Designed to be fun and affordable, the all-new WaveRunner EX series from Yamaha is a PWC antidote to the high cost of boating. With a base price of just $6,599, the WaveRunner EX will be an attractive alternative to buyers who might otherwise be shopping Craig’s List for a pre-owned watercraft—with the added bonus that a new WaveRunner EX will come with a warranty and a Yamaha dealer. Get your first look at the EX series, right here.
The three-model EX series will replace the V1/Sport in the 2017 WaveRunner line. The 10-foot three-inch long EX is about six inches shorter and 100 pounds lighter than the V1, and EX models will be priced about $1,200 less than a comparable V1. The V1 is a good boat but it’s an old design that uses tooling originally created for the previous-generation WaveRunner VX. The EX was designed specifically for the new lightweight Yamaha TR-1/HO engine. For EX duty, the compact, three-cylinder TR-1 is slightly detuned from the 130 HP TR-1 HO, to about 100 HP, power that’s a good match for the size and weight of the EX platform. To fit under the EX deck, the TR-1 has a smaller exhaust manifold and muffler than the TR-1 HO, which is used in the VX and some Yamaha sport boats. The EX also features a compact 144mm jet pump that weighs about four pounds less and is almost five inches shorter than the 155mm pump used in the V1.
The EX hull and deck are smooth and glossy, formed with the same sheet-molding compound (SMC) composite process used to build other WaveRunner models, although the EX is not formed with the lightweight NanoXcel material Yamaha uses for its premium models. To reduce weight, the EX has a narrow deck and slim-line one-piece seat that will be easy for most riders to straddle. The molded plastic seat base stays attached to the deck to keep the seat lighter, and can be removed from the deck for engine service after loosening six screws. Lift-out bins for under-seat stowage and a fire extinguisher also provide access to the engine for basic service, such as checking or changing the oil. There’s a shallow stowage bin under a cowl hatch that’s really only deep enough to hold some dock lines. The glove box, however, is quite wide and deep and can hold several water bottles. Instrumentation is provided by a small LCD screen located below the non-adjustable handlebars. All EX models are rated for three passengers or 485 pounds and so in most states can be used for tow sport when equipped with mirrors. I did not have a chance to try an EX with a passenger, but I’m guessing this hull will be a little less stable fully-loaded than the larger VX, which has a passenger capacity of 529 pounds.
With my 185 pounds on the seat, a pre-production EX zipped right up to a top speed of about 50 MPH. Power seems perfectly matched to the size and weight of the running surface, and the EX does not feel small. In terms of size and performance, the EX takes me back about 15 years, to an era before PWCs got really big, really fast, and really expensive. However, the EX benefits from the latest design technology. This hull delivers a soft ride in lake chop and carves like a devil on smooth water with no hint of skidding or spinning. The TR-1 engine is smooth and quiet, and Yamaha says it delivers about 20 percent better fuel economy than the MR-1 engine it replaces. At wide-open throttle (6800 RPM) the EX burns about 7.9 gallons per hour. Couple that with a very generous 13.5-gallon fuel tank, and you’ll be riding awhile between fill-ups.
The WaveRunner EX will be offered in three flavors. The base EX has just the basics. The EX Sport ($7,599) adds manual (cable-operated) reverse thrust, a reboarding step, mirrors and more graphics with a choice of black or white base colors. The EX Deluxe ($8,599) features the Yamaha RiDE electronic reverse/brake system, blue or silver metallic base paint color, and a two-tone seat. The competition at this price point is the 442-pound Sea-Doo Spark, which for 2016 is priced at about $6,499 with a three-up seat and the 90 HP Rotax 900 HO ACE engine, and $7,400 with the Sea-Doo iBR electronic brake/reverse system.
The WaveRunner EX deserves the full attention of anyone looking for a full dose of PWC fun, at a price that does not clear out the recreation budget.
For information, visit Yamaha.
|Passenger capacity||3/485 lbs.|
|Stowage capacity||7.7 gallons|
|Fuel capacity||13.5 gal.|