The Yamaha VX Deluxe is not a typical entry-level model, but more of a mid-level PWC, designed to carry up to three people. She’s still attractive to the first time buyer, due to her more relaxed handling characteristics, yet she is also able to perform and please. Yes, high technology always costs a bit more, but there’s a lot of bang for the buck in this ride. Let’s look at some of the features starting with technology.
This is an interesting feature and one of the most significant additions to personal watercraft we’ve seen. Here’s how it works. While the spring-loaded throttle trigger is in its normal position on the right side of the handlebars, the left-hand controls include another trigger that engages reverse.
With a simple squeeze of the left trigger, the VX Deluxe enters reverse mode. And thanks to the fact that the reverse bucket directs the thrust out of both sides, we also have the benefit of instant steering response. Keep in mind though, the reverse steering is backward -- left is right and right is left. This takes some getting used to at first, but it does come.
What Happens When We Need to Stop Right Now? What happens if we're running full speed and we grab that left-hand RiDE trigger? Think of it as anti-lock braking for the water. Intuitive technology adjusts the deceleration and reversing accordingly, so that the PWC will still stop in the most efficient manner, and without launching the driver over the handlebars while we remain in complete control. At moderate cruise speeds, the engine deceleration is moderate — when going fast, the deceleration is more pronounced. That makes the system not only intuitive but also a worthy safety feature.
What if there’s a new rider onboard, and he or she grabs both triggers at the same time, by mistake or out of sheer panic? The RiDE system still assumes that the vehicle needs to stop and works as if the left trigger only was activated. With this technology, stopping distance is reduced by 30%, according to Yamaha, and the vehicle remains in control throughout.
The TR-1 Engine
Yamaha powered the VX Deluxe with an all-new engine, the TR-1. This is a high output engine designed to replace the venerable MR1 that has proven itself for years in Yamaha watercraft. This latest model is more powerful, lighter and smaller than its predecessor, all of which translates to a better ride, regardless of the watercraft it’s installed in. Let’s look at some specifics of this new engine.
Smaller Engine, More Power
Yamaha dropped from 4-cylinders and 5-valves to 3-cylinders and 4-valves in the new TR1 design. Displacement dropped from 1051cc to 1049cc, which lowered the overall engine weight down to 160 lbs. (73 kg) from 216 lbs. (98 kg) -- a 25% reduction. Will these changes mean that performance suffers? Not at all.
Yamaha managed to increase the output of the TR1 by 12.7%, even while engineers specified a powerplant that is 40% smaller and 25% lighter! This means that the newest generation of WaveRunners, which includes the VX, is lighter, has better acceleration, better top speed, and more nimble handling. In addition, this new TR-1 has improved parts location for the oil filter, air filter, and service checkpoints making for better serviceability. Improved engine coatings lead to improved corrosion protection.
Cruise Assist/No Wake
On any WaveRunner, it’s hard not to just squeeze the throttle trigger to the stop and let it rip. It just begs to be done. But sometimes there’s a need to travel through No Wake areas, or just to cruise for longer distance to get where we want to go. Holding the trigger at a precise setting for an extended length of time is a bit inconvenient, so Yamaha came up with the Cruise Assist/No Wake buttons.
A single press and three-second hold of the No Wake button is answered by with three “beeps” and the VX Deluxe will set a forward cruise speed of approximately 5 mph. That's slow enough to produce no wake speeds but fast enough to get where we need to go and provide thrust for steering, without having to touch the throttle. To return to normal operations, just squeeze the trigger and No Wake mode is disengaged.
By the same token, bring the VX Deluxe up to a comfortable cruising speed, press “Set”, and squeeze the trigger fully. The Cruise Assist will engage and hold that speed regardless of the throttle position until it’s released. The cruise speed can be adjusted incrementally with the Up and Down arrows. This is a great feature, especially when towing a tube, or perhaps when two or more WaveRunners are cruising together.
The NanoXcel hull far surpasses fiberglass construction in terms of weight and strength. It starts out life as a flexible sheet. When put under extreme pressure, it becomes solid with extreme strength. In the case of the Yamaha WaveRunner, the pressure is actually a two-part molding press in the shape of the hull. When the two parts of the press come together on the sheet, the hull is formed and the solidifying takes place. Separate the press and out comes the hull.
This three-level contoured seat, a Yamaha innovation, is both comfortable and durable. It accommodates three with the rear seating also accommodating a rear-facing observer during towsports. And it’s all upholstered with a thicker marine grade vinyl that will have it looking good for the long haul.
Reboarding Deck and Step
The VX Deluxe is fully-compliant for tow sports with its three-person capacity and accommodation for a rear-facing observer. It’s even compliant for those states that require rearview mirrors for towing. As such it makes sense that the rear deck be large enough to serve as a staging area for getting onto the tube, and back aboard again. For those in the water, reboarding is as simple as flipping down the spring-loaded reboarding step and climbing aboard.
The VX Deluxe comes with 24.6 gallons (93 L) of storage in three separate compartments. The front compartment is the largest and can hold lots of gear. This is also where the required fire extinguisher gets dedicated storage. The hatch is held open with a clever hinge that locks when opened past a detent.
Just ahead of the driver is a smaller, but no less convenient storage compartment, much like a glove box. It’s ideal for housing smaller items such as sunscreen and vessel registration. It’s also large enough to hold a couple of water bottles and, in fact, comes with two beverage holders.
Under the seat is waterproof storage. This container has a screw top with rubber O-ring to keep items dry, and it’s also removable.
Yamaha added Hydro-Turf non-skid matting to all the decking to allow for better gripping in bare feet. It also remains cool to the touch in direct sunlight.
Adding a Tow Hook is a Great Idea. Maybe it’s not the slalom ski or wakeboard location of choice, but for something more pedestrian as tubing it’s spot on. Just under the rear of the seat is the tow ring.
Dual mirrors are molded into the front visor, allowing the rider to have better spatial awareness to the sides and stern quarters, in addition to being able to keep an eye on the end of the towline. This is a required feature in some states for all watercraft being used for towing, so we’re glad to see it here.
Here’s the area that makes the VX Deluxe so fun to own, it’s handling. There’s no need to be a trained performance rider on this model as it’s so forgiving to even the most novice of riders. There’s no jerky crank as we move the handlebars from one extreme to the other, but more of a relaxed transition from one side to the other. And the acceleration is just at the right level where it’s fun to blast off but not so fast that we’re thrown back and off. It’s just a fun ride that doesn’t want to end.
Pricing and Observations
The Yamaha VX Deluxe combines power, style, and value. MSRP is $10,399 out the door, and in our opinion, that represents a great value.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
(It's quick and FREE!)