(Excerpted from the 2015 issue of Boating World Magazine, story by Alan Jones)

Usually when manufacturers offer a price-point PWC, they strip it of all the goodies you see on the more expensive luxury models. With the new VX Cruiser, Yamaha blows that strategy right out of the water.

Let’s RiDE
The really big news for Yamaha WaveRunners this year is the RiDE system, which won an NMMA Innovation Award at the Miami Boat Show. The dual handlebar throttle system gives you a right-hand throttle for going forward and a left-hand throttle for reverse, which gives riders the ability to hit the brakes. Most significantly, thanks to the side and down thrust of the reverse bucket, you still have directional control during panic stops, and it doesn’t nosedive. It gives you total control around the docks, too, without having to take your hands off to shift; plus, it always starts in neutral. Instead of reserving this breakthrough technology for the luxury models, it’s a standard feature on the three-seat VX Cruiser.

Lighter and Larger
Thanks to its lightweight NanoXcel hull and deck, first available on the VX Cruiser in 2014, it weighs 20 pounds less than the 2013 model, despite being 3.2 inches longer, at 131.9 inches, and having additional features such as RiDE. NanoXcel is a product of a high-compression molding process, and despite being 25 percent lighter than traditional fiberglass, it’s also stronger and creates a smoother surface that really shows off its high-gloss Yacht Blue metallic paint job. It’s available in Pure White. The 2015 VX Cruiser carries 2.6 gallons more fuel than the 2013 model, thanks to its whopping 18.5-gallon tank, giving you increased range. Storage climbed by 9.5 gallons (seeing a trend?) over the 2014 model.

To help keep the price down to just north of $10k and reduce operating costs for owners, Yamaha uses a 1.1L non-supercharged engine, which puts out around 110 hp (Yamaha doesn’t publish PWC hp ratings). Despite its compact size, it’s still a four-cylinder engine, like the bigger 1.8L engine found on Yamaha’s performance models, which helps it operate smoother than three-cylinder models. During our test, the power flowed on evenly and with surprising snap. Time to 30 mph was a quick 2.5 seconds, and we peaked at 53.6 mph, only about 12 mph less than the maximum speed voluntarily set by the PWC industry in the name of safety. The NanoXcel hull is shaped to provide excellent turning. I was able to fling the lightweight hull into really hard, precise corners like it was part of me.

Ski-Ready Machine
The VX Cruiser has a three-person Cruiser Seat that’s triple-tiered for extra comfort and passenger segregation. With a standard ski tow, it’s an ideal watersports machine. The saddle features an excellent rear-facing observer position with grabrails for security. The rear deck is sloped and covered in two-tone Hydro-Turf for great grip, and there’s a rear step to make getting back aboard after a ski set easy.

Despite the low MSRP of $10,299, the VX Cruiser surprisingly includes high-end features such as the multifunction digital display; Cruise Assist, which reduces throttle tension for more relaxed cruising; and No Wake Mode, which allows you to bump the rpm up or down when idling to maintain the perfect creeping along idle zone speed.