Yamaha FX Cruiser SHO

The FX Cruiser SHO boasts straight-line fun and performance handling.

Yamaha’s makeover of the popular FX series may be focused on comfort, but I couldn’t stop turning and burning aboard the 2012 FX Cruiser SHO. The reason? Tweaks to the hull lend this craft ultrapredictable cornering. Whereas the previous hull would often fall off its pad and onto the chines when making sharp turns, the new design rolls smoothly to the inside in a natural motion. This no-surprises ride had me longing for more seat time.

Yamaha added 7½ inches to the FX. Most of that length is devoted to passenger comfort. The bolstered saddle has been stretched three inches and is now tiered to give each successive passenger a better view forward. I like it but prefer the standard seat for performance-oriented riding because it better lets the driver move his weight around to find the boat’s sweet spot. Most of the remaining four inches go to the boarding platform. A spring-loaded step features a flat cross-section and deeper reach. Combined with a second grab handle at platform height, it makes boarding from deep water far easier.

Yamaha’s sheet molding compound (SMC) is a tough material to form into sharp angles. The FX gets its edgy look from numerous bolt-on panels. Some add form only, but others reveal clever function. A stern panel door covers a small storage compartment. It’s a great spot for wet items, like a tow rope. A notch in the door allows that rope to remain attached to the tow hook when not in use. I also appreciated the relocated mode buttons for the craft’s display. Rather than requiring an awkward reach over the handle bars, these buttons now reside behind the handle bars for quick, easy access.

The most interesting upgrade, however, is the addition of a mechanical neutral to the boat’s reverse lever. It positions the reverse bucket partially down to stop forward or aft motion, giving the FX great manners around the dock or ramp.

Performance? I reached just shy of 67 mph with Yamaha’s 1.8-liter, supercharged, intercooled engine and hit 30 mph in less than two seconds. Straight-line fun, but trust me, give it a few turns.