Since it debuted in 2005, the three-passenger Yamaha VX has appealed to pragmatists like myself. It offers great reliability and enough power to hit 50 or pull a boarder, and is above all an affordable way to get out on the water. If you can live without blistering top speed or the latest gizmos, a Yamaha VX is probably all the watercraft you really need.
What’s new for 2010 is a redesigned deck (the portion of the craft above the bond line that joins it to the hull) that offers more comfort and convenience for the pilot and passengers. A revised seat design and footwells give the driver a very significant four additional inches of leg room, and both the instrument display and the mirrors have been raised slightly to make each easier to see. Passengers get reshaped and thicker seat bolsters for enhanced comfort. The area of the swim platform is increased by about 15 percent, and because the seat is longer, the rear grab handle is now easier to reach when reboarding from the water. Finally, the new deck incorporates a larger glove box with 55 percent more interior space.
Technical changes include a revised rideplate, intake grate and sponsons that let the VX bank into a turn at a slightly greater angle. In the engine bay, key electrical components have been moved off the engine and onto a new bulkhead, where they are better-isolated from heat and vibration, a change intended to enhance reliability. And finally, Yamaha engineers have recalibrated the engine to improve fuel economy by a claimed 10 percent at both cruising speeds and wide-open throttle.
As in previous years, Yamaha will offer the VX in three flavors: entry-level VX Sport ($7,999), better-equipped VX Deluxe ($8,699) and the touring-oriented VX Cruiser ($8,999). Each is powered by the same 1052cc fuel-injected, four-cylinder engine that makes about 110-hp. That’s the least-powerful engine in this class, but with a top speed of about 53 mph, the VX offers performance that’s similar to the 130-hp Sea-Doo GTi SE ($8,999).
I had a chance to give a 2010 VX Cruiser a short test ride in August. Like the VX Deluxe, the Cruiser has dual mirrors and a remote security key fob that also enables a low-rpm mode, used to tone down performance for beginners – neither is a feature of the VX Sport. The Cruiser adds a boarding ladder and bolstered touring seat, and as soon as I settled into that deep bucket I noticed the improved leg room. I’m over six feet tall and always felt just a little cramped on the original VX, especially when confined to the Cruiser seat. On the 2010 VX, I never felt too close to the handlebars, and had plenty of room to stretch out my legs. The VX remains responsive, nimble and fun to drive. There’s enough power here to blow out the cobwebs, but not so much that you wouldn’t consider turning the VX over to a well-instructed beginner. I can’t vouch for the improved fuel economy – we’ll set up a test to compare the new boat to a 2009 model in the future.
The essence of the VX remains unchanged. This boat has always delivered value and economy - now it has more leg room.