Yamaha has redesigned its 19-foot sport boat range, offering a slightly larger platform with smart design updates that make these compact, easy-to-own runabouts a great choice for family boating.
Yamaha will offer four models on a new 19-foot 5-inch hull that’s three inches longer and two inches wider, and about 200 pounds heavier, than the previous 19-foot models. The SX190 ($29,899) and AR190 ($31,899) models are powered by a single 180 HP 1.8-liter normally aspirated engine, while the SX195 ($35,599) and AR195 ($37,599) models are powered by a single 250 HP 1.8-liter supercharged engine and have upgraded upholstery, graphics and details. Both AR models are equipped with an aluminum watersports tower and a removable ski mirror. In each case the price includes a single-axle trailer with disc brakes and swing-away tongue.
At a media intro event, I had a chance to sample the AR195 and was impressed with the ways Yamaha has made the most of the additional interior space afforded by the new longer and wider hull. A few inches might not seem like a big difference, but on a boat this size it can translate into significant elbow room if it’s managed well, which Yamaha has certainly done. Yamaha has changed the seating layout so a bench now wraps from the stern to port, leaving the area behind the bucket helm seat open. This space is now designed to hold a 25-quart cooler and a detachable table, which when installed leaves the center of the cockpit open so there’s always a clear walk-way through the boat, which would not be the case if the table were on a pedestal in the center of the cockpit. The helm seat swivels 180 degrees to face the table and has a new, slim-line design that takes up less space. I also like the way Yamaha has cut away the lower portion of the backrest so it’s easy for the driver to pivot on the seat, either to stand to talk to guests, without unlocking the seat swivel. The SX models have a second bucket seat to port, while the AR models extend the bench seat all the way to the port console, where there’s a padded backrest for an aft-facing watersports observer. That port console is larger on the new boats and its inboard surface is angled back towards the cockpit so it’s easier to access the lockable door to its storage compartment and also so see inside for gear.
The helm features a new side-mount control that saves some space but, on our test boat, did not work as smoothly as the previous Yamaha surface-mount control. All the new 19-foot Yamaha boat feature a new Connext 4.3-inch color touchscreen that displays all instrumentation and lots of additional information. This interface is easy to use but at normal distance I found the display details a little hard to read – those with “younger” eyes may not have this problem. A remote control for the Clarion audio system is also on the dash, and to the right of the Connext screen is a pivoting holder for a cell phone. Rocker switches control the Yamaha No Wake Zone and Cruise Assist speed-control functions. The door to storage in the starboard console does not lock but there is a handy waste basket attached to the inside.
The bow seating area has room for three adults and there more foot space as the sole here is a little wider than on previous models. The seat cushions in the bow – and the port aft seat cushion—are now hinged and much easier to use than the previous lift-off cushions. They also will never blow out of the boat on the highway. Yamaha made the hatch over the engine a little narrower so the aft storage compartments will hold a little more, and the seat cushion over the engine hatch is now removable to make a better step to the transom platform. The transom is also lower, to make it easier to move back and forth from the platform. That bi-level platform has always been a big Yamaha selling point, and it’s now a little wider and still features padded backrests and a soft surface on the upper level.
The $5,700 upgrade from the 190 to 195 models includes more than the supercharged engine and graphics. The seats have more bolstering and texture in the upholstery. The audio system features premium Polk Audio marine speakers. Grab handles are billet aluminum rather than black plastic, and both levels of the transom platform are covered in thicker soft-touch material. In place of the cockpit carpet used for the 190 models the 195 models have snap-in woven vinyl matting. The rub rail and running lights are stainless steel rather than plastic, and the cup holders are chrome. Finally, the 195 models have an Italian steering wheel with a thicker rim. All models have a canvas sun top; on the AR models the top is integrated into the tower.
If your budget allows, I’d recommend the 195 model in either SX or AR flavor, especially if you’ll usually be out with four or more people on board. The supercharged engine delivers outstanding acceleration and 8 to 10 MPH more top speed than the standard engine; the 190 feels a little under-powered by comparison, although it will use less fuel – about 12 gallons per hour versus 20 gph for the 195 at wide-open throttle. All models benefit from a new running surface. The keel is not as deep forward compared to the previous 19-foot model, which improves low-speed tracking, and the shape of the strakes has been revised and the running surface extended aft, which both reduce bow-rise on acceleration. The jet drive features a new reverse bucket that improves lateral thrust for better control around the dock, and the Yamaha “articulated keel” rudder has been revised to reduce drag. This high-rpm powertrain produces more noise than an outboard, but Yamaha has done a good job isolating engine and pump vibration from the cockpit.
Yamaha has worked hard to successfully fine tune every aspect of its 190-series boats. The smart design combined with the ease of operation and ownership afforded by jet-drive propulsion, and a nice price, makes any of these new boats a strong contender in the compact runabout segment.
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on boats.com. Republished with permission.