Gallery: Kawasaki Europe Reveals 2021 JetSki Lineup Early


With less than two weeks away from the 2021 Yamaha WaveRunners official reveal, it would appear that Kawasaki’s European division jumped the starter’s pistol yet again, and rolled out the entirety of the international lineup of 2021 JetSkis. Although all of us are excited to see what each of the Big 3 have in store, it came as little surprise that much of the lineup remains entirely unchanged for the new model year, particularly as 2020 saw a rollercoaster of sales due to the COVID-19 panic.

Wanting to group its watercraft division into segments, Kawasaki has broken up the range into Ultra, STX and SX-R groups. Albeit a little on-the-nose, each category offers buyers a selection of pricing and performance to meet his or her particular budget and preferred riding style. Interestingly, all models share an ever-so-slightly modified variant of the same 1,493cc dual overhead cam 4-stroke, four-cylinder engine. This uniformity across the board allows Kawasaki to keep manufacturing costs down and retain a rather robust catalog of replacement parts sitting on shelves.

Those few models that received new paint schemes and decals have also otherwise gone unchanged (what many in the industry jokingly call “BNG” or Bold New Graphics, marketing speak for “new colors and graphics”). No newfangled technologies or whiz-bang features here, folks. And for some, that’s all they want – and it’s true. Kawasaki has experienced impressive growth numbers over the past couple of years, and hope to see this growth ratchet skyward in the coming months as these 2021 models roll out.

For the STX group, the base model STX 160 returns unchanged in its Gelcoat Crystal White and Sunbeam Red color scheme. Domestically, the mid-level STX – the 160X – came in a very fun Ebony and Riptide Turquoise in 2020; internationally, the STX 160X came only in Ebony and Lime Green, and includes Cruise Control and No Wake settings. The top-of-the-segment STX 160LX ups the ante with a heat-resistant 3-tiered seat and Bluetooth-controlled Jetsounds audio system and remains unfazed in last year’s Ebony and Candy Lime Green coloring.

Stepping up to the full-sized Ultra platform, the international market receives four variants, while those residing in the United States are offered a unique Ultra 310X Special Edition (SE). Nevertheless, the lowest-entry in this segment is the naturally-aspirated Ultra LX, which unlike the STX 160X sold internationally, comes in the Ebony and Riptide Turquoise that we so liked. We’re still waiting for the Ultra LX to receive the same luxury features found on the STX 160LX and supercharged Ultra 310LX, such as Jetsounds and plusher seating.

A new and somewhat exciting color comes on the Ultra 310X as it shines in Ebony and New Citrus Yellow. The aforementioned Ultra 310LX returns to the top of the fleet in Ebony and Metallic Carbon Gray, which shines brilliantly in the sun. Lastly, the Ultra 310R returns with its iridescent green sponsons coated in Ebony and Lime Green, which is expected since we can’t recall a year that it wasn’t black-and-green since its 2014 launch.

Lastly, comes the SX-R JetSki. Returning with its Ebony and Lime Green for 2021, the lone standup is rumored to face some competition in the near future. Either way, the SX-R has become a weapon-of-choice for many racers and performance standup enthusiasts in its 4 years. In all, Kawasaki enters the European market with a formidable 8 models for 2021, and seeing that Kawasaki’s Lincoln, Nebraska manufacturing facility didn’t experience any production shut-downs, it is expected for new units to be arriving at dealers as this article is published.

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Kevin Shaw

Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief – kevin.shaw@shawgroupmedia.com Kevin Shaw is a decade-long powersports and automotive journalist whose love for things that go too fast has led him to launching The Watercraft Journal. Almost always found with stained hands and dirt under his fingernails, Kevin has an eye for the technical while keeping a eye out for beautiful photography and a great story.

9 comments

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  1. Avatar
    Ben 7 August, 2020 at 08:59 Reply

    I will always love Kawi’s, but it’s time to upgrade…
    A 2L would bring them back to the front of the pack!

    • Kevin Shaw
      Kevin Shaw 7 August, 2020 at 09:33 Reply

      No, it wouldn’t at all. They’re already the HP leader and their sales are fractions of Yamaha’s and Sea-Doo’s. The vast majority of buyers want safety, reliability and features.

      • Avatar
        Pepe 17 August, 2020 at 22:37 Reply

        safety and reliability is there, Features is not, seadoo and Yamaha have plenty of new features, brake, touch screen, easy reverse, easy cooler install, etc

  2. Avatar
    Stash Pawlinski 7 August, 2020 at 10:14 Reply

    Agreed !!
    I loved my Ultra 310X, but hated the reverse and overall weight.
    The engine was bulletproof.
    I switched to a Yamaha FX Cruiser SVHO.
    So far it’s just as fast(even with 40 hp less…..lighter weight accounts for that)
    I love the convenience of docking it, comfort,rough water capability(Kawi was great here also).

  3. Avatar
    Bryan 14 August, 2020 at 11:13 Reply

    Hopefully the increase in PWC sales over the last couple of years will make them reconsider the market and invest some money in their watercraft R&D.. maybe add a braking system and updated electronics. An STX 310 and 160 LX with brakes, trim, and a color LCD screen would be awesome. Always been a fan of Kawasaki, kind of disappointed to see them get left behind, knowing what they are capable of if the way they compete with their motorcycles is any indicator.

  4. Avatar
    Jason 16 August, 2020 at 10:36 Reply

    I agree with you all. I have always bled green both with my motorcycles and pwc’s. I am in the market for an upgrade on the water and had high hopes that Kawasaki would step up to the plate. Its unfortunate that they are now way behind the curve. Their machines are still great in my opinion (minus the piston issues on the 310’s) but they need to get out of the stone age with displays, reverse mechanisms etc. I hate to say it but i am going to be buying a yamaha. Come on Kawi!!!! lets at least try to compete.

  5. Avatar
    Karl 18 August, 2020 at 21:58 Reply

    Where the hell are the smaller cheaper skis?? No wonder they don’t have sales numbers like Yamaha and Seadoo. I got news for you Kawi, just as many people buy base work trucks as they do 4×4 quad cabs!! They can’t buy what you don’t offer.

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