Yamaha Motor Corp. USA has a way of making moves in small, precise increments. Changes often don’t come as big overt swings, but rather, a series of gradual moves resulting – in time – in a more finely tuned, well-honed outcome. When the full-sized 3-seater line – the FX Series – received its 2019 redesign, it wasn’t met with shock and awe but rather nods of approval. The new FX maintained most of its predecessor’s traits, but picked up some sportier handling and smoother aesthetics. Again for the most part, the new FX was seen less as a revolution and more of an evolution of the outgoing platform.
For 2022, Yamaha’s engineers took to refining the two-year-old FX once more – making fine adjustments and specific tweaks to polish the WaveRunner all for the best. The Watercraft Journal spent a warm August day with Yamaha’s flagship of the line – the 2022 FX Limited SVHO – where all of these adjustments shine their brightest. At the outset, the FX Limited SVHO is the brand’s most well-equipped, heavily accessorized WaveRunner providing enthusiasts with all of the power and handling available through the FX Series backed with a catalog’s worth of summertime fun and convenience for the whole family.
Above: The K2-vertical torque curve of the supercharged 1.8L paired with the 2022’s new SMC Fiberglass hull and race-spec ride plate makes this FX the sportiest full-sized WaveRunner to date.
Above: To the neophyte, the dozens of changes, upgrades, updates and improvements made to the FX Series will go mainly unnoticed or even underappreciated. And that is a shame because we’re looking at the best SVHO-powered FX we think Yamaha has ever released.
Wielding an MSRP of $19,099, it’s also Yamaha’s most expensive offering to date. Yet with the increased price tag comes more features, abilities and variety of use than any other WaveRunner before it – it just might not be visible to the untrained eye. Thankfully, upon closer inspection, the upgrades and updates for 2022 reveal themselves in a big way – a big 7-inch way. For all SVHO-equipped FX WaveRunners, Yamaha has upgraded the touchscreen dashboard with a high-response glass 7-inch display. This full-color dash provides audio controls, phone and text notifications (when synced via Bluetooth to your smartphone), GPS mapping and Yamaha’s Drive Control functions.
The integrated GPS provides the FX with a true GPS speedometer as well as full-screen GPS mapping with geo-fencing. This means that the operator can input GPS waypoints, follow tracks, and “geofence” a riding area where the watercraft can be operated. With geofencing activated, a virtual fence is created and will sound an alarm telling the operator that they have ridden too far – ideal for first-time riders (or that one friend who wants to take your FX out for a spin). Typically, the GPS map card is sold separately for a $199 one-time fee, but comes as part of the purchase price for the FX Limited SVHO.
Above: Yamaha unleashes the full capabilities of its Connext touchscreen system for 2022, with full smartphone integration, a superior tactile feel and dashboard input response. GPS mapping, geofencing and infotainment elevate the FX Series to new heights.
Above left: Audio controls and a noise-reducing microphone allow riders to listen to playlists, make and receive phone calls and even call in sick for work from the water. Above right: A true GPS speedometer gives riders precise measuring of vehicle speeds and live mapping.
For 2022, the FX Limited SVHO comes standard with a factory-installed, Bluetooth-synced audio system. It features twin 4.5-inch 50-watt waterproof marine speakers, an integrated two-channel amplifier, and a low-voltage regulator to protect the battery. And like the VX and GP, whose sound system the FX’s is derived from, it’s operated via a control pad found beneath the steering column. When synced, a visual prompt will appear on the the Connext touchscreen. Additionally, it can now receive incoming calls and view text message notifications on the Connext screen.
If that wasn’t enough, there’s even a noise-reducing microphone (found above the audio controls) allowing you to make phone calls using the voice command button. While not appearing drastic, the entire control console has been redesigned for 2022, including the return of cast-in cup holders – the RAM mounts are now at bottom of each one. The FX Series also get slimmer adjustable handlebars and control housings, including a single On/Off button and relocated Cruise Assist control.
Above: Yamaha slimmed down the FX’s steering system, giving the 2022 models a sleeker, lean design. New control pods, toggles and even quick-tie dock hoops complete the package.
Above: New toggles for trim control, TDE, Cruise Assist as well as single-button ignition control and Cruise/No Wake mode de-clutter the handlebars.
Yamaha has also integrated dual hoops into the steering neck, making tying up at the dock a bit easier. Below the handlebars, the FX received a new glovebox. Although it’s the same size as previously, the lid is now spring-loaded with a sturdy plastic latch instead of the rubberized tab. Inside, the FX receives the same LED lights, 12V socket, USB port, and cell phone pocket as the VX and GP models too. With this and the screw-top rear storage tub beneath the passenger seat, total storage remains a competitive 44.5-gallons.
Again, these are all subtle changes that incrementally improve the FX. Yet, it’s biggest improvements – in our view – appear below the bondline: no more NanoXcel2. That’s right, all FX WaveRunners now have SMC fiberglass hulls. While NanoXcel and NanoXcel 2 will continue to be used for Yamaha’s decks, all full-sized runabouts will ride on thicker, traditional fiberglass hulls. Because SMC outweighs Yamaha’s Nano materials, the development team created a lighter inner liner to shave off a bit of the added weight. The SVHO-equipped FX models gained 40-pounds across the board; the FX Limited totals 877lbs. for 2022 compared to last year’s 837lbs.
Above: The true experience of a performance-bred runabout is much more than how fast it is in a straight line. The FX Limited SVHO executes screeching hairpin turns at wide open throttle with a simple drop of the knee into the tray – like its smaller, race-ready sibling the GP1800R SVHO.
Above left: Returning for 2022 is the Super Vortex High Output supercharged 1,812cc 4-cylinder four-stroke. A change to the casting over a year ago strengthened the cylinder head, and an upgraded supercharger clutch promises less slippage, reduced friction and greater continual boost. Above right: Per the GPS-monitored speedometer and our hand-held Garmin GPS, we clicked off a stout 68.4mph at 840-feet above sea level, half a tank of fuel and a 240lbs. rider.
First and foremost, in our view the move to SMC is brilliant. SMC fiberglass is denser, which absorbs vibration and chatter better. The extra weight helps it sit deeper (more draw) in the water, also aiding the FX’s ability to track through chop. SMC flexes less, distributing the force of impact with far less damage or cracking. And it’s easier (and cheaper) to repair – all things which service departments and long-term owners will appreciate. Again, only the hull is SMC, the deck of the SVHO-powered FX Limited remains in NanoXcel2.
A consequence of using a GPS-controlled speedometer was no longer requiring the previous ride plate, which was purposely shaped to slow down the FX (it was also responsible for the FX’s wet ride). Now untethered, Yamaha radically reshaped the ride plate by angling the center surface up 3º on an extended runner, which raises the bow reducing drag. The plate’s flanks were also shaved down with deep skegs that provide knife-like rails for added tracking. Lastly, Yamaha moved the sponsons forward 50mm (nearly 2-inches) to reduce hull packing, particularly in corners.
Above: For many, the inclusion of Yamaha’s first factory-installed high-output sound system for the FX Series is all they needed to see to make a purchasing decision.
Above left: Yamaha upgraded the FX’s storage, particularly in the glovebox, as it features a sprung hinge, hardened plastic latch, internal LED lighting, a USB port and 12-volt socket. Above right: Access to the bow storage is massive as is the bow compartment itself as well. Yes, that’s a regular-sized backpack in there!
Pair all of this with Yamaha’s supercharged-and-intercooled 1,812cc four-cylinder 4-stroke Super Vortex High Output Marine Engine and you’ve got a full-sized WaveRunner that pulls hard from a standstill, and harder through the mid-range – all the way until it hits a GPS-confirmed 68.4mph. Toggling the trim settings (or engaging the Auto Trim feature) drops the nose before rolling sharply into a hairpin, the repositioned sponsons biting quickly in the turn.
We’re convinced that the SVHO-powered FX offers the sportiest ride of the industry’s full-sized runabouts; and the list of national and world championships on the race course back up our claim. But of course, most aren’t interested in charging full-throttle through the buoy course or even over open ocean swells, but it sure is nice to know that this WaveRunner can do it – and better than most anybody else.
Above: While we’re praising the FX Limited SVHO’s many characteristics, we’ve ignored the king’s ransom of accessories included in the Limited package, including the factory-installed sound system, a Garmin Striker GPS Fish Finder, a multi-mount adapter, a single-rider tube, inflator, holder, and tow rope, a soft-sided cooler, custom cover, and two fenders.
Above left: CNC-cut two-tone mats give the FX Limited SVHO a premier look. The padded folding swimstep matches the carpets. Above right: There’s no hiding our excitement for the next generation of Yamaha FX WaveRunners.
Rather, buyers will gravitate towards the FX’s Limited Accessory Package, which includes two factory-installed integrated FX Speakers, a Garmin Striker GPS Fish Finder with custom transducer and mount, a multi-mount adapter, a single-rider tube, tube inflator, tube holder, a tow rope, a soft-sided cooler that sits in its own dedicated step in the front storage bin, a 12-volt outlet, custom cover, and two fenders.
Available in Black with Lime Yellow, the 2022 Yamaha FX Limited SVHO WaveRunner (MSRP $19,099) is the result of dozens of minor adjustments, what we liken to a few finishing touches with the sculptor’s chisel. Every change is an upgrade, every tweak an improvement. The FX Limited SVHO offers specialized premium fun and excitement for every member of the family, and is easily worthy of being Yamaha’s title flagship of the WaveRunner family.