Hot-rod or family funster? The Honda AquaTrax F-15X personal watercraft has a little trouble making up its mind in which puddle it wants to play.
On the one hand the AquaTrax F-15X jetski will blast toward the horizon at a tad better than 100 clicks. That places this particular PWC in the “must be taken seriously” stakes. But look more closely and this little three-seat firebrand turns out to have a softer side.
Honda AquaTrax F-15X Engine
The AquaTrax F-15X is fired up by a new 16-valve 1470cc turbo four-cylinder - a big jump from the 1235cc unit in the company’s F-12 series.
Despite the extra grunt, Honda claims this creamily smooth motor burns less fuel than a comparable two-stroke.
Honda has perched a little turbo and intercooler almost inside the throttle body. The pay off is a big reduction in throttle lag while the location allows boost levels to be turned down, cutting wear and tear.
Honda’s boffins have spent a lot of time getting the details right including a new intake grate that directs water to the upper half of the pump and helps load the impeller evenly. Has their work paid off? The problem of turbo lag, while not entirely eliminated, has been reduced to barely noticeable levels which make the F-15X a much better bet for towing wakeboards or skis.
If the AquaTrax F-15X – Honda’s first new model since entering the PWC arena in 2002 –doesn’t have quite the same slingshot credentials of several competitors it establishes a solid advantage in the twisty bits. Tip the F-15X into a corner and the nose just turns in like a well-tied down, rear-drive sportscar, the keel drilling down and holding the boat in the turn way beyond what seems like the outer boundaries of friction coefficients.
Combine the zippy performance with the handling and you have a boat that will satisfy both the purist and family guy, perhaps taking his kids for a blast.
Honda F-15X fixtures and fittings
Speaking of passengers, the seat is high, wide and comfortable while the AquaTrax F-15X’s thick rub rail is great for protecting the duco from the parking attempts of newbie jetski riders.
The dash is eerily reminiscent of the digital, Manhattan-at-night display of an old Honda Prelude with a large tacho and speedo and a nifty display that warns the rider how much time he/she has at their current speed before the T-15X splutters embarrassingly to a halt.
Unless you’re built along the lines of an orangutan don’t try to stand up while piloting the Honda – the handlebars are designed for bums on seats only.
There’s a handy glove box with a small slot that could have been designed to take a wallet containing a boat licence.
Honda AquaTrax F-15X - Verdict
The F-15X is a smartly styled, thoroughly competent, all-rounder with a stunning engine, that given its maker’s pedigree should deliver years of water-borne pleasure.