Kawasaki Ultra LX

The Ultra LX inspires big-water confidence, and features fuel efficient performance.

We Say: The Ultra LX is an attractively priced, confident cruiser that handles tougher waters than most PWCs can.

The LX sports a deep 22.5-degree deadrise and predictably powers through waves, inspiring confidence. The craft’s calm-water demeanor took me by surprise. The Ultra LX steering nozzle has been shortened by 20 millimeters for improved steering response, giving the boat a newfound handle as well as an aggressive feel in the corners.

Like all PWC manufacturers, Kawasaki stopped listing horsepower in 2012, but emissions data reveal this nonsupercharged variant of Kawasaki’s 1,498 cc four-stroke pumps out about 160 hp. With nearly 1,000 pounds of thrust on tap, a solid hole shot and the low-end grunt to haul skiers or wakeboarders are part and parcel. Top speed peaked at 53.7 mph. Kawasaki’s focus for the LX is more on touring and versatility, so the reduction in power is more than acceptable, especially given the bump in fuel economy that comes from eliminating the supercharger.

Capacities on the LX are best in class, with 60 gallons in storage and more than 20 gallons in fuel capacity. A cushy touring-style seat is tiered so passengers can look over the driver, and a low-rise bolster provides driver back support. Tweaks to the reverse lever also give it a smoother feel. Its portside location allows the driver to use both throttle and reverse simultaneously, making it easier to maneuver in tight spaces.

Who'd Want One: Touring buyers seeking big-water confidence and fuel efficiency more than top speed.

Another Choice: The Sea-Doo GTX 155 ($11,999 powered by a 1,498 cc four-stroke engine).

Bottom Line: $10,999; kawasaki.com