Kawasaki’s Ultra LX shines. It shares the same platform as the brand’s premier flagships, but opts for a slightly tamer, more fuel-efficient engine within.
This shared platform is a winner. The Ultra hull is deep, with a pronounced V that cuts through the toughest conditions with total finesse. Offshore racers love it for the same reason that newcomers will sing its praises. It’s predictable, stable, inspires confidence, and almost never deviates from its line. If you’re heading out to sea, or ride anywhere where the conditions are frequently rough, it’s one of the best choices on the market.
The Ultra LX shares the same platform as its supercharged brothers, giving it excellent rough water capabilities.
That same platform, however, can still feel small and nimble in flat conditions. A grooved ride plate and aggressive sponsons keep the craft anchored through tight turns. Lean to the inside, stay on the throttle, and you’ll rocket in and out of corners with a smile. Yes, the LX misses the electronic trim of its pricier siblings. The ability to trim that nozzle down really brings out this craft’s inner slalom champion.
Besides, this is a craft that while still able to perform it focuses more on touring. Its comfortable, with a bolstered saddle separated into three distinct tiers, positioning each rider in line a little higher than the last for both better comfort and an improved view forward. The driver gets a five-position handlebar, ready to lean back for leisurely cruising or tilt up to complement standing when the conditions are rough. And everybody aboard gets space for both their stuff and itinerary. The LX boasts an amazing 212 litre of storage capacity, much of it included in the generous bow tub. A nearly 78 litre petrol tank also means those trips will last long into the sunset rather than be interrupted looking for a fuel dock.
Of course, what gives the Ultra LX such great cruising range isn’t just its fuel capacity, but its engine. Kawasaki’s familiar 160hp 1,498cc four-stroke, it foregoes the supercharger and intercooler here to keep its budget price tag. Leaving those two items off the list also does wonders for the engine’s fuel economy.
It maintains a strong low-end punch out of the hole. With that bottom-end grunt, and not the surging that can come with trying to control a supercharged engine’s throttle, the LX makes a great platform for wakeboarding, wakeskating, skiing, and tubing.
A bolstered seat gives driver and passengers back support, which comes in handy for all-day touring.
Things like mechanical reverse, easy-to-read LCD information display and spring-loaded boarding step are present and accounted for. Buyers also get Kawasaki’s magnetic key system, which is used to both prevent theft and activate a speed-governed mode that allows newer riders to become more comfortable with the craft’s handling and response before feeling its full potential. An additional nod to newcomers is Kawasaki Smart Steering. Less-experienced riders frequently release the throttle when presented with an obstacle, losing their steering control. KSS detects these behaviours and boosts thrust just enough to initiate the manoeuvre the driver is trying to execute at the handlebars.
The JETSOUND audio system, a first in personal watercraft, allows riders to listen to music while riding. For those who feel life is better with a soundtrack when blasting across the water on a supercharged Jet Ski, the new Jetsound audio system is for you!
The audio system was jointly developed with ASA Electronics (makers of Jensen). Standard equipment on the Ultra 310LX, the system includes an amp and audio controller (built into the handle), and two speakers (positioned below the mirrors).
The amp is rated at 20W (x 2 channels); max 40W x 2 channels. The speakers are rated at 30W each; max 60W x 2
The system is compatible with iPod and iPhone, other smartphones, and other audio players that have a stereo pin jack output and provide files in MP3 format. The system can also play music files from a USB memory stick.
The waterproof aluminium case in the glove box is provided for playback from a USB memory stick. The system can handle USB memory sticks up to 4GB. For iphone / iPod use, connect with the equipped stereo pin jack (3.5mm). A water resistant storage case is provided standard and is compatible with various models / sizes.
The Kawasaki Ultra LX will prove itself to be a versatile platform for the family as well as a great choice for long-distance exploring. And it will do all these things virtually everywhere, meaning you won’t be left on the dock watching other people have all the fun when conditions turn less than ideal.