Boat Test: 2016 Kawasaki Ultra LX

Boat Tested2016 Kawasaki Ultra LX
Price As TestedNot Available
Category PWC
Manufacturer Kawasaki
Length11ft 1in / 3.38 m
Beam3ft 11in / 1.19 m
Drive TypeJet Drive
Fuel Capacity20.6
By Steven Bull
It seems that every year personal watercraft are taken to dizzying new heights in terms of technological advancements. The Kawasaki Ultra LX, however, feels like a back-to-basics jet ski - without being at all basic.

It’s a well-engineered machine that rips across the water. The hull design is stable at idle so if you happen to be in the middle of a bay trying to secure a GoPro for a video shoot, you won’t capsize. Always appreciated!

Though not as fast as its high-performance sisters in the Ultra line like the 310 LX, it easily cracks 50 miles per hour on a busy, choppy test day. In better conditions and with a lighter rider, you could get a few more clicks out of it. The low 50s is still really fast when you’re on something so small and light. Cruising around 30 mph was a little more comfortable, and realistic for most riding.

For newbies, and especially for parents, the dual-key system remains a big selling feature. Theregular keyunlocks the full power potential of the PWC, while SLO (Smart Learning Operation) keylimits the output and speed.

The keys slide into a slot in a small compartment just behind the handlebars - a great area for phones and wallets. Bigger items and safety gear can be stored in the roomy bow compartment. The compartment is easily accessed while onboard due to a well-placed latch.

There isn’t the additional neutral/reverse throttle that the competitors have, but there is a reverse handle that you pull up and, when squeezing the regular, right-hand throttle you have good mobility to help position you at the dock or the ramp.

Some PWCs are big, comfy cruisers that try to replicate the amenities of a boat. The Ultra LX, however, stays true to its roots as a fun and nimble Jet Ski and is an absolute blast to ride.

Test Boat Engine1,498 cc, four valves per cylinder, four-cylinder in-line four-stroke engine with DOHC
TOP SPEED 51.9 mph
30 mph
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