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2012 Yamaha VX Cruiser

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Product Description

Yamaha's VX Cruiser has vied for the very top spot in personal watercraft sales. In many ways, that says far more than any written review.

All The Right Moves

While initially targeted at a budget-conscious audience, the VX Cruiser quickly gained popularity beyond those buyers, enticing consumers of all budgets with a comfortable, stable hull platform, respectable power delivery, and the reliability that would allow it to run for seasons to come.

That hull is one key to the boat’s success. It features enough V forward to part the chop of rough water with ease, but softens that angle as you move aft to offer exceptional stability. That combination makes the boat attractive to both newcomers and experienced riders, as well as makes it a match for a wide variety of riding conditions. Even performance types will find something to like in this tamer powered machine. Slightly rounded chines allow the boat to easily roll into a turn, and produce that inside-lean handling that is so desirable. Crank the VX around in calmer waters and it displays an aggressive side that guarantees you won’t get quickly bored.

Handling in tight confines will also impress. While I’ll never be a fan of the reverse lever’s starboard location, the actual reverse function works well enough that I once took a VX backwards through a small buoy course. It’s a little awkward, but a little reach will allow you to use both reverse and throttle to maneuver.

What happens below the waterline means nothing if the ergonomics above are below par. Here, Yamaha brought the Cruiser concept to a more affordable model by including a tiered, bolstered seat that provides plenty of lower-back support for those longer rides. Its construction is “cut-and-sew,” meaning the individual pieces form nicely to the seat’s shape. That allows those bolsters to do their job while providing a more finished, upscale appearance. The overall shape is ideally sculpted for two, with grab handles located below for the aft passenger. A child will easily squeeze in the middle, but three adults will likely find it a snug fit.

From that saddle, the driver has good access to the controls. The footwells feature HydroTurf mats, and the handlebars work in conjunction with the seat to give the driver a nice “multiple contact point” feeling of control.


Old Reliable

The other component of the boat’s success is the reliable and fuel-efficient Yamaha MR-1 engine, a 1052cc four-cylinder that produces about 110 hp. That may seem low in initial comparison to the competition, but it’s on-the-water performance that counts. Here, the VX compares well with similar models, reaching a top speed just short of 54 mph and reaching the 30 mph mark in roughly three seconds. Low-end acceleration is adequate for most towing duties, with a smooth, linear pull off the bottom that will muscle skiers and boarders out of the water without yanking their arms off.

It’s an engine that’s proven reliable over many, many years, but also one that has shown itself to be quite fuel-efficient. At a 35 mph cruise it consumes less than four gallons per hour. That gives the craft impressive range. An added bonus is that it is optimized to run on regular pump gasoline. The combo contributes nicely to the boat’s already low cost of ownership.

Amenities are familiar, and focused mostly on ease of use. Overall stowage is just over 15 gallons, with the majority under the hood in an open tub. The glovebox is handy, and large enough to keep drinks close at hand. A remote transmitter can be used car-style to lock the craft against unauthorized use. That same transmitter can also retard the engine power to either maximize fuel efficiency or keep things tamer for less-experienced riders. Other standout features include a reboarding step, and well-executed mirrors. They’re not just for decoration, but actually allow the driver to keep tabs on what’s behind.

Top Of The Charts

Reflecting its wider audience, the craft currently comes in two more upscale color choices, a silver or blue metallic. Combined with the seat, they make the Cruiser look at home at any dock, whether it be the one at the multi-million dollar lakefront home or the loading one at work.


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