Yamaha SUV 1200 Specs and Review [Video]

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Is there a 4-person PWC? – it’s a typical question of many beginners.

The good news is you can still find 4-seater PWCs for sale, even if only used ones. One of them, the Yamaha SUV 1200 is the largest WaveRunner ever produced. It’s not just one of the longest personal watercrafts in history, but just like its competitor the Sea-Doo LRV, it offers legal rides for 4 people!

If you are considering buying a Yamaha SUV 1200, this post is for you. We at JetDrift have compiled the most important specs and information you need to know into this guide.

Additionally, you can learn where can you find a Yamaha SUV 1200 for sale, and what the current prices on the market are!

Yamaha SUV 1200 Review

Yamaha SUV 1200 was introduced in 1999 and got a lot of media attention, as it was the largest personal watercraft at that time!

This model was the culmination of a trend in which personal watercraft became larger and larger.

If you compare some current WaveRunners to the SUV 1200, the differences are significant.

The large and deep-V shaped hull makes this WaveRunner super stable, which is a great advantage especially on offshore PWC tours.

That’s why many anglers are looking for these vintage WaveRunners and ultimately choose them over boats!

You may be wondering: Is the Yamaha SUV 1200 the largest personal watercraft ever made?

The answer is surprisingly no! This is because Sea-Doo released the LRV to compete the SUV 1200. The LRV was not just longer, but also wider and heavier than the Yamaha.

You can discover and compare all of these watercrafts by the numbers in the chart below. Sadly, these 4-seater personal watercrafts have not been in production since the mid-2000s.

Yamaha SUV 1200 Specs

SpecsFish ProLRVSUV 1200
Length (")146,8156151,6
Width (")49,46159,5
Height (")45,342,544,9
Displacement (cc)16309511131
Fuel cap. (Gal)18,52518,5
Net weight (Lbs)858952816
Storage cap. (Gal)39,6180117
Weight cap. (Gal)600745660
Seat 344

When it comes to the Yamaha SUV 1200 specs, you may be surprised to learn how big this WaveRunner is, as it’s not less than 151,6 inches long and nearly 60 inches wide.

Regarding capacities, thanks to the large hull the Yamaha SUV 1200 storage capacity is an amazing 117 gallons.

Beyond the reasonable-sized glove box and front storage, you can find two large storage compartments at the rear side of the hull.

You can find this type of storage exclusively on 4-seater PWCs, and as you can see, they are so spacious that they can accommodate fishing rods or even a waterski:

As you can assume, the large dimensions lead to a significantly higher dry weight, as the SUV 1200’s dry weight is no less than 816 pounds (net weight).

As this WaveRunner’s fuel capacity is 18.5 gallons and its weight limit is 660 pounds, you can expect the SUV 1200’s total weight to be in the range of a whopping 1400-1500 pounds with passengers!

Power source? Surprisingly, you can find a 2-stroke, 3-cylinder, 1131cc engine under the seat, which produces only 135 HP.

Nowadays 2-stroke jet skis are banned from many areas, which is why many SUV 1200 buyers and owners consider replacing the engine with a 4-stroke.

Although the engine replacement could be a hassle, it makes sense if you want to ride a 4-seater WaveRunner in these areas. Additionally, 4-stroke engines offer less noise, higher reliability and better gas mileage.

With the stock 2-stroke engine, you can expect the Yamaha SUV 1200 top speed to range 45-50 mph.

Considering that many of today’s PWCs can easily hit the 67 mph range the SUV 1200’s performance doesn’t look outstanding. But let’s not forget that it’s a vintage 2-stroke WaveRunner with a huge hull, that was released in the early 2000s!

As far as convenience accessories, you can expect an adjustable handlebar and a large swim platform.

To reduce the noise, the SUV 1200 was released with a new sound suppression and exhaust resonator system, which made it 50% quieter than the competitor models. Sadly, it’s still much louder compared to any modern 4-stroke PWC.

Yamaha SUV 1200 For Sale

Where can you still find one?

The Yamaha SUV 1200 is an amazing personal watercraft, but this model line was canceled in 2004 after a couple of years of production. Ironically, after Yamaha stopped making these 4-seater WaveRunners, the demand for them began to rise.

This means that if you are looking for a Yamaha SUV 1200 for sale, your only chance is to buy an aged one. Beware that these vintage WaveRunners rarely appear on the second-hand market, so it’s not easy to find one, especially one in good condition.

If you are lucky, you can find some Yamaha SUV 1200 for sale on PWC Trader, Craigslist, or even eBay. Beyond its availability, you probably want to know what price to expect!

Yamaha SUV 1200 Prices

Speaking of Yamaha SUV 1200 price tags, they cost around $3,000-$6,000 depending on the age and condition. The oldest models from the early years will typically cost $3,000-$4,000, while the newer models are advertised in the $5,000-$6,000 price range.

As the SUV 1200’s original price with trailer was $8,999, we can say this WaveRunner holds its value very well! (But you can’t forget about inflation, of course.)

When shopping around, don’t forget to inquire about the details like engine rebuilds, modifications, and accessories, as these can all affect the price.

Is it still worth it to buy a Yamaha SUV 1200?

This is a typical question of many buyers, and the answer is that it depends.

On one hand, they are still much cheaper and easier to handle compared to a boat, and if you want to own a legal 4-seater WaveRunner, the SUV 1200 is one of your few options.

But on the other hand, the reliability and maintenance needs of an aged 2-stroke engine can be a hassle. Moreover, keep in mind that many service shops refuse to work on PWCs that are more than 10 years old!

If you’re considering other brands, you should take a look at the competitor models, the Sea-Doo LRV, and the Polaris Genesis.

Unfortunately, production on all of these models was stopped in the mid-2000. As you can only find aged models on the market be prepared that the condition they may be in varies wildly.

Here are some tips on what to look for in a used SUV 1200:

It’s highly recommended to check the engine compression to make sure it’s still in good condition. It’s never fun to start with an engine rebuild, so you may want to invest in a compression test gauge for $30 and check the engine. (The compression in each cylinder has to be the same, around 120 psi.)

Beyond the compression, inspect the whole engine compartment. A dirty and neglected engine is always a clue to the lack of proper maintenance and care.

You should also carefully check the hull and the pump. Make sure the impeller, intake grate, and driveshaft are not damaged.

For additional tips on what to check on a used PWC before you buy, don’t miss our step-by-step buying guide.

But if you are a beginner and don’t know what to look for, best practice is that you have a professional service shop check the craft over.

And finally, never miss the water test!

Fishing Rigged Yamaha SUV 1200

If you look at the market you can see that many Yamaha SUV 1200 are rigged for fishing, and with good reason.

The super stable hull and the huge storage compartments make the SUV 1200 a great fishing WaveRunner. Thanks to its large dimensions, you can expect much less water spray, which results in very dry rides even in choppy water.

If you are looking for a PWC for fishing, it’s a huge advantage if it’s already equipped with the necessary fishing accessories:


The Yamaha SUV 1200 is arguably the best family WaveRunner ever. It features a large storage capacity, and what is most important, a large seat for 4 riders. If you are looking for a legal 4-seater personal watercraft, you can only choose from a couple of vintage models like the SUV 1200, Sea-Doo LRV, or the Polaris Genesis.

Beware that all of these models are many years old and powered with 2-stroke engines. Because of this, you can expect them to have less reliability and poor gas mileage.

Also, keep in mind that these PWCs are banned from many areas due to their 2-stroke engines. That’s why many owners consider an engine swap, which simply means replacing the 2-stroke engine with a 4-stroke.

In spite of their drawbacks, there is still a noticeable market demand for these vintage PWCs, as they are not just great for families, but still among the best fishing PWCs on the market.

If you are looking for a Yamaha SUV 1200 for sale, be prepared to pay around $3,000-$6,000 depending on its condition, year and accessories.

This is our short Yamaha SUV 1200 review. We hope you find it useful!

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