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Brief Summary

The Yamaha VXR is the top-of-the-line in Yamaha’s VX series with a normally aspirated 1.8-liter high output engine. For 2019, Yamaha added race inspired features, including a top-loading intake, a newly designed ride plate, grippy seat, and NanoXcel 2 construction that reduced the weight of the VXR by 30-lbs. (14 kg). It is set up for towing with a tow ring mounted below the aft most seat. The Yamaha VXR is a high-performance machine that is fun for the whole family.

Key Features

  • 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder, 4-stroke, High Output Yamaha marine engine
  • 1 to 3-persons rider capacity
  • 24.6-gallons (93.1 L) of storage capacity
  • NanoXcel®2 lightweight hull and deck
  • Reverse RiDE™ with traction control
  • Dual sideview mirrors


Length Overall 131.9'' / 3.35 m
Beam 48.0''
1.22 m
Dry Weight 739 lbs.
335 kg
Draft N/A
Deadrise/Transom N/A
Max Headroom open
Bridge Clearance N/A
Person Capacity 3
Fuel Capacity 18.5 gal.
70 L
Water Capacity N/A


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Engine Options

Tested Engine Currently no test numbers
Std. Power 1 x 1812cc 4-cylinder, 4-stroke, 1.8L High Output Yamaha Marine Engine
Opt. Power Not Available

Captain's Report

Contents of Report

Yamaha VXR running running

The “R” in the Yamaha VXR moniker is for “race inspired.” Yamaha claims that the VXR has been the racing leader in the naturally-aspirated class since its introduction.

Yamaha VXR running

Yamaha has upgraded the VXR with their proprietary NanoXcel 2 construction technology which makes it lighter and stronger.


Yamaha has combined their knowledge and experience into making the VXR a high performance, normally aspirated personal watercraft in the industry. It is intended for thrill seekers who are experienced operators, but when used with reasonable attention to passenger comfort it can be a machine for the whole family. The Yamaha VXR offers class leading performance and race inspired features for owners to enjoy exhilarating experiences and to claim bragging rights on the water.

Yamaha VXR running

Yamaha has WaveRunner models ranging from economical to performance racers. The Yamaha VXR falls into the race inspired performance category, but made for fun.

Major Features

1.8-Liter, 4-Cylinder, 4-Stroke High Output Jet Drive. Yamaha’s largest naturally-aspirated engine.

Digital Display. The center mounted digital display with speed readout, hour meter, fuel level, and other basic engine functions.

Race Inspired Seat. Textured and bolstered for grip and comfort when making hard turns.

Race Inspired Intake and Ride Plate. The 2019 VXR features a new race inspired, top-loading intake grate and newly designed ride plate for improved performance.

Lighter and Stronger Hull and Deck. The 2019 VXR’ hull and deck is built with Yamaha’s exclusive NanoXcel 2 construction technology making it 30-lbs. (14 kg) lighter.

Deceleration, Neutral and Reverse Control. Yamaha’s RiDE system allows the operator to switch from forward to neutral to reverse, resulting in easier deceleration, reversing and docking.

Integrated Fold Down Re-Boarding Step. Yamaha built in a wide drop-down re-boarding step to make it even easier to get onboard.

Two-Tone Deck Mats. Custom cut rubberized non-skid deck mats add function and comfort when riding.


Yamaha VXR running

The newly designed top-loading intake grate allows a higher in-flow, creating greater thrust from the water-jet pump.

The Yamaha VXR has a length of 131.9” (3.35 m) and a beam of 48.0” (1.22 m). With an empty weight of 739 lbs. (335 kg), a full tank of fuel, one person onboard, and 50 lbs. (23 kg) of gear, there was an estimated weight of 800 lbs. (363 kg).

Top Speed. With a single Yamaha 1.8-liter naturally aspirated High Output turning the internal impeller jet-drive, the test boat reached a top speed of 66.8 mph (107.6 kph) at 7400 rpm.

Best Cruise. The best cruise came in at 4000 rpm running at 20.08 mph (33.4 kph). At that speed, the 2.6 gph (9.84 lph) translated to 8.1 miles per gallon (3.31 kpl) and a range of 135 statute miles (218 km) while still holding back a 10% reserve of the boat’s 18.5-gallon (70 L) total fuel capacity.

Acceleration and Conditions

Yamaha VXR acceleration


Yamaha VXR running

The Yamaha VXR WaveRunner has race inspired performance and demonstrated an exhilarating ride.

At Speed. Although the Yamaha VXR has a naturally aspirated engine, the 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder, 4-stroke high performance engine accelerated onto plane virtually instantly, going from a standing start to 30 mph in 1.7 seconds. Influenced by modifications by those who race the VXR, Yamaha upgraded the intake grate to a top-loading intake that allows water to more readily enter the jet-drive causing more thrust. Yamaha has the steering dialed-in and the seat keeps the rider in place during more aggressive maneuvers, which are easily achievable.

Low Speed Maneuvering. Equipped with the Yamaha RiDE system, the Yamaha VXR decelerates quickly with a flick of the left-hand trigger putting it in neutral and reverses when the left hand trigger is subsequently squeezed, rapidly slowing the VXR. The RiDE system also allows for easy handling in low-speed maneuvering, such as docking. The reverse-bucket drops down providing lateral thrust. The lateral thrust acts like side thrusters.

Yamaha VXR running

Shown is the Yamaha VXR reversing. Note the thrust coming from the sides.

Yamaha VXR ride system

The Yamaha VXR’s RiDE system allows the operator to decelerate rapidly when necessary.

Yamaha VXR steering

With the VXR in reverse, the operator steers from the bow by turning the handlebars which vectors the thrust as shown above, making low-speed maneuvering much easier.

Features Inspection

Yamaha VXR

The Yamaha VXR WaveRunner is designed for aggressive performance and can accommodate up to three-riders, including the operator.


The stern of the Yamaha VXR is designed for easy boarding from in the water with custom-cut, rubberized non-skid that is easy on bare feet. The non-skid surface also deters the heat from the sun. Further back is a flip down re-boarding step, making it easier to re-board the Yamaha VXR without having to climb and pull oneself out of the water.

Yamaha VXR mats

The custom-cut mats are a significant addition to the comfort level on the Yamaha VXR. Shown is the re-boarding step being depressed into the lowered position.

Yamaha VXR reboarding ladder

Here the re-boarding stem is fully depressed. The step returns to the out of the way, stowed position automatically.

Captain’s Note. A handle at the base of the seat, like on Yamaha’s FX Limited SVHO model, would make boarding even easier.

Side Decks

The side decks on the Yamaha VXR also have custom-cut, rubberized non-skid for comfort and security.

Yamaha VXR side decks

The side decks taper on the Yamaha VXR from the stern to the footwells.


The level of comfort and security that Yamaha has achieved on the Yamaha VXR WaveRunner begins with the seats. The operator’s seat is more like a saddle when you sit in it and not on it. The textured upholstery and wrap around saddle backs hold all three riders securely.

Yamaha VXR seat

There is a deep seat for the operator culminating in a support that holds the operator in place. The riders benefit from the textured upholstery and rear wraparound handle.

Yamaha VXR handle

When facing forward, the rider can securely hang onto the wraparound handle as a support.

Yamaha VXR observer

When engaging in tow-sports, the required observer can securely face backwards while holding onto the handle.

Yamaha VXR engine

The 1.8-liter HO engine and jet-drive are powerful enough to accommodate tow sports. Yamaha provided a tow rope connection under the aft end of the seat.


The Yamaha VXR has 24.6-gallons (93 L) of storage capacity situated throughout several separate compartments.

Forward-most compartment is the largest of these compartments. It can be conveniently opened from the operator’s position. This is a relatively large space which could easily accommodate a soft side cooler.

Yamaha VXR storage

The forward storage compartment hatch is held open with a hinged bracket that is held open by gravity. Note the required fire extinguisher is the yellow container forward.

Yamaha VXR hatch

A small hatch below the handlebars reveals a convenient storage compartment.

Yamaha VXR aft seat

Removing the aft seat section reveals an additional water-tight storage area on the Yamaha VXR.

Water-tight Compartment. Hidden beneath the removable aft seat section there is a compartment with a fine threaded cap to keep the interior water-tight. The entire compartment is removable, allowing people to take their valuables with them.

Control Systems

The hand grips on both sides are ergonomically designed and padded to help the operator stay comfortable. Dual rear-view mirrors are well placed outside the display dash housing.

Yamaha VXR trigger

The trigger throttle on the Yamaha VXR is located outside the righthand handlebar grip (red arrow).

Yamaha VXR engine start

The engine start button is on the outside of the left side handlebar (green arrow). The shift trigger (yellow arrow) allows the operator to go into neutral mode and reverse mode.

RiDE Technology. Yamaha has designed a reverse-bucket that drops down over the jet nozzle and vectors the flow to both or either side to create better control when reversing. It can also create a braking effect when at speed. There is actually no shifting or reversing the jet drive. However, RiDE provides a neutral position to stop forward or reverse motion.

Reverse. By flicking the left-hand trigger and subsequently squeezing the left-hand trigger, the Yamaha VXR reversing bucket drops down over the jet nozzle, effectively putting the VXR in reverse. Turning the handle bar vectors the thrust. Reverse steering is opposite of forward steering. Consider steering the bow not the stern.

Neutral. A quick squeeze of the left-hand trigger puts the Yamaha VXR into neutral. This effectively keeps the VXR from moving forward or backward but turning the handlebars will cause the boat to pivot rather than turn.

Braking. A big benefit of the RiDE technology is braking. At any speed, squeezing the left-hand trigger slows the engine while simultaneously dropping the reverse bucket, effectively creating a braking effect without putting the VXR into a nosedive. Keep squeezing and the braking begins reversing.

Yamaha VXR

On the left side handlebar is the engine stop button (yellow arrow), the kill switch safety and wrist lanyard (red arrow) and trim control (green arrow).

Yamaha VXR mirrors

Side view mirrors are well placed on each side of the display dash on the Yamaha VXR.


The VXR has the biggest naturally aspirated engine Yamaha makes. The High Output (HO) engine is an 1812cc, 4-stroke, 4-cylinder, 16-valve motor.

Yamaha VXR access

Under the operator seat is the access to the Yamaha HO engine. Day-check points are all within easy access.


The hull and deck of the VXR is built with Yamaha’s proprietary NanoXcel 2 construction process which produces a stronger, lighter watercraft with a superior finish.

Yamaha VXR nanoxcel

Yamaha employed their proprietary NanoXcel 2 construction process for the 2019 VXR, shaving off 30-lbs. (14 kg) from the previous year’s model.


1 year warranty.

Options to Consider

Optional accessories are available from Yamaha or third-party manufacturers. Accessories from Yamaha to consider include:

Yamaha WaveRunner Starter Kit

    • Two U.S. Coast Guard Approved/UL Listed PFDs that are adjustable to fit most adults (sizes small to large)

    • Nylon case for storage

    • Whistle to clip on your PFD to meet requirements for a sound signaling device

    • Easy-to-pack first aid kit

    • Two black 10" (.25 m) personal watercraft fenders

    • Two white 12’ (3.66 m) dock lines

    • Available with Yamaha branding and without

Kwik Tek® Yamaha Dock Lines.

WaveRunner cover.

WaveRunner Handlebar Pack.

Yamaha soft side cooler.

Yamaha tube tow rope.

Yamaha Branded tow tube.


The Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the Yamaha VXR is $12,299.


Yamaha is well-known for their wide range of WaveRunner models and there is a lot to like throughout their model lineup for varying reasons, economy, budget, performance, and luxury. has tested virtually every WaveRunner model Yamaha has to offer.

The racing inspired Yamaha VXR has Yamaha’s most powerful naturally-aspirated engine, with a new top-loading intake grate and new performance inspired ride plate and seat design that makes this model hard to beat in its race class. We think it is an excellent value priced under $13,000 and its performance will not disappoint even the most experienced riders.

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