Kawasaki Unveils 2013 Jet Ski Models

The company has chosen to stick to its tried and true models for the upcoming year.

Kawasaki generated plenty of buzz for its recent new model reveal in New York’s Times Square, but while the manufacturer’s Ninja motorcycles were stealing the spotlight, its Jet Ski watercraft line received surprisingly little fanfare. Perhaps much of the reason for the low-key treatment is the fact that Kawasaki, like its PWC industry competitors Sea-Doo and Yamaha, chose not to introduce anything new for the coming year. Instead, the company chose to stick with a proven line of models carried over from 2012.

Unlike the voluminous choice of models from its aforementioned competition, that lineup for Kawasaki is simple and straightforward. It consists of four models, three of which are based on the brand’s successful Ultra platform. The fourth, the longstanding STX-15F, remains the brand’s entry-level offering.

Kawasaki’s last truly “big” Jet Ski introduction was for the Ultra 300X in 2011, and that craft remains the basis of two marquee boats in ’13. Its primary selling points center around the craft’s industry-leading 300 horsepower and a hull that has been proven in open-ocean racing. The 1,498cc engine features a Roots-style supercharger that promises to generate steady power throughout the powerband, rather than produce that power in waves. In 2011, the ski also got some of the features its competitors formerly held over its head. Cruise control, no-wake mode and a better reverse operation were all introduced. They remain the craft’s hallmarks.

The same basic platform is at the core of the Ultra 300LX. A touring-oriented model, the LX adds a cruiser-type seat to the 300, with a stepped profile that offers passengers comfortable support and a clearer, less-obstructed view forward. It also includes a cutout in the craft’s handlebar pad built to accommodate a handheld GPS. The combination of a more fuel-efficient engine and the Ultra’s already class-leading capacities make the boat a good match for the touring crowd. Fuel capacity is 20 gallons, while storage capacity is listed at nearly 60 gallons. Both are industry-leading statistics.

A nearly identical package, with the exception of the engine supercharger and intercooler, is found in the Ultra LX. The deletion of the supercharger obviously lowers the horsepower, but also means the engine won’t burn fuel at such an aggressive rate. It also arguably makes the boat a tamer choice for towsports, where participants may not care for the supercharged engine’s hair-trigger performance.

Kawasaki rounds out the line with the familiar STX-15F. Once the brand’s flagship model, it now returns once again as the introductory choice, although the craft does hold a horsepower edge over similar models from Sea-Doo and Yamaha. Its engine is estimated to produce about 160 hp.

Actual physical changes for 2013 are mostly limited to graphics and colors. The 300X is the only model offered in two color choices, an ebony/lime green combo and an ebony/metallic white with minimal yellow accents. The 300LX is offered in a metallic titanium, a luxury-car look that should appeal to the boat’s target audience. White and silver are reserved for both the Ultra LX and STX-15F.

The lone remaining change is in price. Manufacturer MSRPs have increased $200-300 across the board on all four 2013 models. Some interesting deals, however, are available through the Kawasaki “Escape the Ordinary” Sales Event. Model year 2010 STX-15Fs are currently listed at $8,999 with 5.95 percent financing, while zero percent financing is offered on ’11 and ’12 versions retailing at $9,199 and $9,499 respectively, and 3.95 percent financing on the 2013 version at $9,699.  Model year 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Ultra 300X, Ultra LX and Ultra 300LX models are also being offered at similar savings, with $600 customer incentives being offered on many of the prior model year boats. Individual deals can be found at www.kawasaki.com/currentdeals.  


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