2011 Yamaha VX Deluxe Review

A perennial best seller continues its winning ways

Yamaha has earned the right to brag about the VX line. Once thought of as simply a bargain-priced four-stroke, the craft has proven to be a popular, versatile, all-around performer. Not to mention a hit with consumers. Year after year the VX Deluxe has found itself a solid #1 or #2 on the sales charts.

Here’s why…

Reliable Power

For starters, Yamaha’s MR-1 engine is a reliable workhorse. A 1052cc, 20-valve, EFI four-cylinder, it pushes the VX Deluxe to about 54 mph, and covers the acceleration – testing 0-30mph standard in about three seconds. Perhaps even more important, it’s proven to be a tough mill riders can count on year after year. Critics may note it’s likely only rated around 110hp, but it keeps pace with Sea-Doo’s entry-level GTI, and still provides enough pulling power for towing duties.

It’s also extremely fuel-efficient, a big bonus now that gas prices are again creeping upwards. Expect to burn about 4 gallons per hour at a 35mph average speed. Yamaha also touts the fact the engine requires the least maintenance.

If you want to get even more fuel-efficient, activate the craft’s low-RPM mode, via the keyfob-style security remote. Originally designed as a way to tame the craft for the most novice riders, it’s now also billed as a fuel-savings device. Of course, it also remains a way to “lock” the craft against unauthorized use. Press a button and the ignition is de-activated so the engine can’t be started when you’re not around to supervise.

Fun, Predictable Hull

2011 Yamaha VX DeluxeIdeal for newcomers, the hull of the VX Deluxe tracks straight and true.

Power and reliability are one portion of this successful equation. The hull below is the other. Yamaha dubs it a “progressive, stepper draft V,” which simply means the degree of the hull’s bottom V changes. Up front, it’s sharp and deep, better for busting through choppy conditions. At the stern, it’s less dramatic in order to provide more stability. I’ve always touted a Yamaha’s ride in rough water. Yes, it may be a slightly stiffer ride at times, but the hull tracks straight and true, with never a surprise. In short, it’s predictable, a bonus on any craft but an absolute must on a model that appeals so strongly to newcomers. Still, it’s also a fun, maneuverable ride in calm conditions, able to carve a tight corner and display nimble reflexes.

That hull is mated to a top deck that also earns high marks. The seat is comfortable and supportive, and the overall ergonomics very good. The information display is easily read, with the necessities like speed, rpm, and fuel level clearly displayed. You’ll also get engine hours, and warning indicators for low fuel, oil pressure, and overheating.

2011 Yamaha VX DeluxeThe mirrors have been placed higher up on the craft, keeping them out of harm’s way.

Yamaha touted some changes in 2010, much of which were actually tweaks to prepare the boat to accept the larger engine in the new VXR and VXS models. The center of gravity changed slightly, which made the boat feel a tiny bit more playful. New sponsons, ride plate, and intake grate also made their debut. Slightly more obvious were changes to the cockpit, including more seat length, legroom for the driver, and a larger seat bolster to secure a passenger. The glove box, which features an insulating foam cupholder insert, also slightly grew.

A welcome change was the relocation of the craft’s rearview mirrors. Once low and susceptible to damage from docks, they are now higher up and closer to the info display. They’re also concave, to give you a slightly wide-angle view of the action behind. The lone miss in this slew of hits? Reverse is still relegated to the starboard side, which makes it difficult to manipulate reverse and throttle simultaneously. Not a biggie, but an obvious difference in philosophy from everyone else in the market.

Extra, Extra

2011 Yamaha VX DeluxeTowing is handled by a basic U-bolt, while a generous rear platform provides a good launching pad for swimmers.

What’s left? Lift the front compartment hatch and you’ll find just over 15 gallons of stowage space, enough for the necessities and then some. Fuel capacity is just shy of 16 gallons, which, given this engine’s miserly reputation, means you’ll be cruising for plenty of time between fuel stops. A basic U-bolt still handles towing duties.

And speaking of those duties, a rather spacious rear platform allows tow-ees ample room to gear up.

As to how the boat looks, two color choices are available for ’11 — Eclipse Black (with green accents) and Summit White (contrasted with an attractive blue). Retail price has gone up, as it has seemingly everywhere in the industry, to $8,999.

In short, most of what consumers have loved about the VX Deluxe for years remains. We expect it will have tougher competition this year thanks to Sea-Doo’s retooled GTI line, but we also expect it to remain a favorite — a reliable, fun, non-intimidating boat that will do its job for years to come.

That’s the essence of value.

2011 Yamaha VX Deluxe Specs
Length 126.8 inches
Beam 46.1 inches
Curb Weight 743 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 Eclipse Black; Summit White
Price $8,999

Related Reading
2011 Yamaha VXR Review
2011 Yamaha FZR Review
2010 Yamaha VX Sport Review