Yamaha unveiled their 2014 personal watercraft lineup today, and judging by the looks of things performance is very much back in fashion. Highlighting the announcements was an all new Super Vortex High Output (SVHO) engine. Though it’s based on the company’s current 1.8-liter block, company reps claim nearly every component has been changed, upgraded, or enhanced. Highlights include a new supercharger with larger, 25-percent more efficient intercooler, larger injectors for greater fuel flow, a new stronger forged piston design, and a vastly more-efficient oil cooler. To handle the newfound power the SVHO engine has been matched to a larger, 160mm, eight-vane, race-inspired pump. Compared to the existing SHO engine, the SVHO is said to offer 20% more power and 60% greater boost.
So just what is the company planning to do with that engine? The strategy is two-fold. One mission is to squarely target Sea-Doo’s RXP-X 260 musclecraft by dropping the SVHO engine into the existing FZR and FZS models. The increased power, combined with a new top-loader intake grate, extended rideplate, and refashioned sponsons promise to make the FZs comparable to an aftermarket ski right out of the box assert Yamaha reps. They back up that claim with some direct comparisons. The FZs offer 5% more power than the RXP-X, more torque, bigger displacement, a higher top speed, quicker acceleration, and the best power-to-weight ratio of any craft in the class. Yamaha also says the boat handles like it’s on the proverbial rails, currently one of the RXP-X’s greatest strengths.
The other use for the new engine is an expansion of the flagship FX series. The FX SVHO and FX Cruiser SVHO also get the engine, along with new 160 mm pump and top-loader scoop grates and rideplates.
Elsewhere Yamaha is also paying some attention to the entry-level market. The best-selling VX Cruiser and VX Deluxe get the brand’s proprietary NanoXcel hull material for 2014, in the process shedding about 65 pounds each. The improved power-to-weight ratio promises to improve both performance and fuel-efficiency. The base VX Sport gets no such nano-love, but it does get a price reduction, dropping back to a more affordable $7,999.