Not to be the one to say, “We told you so” but we totally told you so. Isn’t it interesting that exactly a week after The Watercraft Journal opened the bay doors on a virtual carpet bombing of leaks and “unconfirmed rumors” pertaining to Kawasaki’s plans for 2022 did Team Green reveal half of its plans for the coming model year. “Half” you say? Why yes, half. And of that half are all of the naturally-aspirated machines in the JetSki lineup.
Of these machines, all operate with the identical DOHC, 16-valve, parallel 4-cylinder and 1,498cc engine. All save for the larger Ultra LX employ the same 148mm axial-flow, single stage jet jump as well (the Ultra uses a 155mm pump). Pertaining to the Ultra LX specifically, The Watercraft Journal was hopeful that the expected redesign for the supercharged 310-horsepower series would have effected this model as well. Per this release, such was not the case.
The 2022 Ultra LX remains relatively unchanged apart from a new Ebony/Sunbeam Red color combination with a modest MSRP increase of $300, bringing it to $11,699. Despite it’s stellar 56-gallons of overall storage, 20.6-gallon fuel cell and premium paint scheme, the Ultra LX fails to reach the dedicated cruiser market as it persists without Kawasaki’s engine management system, which gives the other JetSkis its fly-by-wire throttle and cruise control feature.
In light of Yamaha’s new SuperJet, the Kawasaki SX-R 1500 has only elevated its stature as the top performing 4-stroke standup offered today. Between the two, the SX-R and its runabout-inspired hull is the preferred pick by racers and athletes looking to carve buoys at speeds about 60mph. Changes to the JetSki are minimal: a $300 price increase from $9,999 to $10,299 and new graphics that include a ribbon of gold amid the Ebony Black and Lime Green.
The final models announced are those comprising Kawasaki’s newly minted Recreation segment: the STX 160, 160X and 160LX. All three STX models include Immobilizer keys, SLO key operation and Cruise Control, as well as the folding “Slide & Lift” rear seat (and kickstand). Differences between each model are minor (particularly between the 160 and 160X) with the 160LX being a major outlier, as it is equipped with much of the same accoutrements as the Ultra 310LX.
Specifically, those add-ons being Kawasaki’s Jetsounds Bluetooth-operated sound system, the heat-resistant LXury seat and two-tone LX deck mat – not to mention a very unique paint offering. For 2022, the STX 160LX comes in Ebony and Turquoise (with gold highlights). The color is reminiscent of 2021’s Riptide Turquoise on the STX 160X, but is deeper with rich metallics and a gold highlight in its graphics – and comes with a $12,199 MSRP, a bump of $300.
For 2022, STX 160X jumps an additional $300 as well, bringing the MSRP to $10,499. It trades in its Rip Tide hue for Ebony and Lime Green, which was the international livery (same colors we reviewed earlier this year). For the final STX, the 160 comes in Crystal White/Pearl Neon Yellow with an MSRP of $9,899 (only $100 more than last year’s $9,799). The base 160 has Cruise Control, but not the up/down toggles like the other models.
“And what about the other half?” you ask. To date, the remaining supercharged machines have yet to be announced, and likely for good reason. As WCJ has noted, major additions and changes are expected for 2022, which we suspect will rocket Kawasaki’s flagship platform to the front of the class in many aspects. When those new models will be announced still remains to be seen, but we’re banking on late September/early October at the latest.