasaki’s most competitively priced model.
As the names suggest, the 310s are all based on the 1,498cc engine platform, a platform that was tweaked last year to improve durability and reliability and ended up adding 10 horses to the existing 300 hp base. It’s quick out of the hole, easily reaches beyond the magic 65 mph mark in good conditions, and has been proven a reliable and potent workhorse.
The models can be loosely broken up along performance and touring/recreational lines, with the Ultra 310X, Ultra 310R, and Ultra 310X SE handling the performance duties. The R model is the more aggressively targeted of the three, and features a motocross-style handlebar setup with crossbar pad, stainless steel handlebars, and multiple height and reach combinations. The seat also gets the race treatment, and features a slimmer shape that will allow riders to use their legs and transfer some of the strain of hard riding to the stronger muscles of the lower body. The seat material also features a Kawasaki KX motorcycle-inspired grippy texture. The 310X SE also enjoys a shaped seat, aggressive graphics, and pistol-style handlebar grips.
The luxury/touring side is highlighted by the 310 LX, the model that last year introduced a factory sound system to the personal watercraft market. Jetsounds features two water-resistant speakers built directly into the console, and allows users to house their phone or media player in a waterproof dry bag in the glovebox. A USB memory stick can also be used, and finds a home inside an aluminum cylinder in the same location. Audio controls, meanwhile, are housed within the handlebar pad. Most riders found the system worked surprisingly well.
The 310LX also gets a unique heat-resistant seat cover, which promises to stay cooler in the summer sun.
That leaves the Ultra LX and STX-15F to target the more budget-conscious or entry-level buyer. Without the supercharger, the Ultra LX should appeal to the touring crowd, who will appreciate its superior fuel economy and range. The STX-15F, meanwhile, remains the most competitively priced Kawasaki model, and should continue to attract buyers who desire a little more horsepower and handling than is typically found at this end of the market.
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