We Say: Yamaha’s articulating keel helps the SX195 deliver superior handling. The articulating keel is like a small fin near the jet nozzle. In turns, this helps the boat carve. Spin the wheel and the SX195 turns crisply without any drift or sliding. The keel not only eliminates a handling objection many attribute to jets, but it also capitalizes on the nimble turning radius allowed by in-line propulsion, creating a new standard for runabout maneuverability. The SX195’s speed also proved noteworthy. During our test, the boat rushed to planing speed in 2.5 seconds and hit 30 mph in 5.6 seconds. Top speed was a satisfying 52.4 mph — and this was all on a single jet-pump engine. In fact, our tester got 3.3 mpg at 22.4 mph. We’ve rarely used the words “economical” and “water jet” in the same sentence, but both apply to the Yamaha SX195. A blemish: The high engine rpm a water jet requires creates a whine not heard aboard similar sterndrive- or outboard-powered boats.
Don’t let its performance advantages distract you, the SX195 boasts hanging-out amenities, like Yamaha’s classic stern swim-platform area. Inside, wraparound seating pampers the crew; forward is a wraparound seating area that comes with a removable center cushion. It’s complete with a Bimini top and loaded on a custom trailer. Be sure to check one out and see for yourself.
Who’d Want One: Boaters seeking a runabout without a propeller and with great handling and economy.
Another Choice: Take a look at Chaparral‘s 203 Vortex VR jet boat ($36,600).
Bottom Line: $33,299; yamahaboats.com
How We Tested
Engine: Yamaha Marine 1.8-liter Super Vortex High Output engine
Drive/Prop: Water-jet 3-blade stainless-steel impeller
Gear Ratio: 1.00:1
Fuel Load: 16 gal.
Crew Weight: 250 lb.