When the pictures were first leaked revealing the 2015 Sea-Doo lineup, we have to admit that our initial reaction was curious at best. As Sea-Doo’s competitors doubled down on automotive-grade paints brandishing deep metallics and subdued earthy hues, the decision to swing so far afield took many by surprise. And if the Internet has taught us anything, it’s that people are resistant to change.
It was hard not to share in the hive-mind sentiment, but only when several females (both enthusiasts and passersby) mentioned their affinity for the brilliant tones did Sea-Doo’s brilliance began to gel.
Last year’s candy-colored Sparks paralleled a wave of trendy affordable-yet-fun-looking items, most obviously Apple’s budget-minded iPhone 5C. Clearly the widespread reception of the Spark influenced BRP’s tinting choices for 2015.
Of all of the new lineup, most dramatic were arguably Sea-Doo’s Recreation series. While the GTI 130 SE model comes available in either a retina-scorching Manta Green-and-violet or Bahamian-themed Maldives Blue-and-Manta Green livery, the higher horsepower 2015 GTI 155 SE – which we tested this day – is available only in the latter. Apart from the visible-from-space recoat (and one significant change that will get to soon), the GTI 155 SE remains predominantly unchanged.
Riding on Sea-Doo’s 132.6-inch GTI platform introduced in 2011, the hull is an impressive stable three-seater despite being the brand’s entry-level platform (except for the Spark, of course). Riding on a moderate V-hull, the ski comes to plane quickly and rarely searches while tracking through mild lake chop. The absence of long strakes running the length of the hull allow the GTI to remain a little loose in hard turns, attributing to its playful nature.
Of course, while cruising the GTI 155 SE is rock solid, stable and predictable. Being an SE (Special Edition) model, the GTI 155 SE comes equipped with BRP’s Variable Trim System, folding swim step and additional instrumentation including a fuel consumption calculator (instant and average), and a clock. All of that is in addition to a long list of standard technology including Intelligent Brake & Reverse, a closed-loop cooling system and BRP’s most under-appreciated feature, iTC permitting for Touring, Sport and ECO modes.
Priced at $11,199, the GTI 155 SE is priced for a water-loving family budget, and operating on 87 octane only makes it all the more economical. Despite our best efforts, we spent less than $30 to thoroughly top off it’s 15.9-gallon fuel tank. And, it’s worth noting that after considerable riding time, there were still a few bars of fuel left on the gas gauge. The GTI’s naturally-aspirated 1494cc Rotax is simply not that thirsty, even when pinned in Sport mode.
To which, on a very chilly January weekend, we mustered a maximum of 58mph from the GTI, all of its 155-horses stretching as far as it could go. Fussing with the VTS only hindered our speed runs, as trimming it north or south of center only slowed it. Rather, the VTS is best used for towing the kids in a raft or a wake skater (making the similarly-equipped Wake 155 all the more logical).
As stated above, conducting our test session in the height of winter allowed us almost exclusive access to any body of water we were willing to dip into. Unfortunately, much of the scenery available to us consisted of steely gray skies and naked hills littered with barren trees, but the brightly colored Sea-Doo lit up beneath the sun like a signal flare.
Of which, we had only one true complaint: the blue of the hood doesn’t match the blue of the rest of the ski. Although some clear decals try to disguise the discrepancy, it is still pretty self-evident. Nevertheless, we found that no picture did the color quite the justice that a first-person account can give – so reserve your judgement until you lay eyes on it.
Now as mentioned earlier, there is one significant change to the GTI 155 SE, and all Sea-Doos for 2015. Replacing the previous DESS key/lanyard is a new RF DESS key. Radically improving the design with a new ball-and-socket mount, the Digitally Encoded Security System allows for easy and quick starts every time.
Imbuing the DESS key with radio frequency technology also ensures that contact to the old DESS nodule is a thing of the past. In prior tests, we fought with the soft rubber DESS failing to make contact (giving us the affirming “double beep” permitting us to start). Now simply hook in and push “Start.” It’s that simple. Again, it’s a little detail many won’t notice, but it made a big impact on us.
We enjoyed the GTI 155 SE – as we always have – and welcomed the new colors with a nod towards the retro colors of the 1990s. For a family watercraft, the GTI still stands strong even when compared to its half-priced Spark sibling. Offering stability, storage and comfort where the Spark plainly doesn’t, the GTI 155 SE is the right pick for those looking to stay dry while casually cruising their favorite lake or river.
Special thanks to America’s Motorsports for use of the 2015 Sea-Doo GTI 155 SE.