Sea-Doo Sportster 4-Tec

The Sea-Doo Sportster 4-Tec is full-featured and agile.

It took a little time to get accustomed to handling this new jet-powered boat from Sea-Doo. Turn the wheel clockwise in reverse, for instance, and the bow turns the same direction as the wheel. Or crank the wheel at 35 mph and the boat is immediately facing the opposite way, ready for another omnidirectional move. Yeah, it took about six minutes before we had it down pat.

The boat takes its name from the four-stroke Rotax technology found in Sea-Doo’s watercraft engines. It’s designed to burn less fuel and practically no oil. Four-stroke tech makes this 155-hp machine “legal” in areas where two-strokes havebeen banned and welcome in areas where silence is appreciated, thanks to the sound dampening double-muffler exhaust and a rubbermat under the engine hatch. And, by incorporating side-shoot gates that send water out of the jets at an angle rather than straight out, the boat is easier to handle in reverse.

Handling was simple going forward and in spins too. The Sportster rides and tracks true thanks to stability-enhancing strakes. We could feel the hull grab through sharp S-turns, before allowing the boat to kick back out. The cockpit sits so low and the boat maneuvers so freely we felt as if we were right on the water.

We drove the Sportster differently from all the boats we tested. We’d get it on plane in 2.5 seconds and take it into shallow areas, the 12-inch draft and no outdrive erasing any concerns

Entry-level jet boats aren’t known to be full-featured. But we stumbled across a CD player, a pop-up ski pylon and nonskid entries on the bow and transom. Storage is better than expected, too, with a long in-floor locker, a lockable compartment at the front of the helm and a large area under the engine hatch that’s accessed by punching a tab inside the helm storage area. We suggest traveling with a light load -- and letting it all hang out.

Final Take: It's even fun to watch

We Also Like …

1. Digital Encoded Security System means it won’t startwithout the original lanyard.

2. Closed-loop cooling system prevents raw water from enteringengine cooling ports.

3. Padded armrest on top of gunwale for throttle arm.

4. Seats have mesh inserts so water can drain into a holdingarea.

5. Molded forward area for nav lights.

6. Insulated cooler built into port side of bow.

DETAILS

Length Overall: 15’4”

Beam: 7’1”

Dry Weight: 1,454 lb.

Seating/Weight Capacity: 4/715 lb.

Fuel Capacity: 23 gal.

Max HP: 155

MSRP (test boat): $14,299

Contact: 800-882-2900

PERFORMANCE

Test Engine: 155-hp 1503 Rotax 4-Tec

Test Prop: Four-blade progressive pitch, stainless

Test Load: Fuel (18 gal.); People (355 lb.)

Top Speed: 47.0 MPH @ 7,300 RPM

Time to Plane: 2.5 sec.

Time to 30 MPH: 7.1 sec.

Minimum Planing Speed: 18.5 MPH @ 4,700 RPM

Noise at Idle: 68 db

Noise at 30 MPH: 87 db

Cruise Stats: 87 db; 28 MPH @ 5,400 RPM

POWER CURVE

RPM MPH

1,800 5.8

2,000 6.4

2,500 7.2

3,000 7.5

3,500 7.9

4,000 9.0

4,500 12.1

5,000 24.7

5,500 28.7

6,000 36.4

6,500 37.7

7,000 45.3

7,300 47.0