If Kenny Powers ever settles down and starts himself a family, this is the aquatic hog he’ll be rocking. It seats three, hauls ass, turns on a dime, and gets more than seven miles per gallon.
The 2016 FX Cruiser SVHO is Yamaha’s top-of-the-line WaveRunner, and it’s a crazy balance of power and grandeur. According to Yamaha, its 250-horsepower, fuel-injected, four-cylinder engine gives it a top speed of 70mph. Its hearty 1,812cc of torque gets it off the line quickly, too. All of that makes this beast much more than a lake-faring minivan, even if it has features like cruise control, comfy seats, and cupholders.
But the piece de resistance is the SVHO’s dual-throttle system, which allows for more precise handling than you’d expect on the water. On the right handlebar is the forward throttle. If you’re at a standstill, the left-handle throttle throws it into reverse. When you’re cruising along, that left throttle acts as a brake. You could probably parallel-park this thing in a space not much longer than its 11.7-foot frame.
Brakes on a water-motorcycle aren’t exactly new. In 2009, Sea-Doo introduced a groundbreaking system called Intelligent Brake and Reverse (IBR) that put similar controls right there on the handlebars. Yamaha’s system sounds a lot like it, but according to this Personal Watercraft review of both systems, this new dual-throttle system allows for smoother braking and tighter handling, especially in reverse. Top-of-the-line models from Kawasaki and Sea-Doo have the Yamaha FX Cruiser SVHO beat in terms of raw horsepower, but the Yamaha has significantly higher engine displacement, and according to the pro reviews, its handling is superior.
Yamaha also claims it’s more fuel-efficient than anything in its class, mostly because it’s lighter. At 836 pounds, you can’t exactly tuck it under your arm like a Boogie Board, but everything’s relative. A full 18.5-gallon tank of premium unleaded gas can translate to more than 100 miles of water travel, just as long as you’re not gunning it the whole time.
Summer’s on the way, so it’s time to start deciding whether to buy one of these bad-boys or a 2016 Honda Fit. At $15,899, both conveyances are roughly the same price.