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1999-2004 Yamaha XL 700 Review and Specs [Video]

1999-2004 Yamaha XL 700 Review and Specs [Video]

The 1999-2004 Yamaha XL 700 was the entry-level model in the popular 3-seater XL family. Unlike its larger brothers, this model lacked some convenience features like gauges, mirrors, and a reverse. The XL 700 was also powered by the smallest 701 twin-engine option rated at 80hp, while the flagship XL 1200 offered 135hp.

If you want to find out more about this affordable classic WaveRunner, you’ve come to the right place.

We at JetDrift have compiled all you need to know into this Yamaha XL 700 review!

Yamaha XL 700 Review

The Yamaha XL Family

In 1998, Yamaha introduced its innovative XL WaveRunner series built on the all-new 3-seater runabout platform.

Compared to their vintage predecessors, these PWCs were much larger and more stable, so they could actually accommodate three adult riders.

The Japanese manufacturer offered their XL WaveRunners from 1998 through 2004, and the XLTs were phased out at the end of 2005.

Without further ado, production Yamaha XL and XLT models were as follows:

The first ski in this line was the 1998 XL 760 followed by the longest-lived XL 700 in 1999. The former was discontinued for the Millennium, but the 700 remained part of the fleet through 2004.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and talk about this ski in detail!

Yamaha XL 700 Hull and Top Deck

As a rule of thumb, lower-level XL models shared the same platform, which was the first real full-sized 3-seater WaveRunner hull.

It measured 124 inches in length 49.2 inches in width and 43.3 inches in height, with a remarkable load capacity of 530 pounds.

This shell was not only significantly larger and heavier than its predecessor but it also had a deeper deadrise. The dry weight of the XL 700 was 540 pounds, 191 pounds more than the WR III 650.

It was also designed with a large top deck that offered plenty of storage space including bow storage, a storage bucket beneath the rear seat, and a tiny glovebox.

Thanks to its heavy weight and large dimensions, the XL 700 could even carry three adult riders with ease.

Therefore, it could be used for various activities like tow sports, PWC fishing, family riding, and touring.

Yamaha XL 700 Engine

The XL series was offered with four different engine options, including the 700 (701), 760, 800, and the flagship 1200.

As the name suggests, the Yamaha XL 700 was designed with the smallest 700 (a.k.a. 701) Yamaha marine engine. This power mill was a 2-stroke, 701cc, twin-carb, reed-valve, twin-cylinder engine that delivered 80hp at 6250 RPM.(Its bigger variants, the XL 760 and the XL 1200 were rated at 90 and 135hp, respectively.)

The lively 701 marine engine was designed with many advanced features, including:

  • C. D.I. ignition
  • Reed valve intake system
  • Electric start
  • Dual Mikuni BN44 carbs
  • Oil injection system
  • Open-loop cooling system
  • NGK BR8HS spark plugs
This engine was paired with an axial-flow, single-stage jet pump, housing a 5-blade impeller. Unfortunately, the XL 700 lacked the manual reverse, which came standard on the rest of the XL family.

In terms of fuel economy, its claimed fuel consumption was 9 US gallons at WOT, so its 13.2-gallon fuel cell ensured a play time of 1.5 hours.

The maximum speed on the XL 700 was 40-42 mph depending on environmental conditions.

Yamaha XL 700 Features

Unlike its basic predecessors, the XL 700 came standard with many convenience features, including:

  • Under-seat storage bucket
  • Front storage compartment
  • Glovebox
  • Fire extinguisher container
  • Deck mats
  • Bow and stern eyes
  • Engine cut-off switch
  • Engine shut-off cord (safety lanyard)
  • Drain plugs
  • Rope holes
  • Rear grab handle
  • Two-piece saddle
  • Fuel cock knob
  • Ski tow eye
  • Sponsons
  • Finger throttle lever
  • Cooling water pilot outlet
  • Visibility spout
Unlike the more advanced XL WaveRunners, the XL 700 was designed without a reverse, mirrors, and gauges.

Yes, you read correctly, the entire dashboard of the XL 700 was replaced with a black plastic cover that only housed a golden Yamaha logo and a single low-oil warning light.

Yamaha XL 700 Problems

Even though the XL 700 was known for its durability and reliable engine, this model also had its weak points.

Just like on any other classic 2-stroke WaveRunner, the most common problem of the XL 700 was its aging oil lines and pump. This was not surprising since only a small malfunction in the oil injection system could easily lead to an engine seizure.

Due to these risks, many owners eliminated the complete oil system on their XL 700 and switched to premix.

Mixing the oil in cans wasn’t convenient, but it was the only way to keep the engine lubricated in all circumstances.

Yamaha XL 700 Specs Charts

For your convenience, we’ve compiled the key specs of the 1999 Yamaha XL 700 into these charts:

Yamaha XL 700 Engine Specs

1999 Yamaha XL 700Engine Specs
Number of cylinders2
Displacement701 cm³ (42.78 cu in.)
Bore and Stroke81 × 68 mm (3.19 × 2.68 in)
Compression Ratio7.2
Carburetors2 x Mikuni BN
Lubrication SystemOil-injection
Cooling SystemWater-cooled
Starting SystemElectric starter
Ignition SystemC.D.I.
Spark Plug Gap0.6-0.7 mm (0.027-0.028 in)
Spark Plugs TypeNGK BR8HS
Battery Capacity12 V 19 Ah
Charging SystemFlywheel Magneto

Yamaha XL 700 Drive System

1999 Yamaha XL 700Drive System
Propulsion SystemJet pump
Jet Pump TypeAxial flow, single stage
Impeller RotationCounterclockwise (Rear view)
TransmissionDirect drive from engine
Jet Thrust Nozzle Angle24 + 24 degree

Yamaha XL 700 Performance

1999 Yamaha XL 700Performance
Maximum Output80 HP (58.8 kW) @ 6250 RPM
Maximum Fuel Consumption9.0 US gal/h (34 L/h)
Cruising Range (at full throttle)1.5 hr.
Trolling Speed1250-1350 rpm

Yamaha XL 700 Dimensions

1999 Yamaha XL 700Dimensions
Overall Length124.0 in (3,150 mm)
Overall Width49.2 in (1,250 mm)
Overall Height43.3 in (1,100 mm)
Dry Weight540 lb (245 kg)
Maximum Load Capacity530 pounds
Vehicle capacity3 persons

Yamaha XL 700 Fuel and Oil

1999 Yamaha XL 700Fuel and Oil
FuelRegular Unleaded Gasoline
Minimum Octane Rating86 PON /90 RON
Recommended engine oilYamalube 2-W, or an equivalent NMMA-certified TC-W3 marine oil
Fuel tank capacity13.2 US gal (50 L), inc. 3.17 US gal (12L) reserve
Oil tank capacity1.00 US gal (3.8L)
These charts are for informational purposes only! For exact specifications, please refer to the factory manual.


As a takeaway, we’ve answered the most common questions about the Yamaha XL 700:

What is a Yamaha XL 700?

The XL 700 was a full-size 2-stroke 3-seater runabout WaveRunner.

When did the Yamaha XL 700 Come Out?

The Yamaha XL 700 debuted in 1999.

What Years Did Yamaha Make the XL 700?

Yamaha manufactured the XL 700 from 1999 through 2004.

What Size was a Yamaha XL 700?

The Yamaha XL 700 measured 124.0 inches in length, 49.2 inches in width, and 43.3 inches in height.

How Much Did a Yamaha XL 700 Weigh?

The dry weight of the Yamaha XL 700 was 540 pounds.

How Many People Could Ride on a Yamaha XL 700?

The Yamaha XL 700 was rated for three riders.

What Kind of Engine was in the Yamaha XL 700?

The Yamaha XL 700 was powered by a 2-stroke, 701cc, twin-cylinder, reed-valve Yamaha marine engine.

Was the Yamaha XL 700 Supercharged?

The Yamaha XL 700 utilized a naturally aspirated engine configuration.

Was the Yamaha XL 700 a 2-stroke?

Yes, the Yamaha XL 700 was powered by a 2-stroke engine.

Was the Yamaha XL 700 Fuel Injected?

No, the Yamaha XL 700 featured two Mikuni BN44 carburetors.

How Much Horsepower Did a Yamaha XL 700 Have?

The Yamaha XL 700 produced 80hp at 6,250 RPM.

How Much Oil Did a Yamaha XL 700 Hold?

The Yamaha XL 700 had an oil injection system featuring a 1-gallon oil reservoir.

How Much Fuel Did a Yamaha XL 700 Hold?

The Yamaha XL 700 was equipped with a 13.2-gallon fuel tank.

How Much Fuel Did a Yamaha XL 700 Use?

The maximum fuel consumption of the Yamaha XL 700 was 9 gph at full throttle.

What was the Fuel Range of the Yamaha XL 700?

The cruising range of the Yamaha XL 700 was 1.5 hours at full throttle.

How Fast Did a Yamaha XL 700 Go?

The top speed of a Yamaha XL 700 was about 40-42 mph under ideal conditions.

Could the Yamaha XL 700 Tow a Skier or a Wakeboarder?

Due to its three-seater saddle, the XL 700 could legally tow a wakeboarder or skier.

Did the Yamaha XL 700 Have a Reverse?           

No, the Yamaha XL 700 came without a reverse system.

Did the Yamaha XL 700 Have a Brake?

No, the Yamaha XL 700 was manufactured without a brake system.

How Much Does a Yamaha XL 700 Cost?

The asking price of a used Yamaha XL 700 varies between $1,000 and $3,000 depending on the year and its condition.