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We couldn’t resist testing the Yamaha WaveRunner component that was part of our $100,000 Blue Meanie giveaway.



More power, more features, more technology - that seems to be the mantra for producers for personal watercraft (PWCs) these days. When it comes to Yamaha's flagship model, the FX Cruiser SHO, it's hard to imagine how these waterborne weapons can get any better.

TrailerBoat magazine had one of these beauties up for grabs as part of our Blue Meanie prize package, which means the lucky winner isn't just making room in the garage for the Yamaha PWC, but also a superb Holden VE SS Commodore ute to tow it, a Tom Tom GPS to get you to the water, and a Yamaha Grizzly ATV for winter, when the WaveRunner's more likely to be snugly tucked up under its cover. How good's that?

But let's get back to the focus of this review, that Yamaha WaveRunner. The FX Cruiser SHO is made for those who demand the best in their PWC. It's loaded with features and its 1.8lt supercharged engine delivers scintillating performance. There's also no shortage of luxury appointments - this is a PWC to satisfy the fussiest of enthusiasts.

The FX Cruiser SHO also boasts a number of innovative features, including NanoXcel hull technology, which, according to Yamaha, increases strength and reduces weight.

The "cruise assist / no wake" mode enables the rider to maintain consistent engine revs - a top feature for cruising through no wake zones, towing a skier, or travelling long distances (when it eliminates the hand fatigue associated with using the regular throttle). Digital and analogue instrumentation keep track of speed, air and water temperatures, fuel flow and more.

The reboarding step makes remounting a breeze, and there's a quick shift trim system to let you set up the desired ride for the conditions and payload. Other features include a remote security transmitter for disabling the ignition, adjustable steering, reverse thrust, traction control (no, really!), sumptuous seating for up to three and plenty of watertight storage.




With that supercharged 1.8lt donk under the hood it's no surprise that the FX Cruiser SHO virtually levitates on water. Tap the throttle and in a split second you're well on your way to speeds in excess of 54kts (100kmh), as the skin on your face tries its best to slide around to the back of your head.

But the FX Cruiser SHO isn't just about the speed - it's about having the necessary grunt to take heavier loads and still be able to yank a skier or wakeboarder out of the hole. Throughout its entire rev range, this WaveRunner's performance is utterly exhilarating, yet with features such as cruise control and trim you can set it up for a super-sweet ride across a wide range of conditions.

In a high speed machine like this, hull design is critical. What amazes me is how you can cram 381kg of weight into a hull that's just 3.37m long and 1.23m wide. These hulls maintain incredible stability and afford synapse-frying response, no matter what speed you're pulling.

Outright engine performance counts for nothing on a PWC unless you've got the agility and handling to harness it, and here, once again, the FX Cruiser SHO delivers. A trait that seems to run across the WaveRunner range concerns the soft and forgiving ride they exhibit through turns. The FX Cruiser SHO is no exception - it doesn't bite hard in turns like some PWCs, but rather slides. This is a good thing, particularly if you're a newcomer to PWCs, and a good safety feature overall.




The difference between Yamaha's entry-level WaveRunners and its flagship model is evident in the powerplant and additional features of the FX Cruiser SHO. Yes, there's a fair difference in price too, but if you're going to be spending plenty of high-speed time on the water, it's worth shelling out the extra.

The FX Cruiser SHO is a whack of fun for the whole family, but it could easily be kitted out to suit the avid fisho, too. There's also the benefit that, compared to a full-size boat, they're an easy one-man operation to get into and out of the water, and of course they're light enough to be towed by a standard vehicle. I sure do envy the lucky person who received that telephone call, telling them they've just won the magnificent Blue Meanie prize.




On the plane...

Superb handling and performance

Impressive payload capability

Quality finish



Dragging the chain...

Very little as this is Yamaha's flagship









Price as tested: $22,919

Options fitted: Nil




Type: WaveRunner PWC

Material: NanoXcel deck and hull

Length: 3.37m

Beam: 1.23m

Weight: 381kg




People: 3

Storage: 90lt

Fuel: 70lt




Make: Yamaha

Type: Supercharged, DOHC, four-valve, four-stroke

Displacement: 1812cc

Cooling system: Water-cooled




Yamaha Motor Australia



Originally published in TrailerBoat #271. 



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