Boat Tests

August 19, 2013

2013 Sea-Doo GTI Limited 155: The perfect compromise

Photo: Sylvain Raymond

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It's not easy buying a personal watercraft these days. Even though there are only three manufacturers left, they offer a multitude of models. In order to find the one that suits you best, you first have to figure out your needs. Are you into water sports? Will you need to be able to carry three passengers? Is performance a critical factor? Once you've established your criteria, it becomes easier to decide on a category of watercraft and then make your selection. And also, price is always a crucial consideration. Modern machines are more technologically advanced, but their prices are also much higher than before.

As a result, many people are tempted by a compromise between luxury, power, performance and pricing. This is exactly the category that our test model, the 2013 Sea-Doo GTI Limited, falls into. This 155-hp personal watercraft is not the most powerful of the bunch, but it offers more than the basic versions with 130-hp engines. Because it is a limited edition, it's extremely well-equipped, while its base price remains reasonably competitive at just over $14,000.

New 2013 colours
BRP doesn’t let you choose the colour. Each model has its own colours and there are no options in this area. This makes it easy to recognize the different versions. For 2013, the GTI Limited will sport a whole new palette composed of mostly charcoal grey, with some bright red touches to punch it up. This design looks dynamic and won't look dirty as fast as some paler colours.

The exterior features a sleek profile and angular lines. You'd think it was a stealth jet. The touring seat can easily accommodate two passengers, three if you snuggle up. Even though the GTI Limited 155 is designed for three people, three tends to be a crowd.

Once seated, you notice the machine's stability. When stopped, you can move easily with no fear of tipping. The driver's seat is excellent and the handlebars are placed at the right height. Overall, it gives you a reassuring feeling of control. The instrumentation is prominently displayed, clear and easy to read. At centre, between the rev counter and the speedometer, is a driving center with a wealth of information, including fuel consumption. This is info you may be happier ignoring!

The Sea-Doo GTI Limited 155 has a 1503 Rotax 4-TEC engine with a capacity of 1,494 cc. It's capable of 155 hp and includes an intercooler. You may be tempted to think that this is not much power compared to the 215-hp and 260-hp engines offered on other models, but it actually does the job just fine. We got it up to 55 mph (89 km/h), which is plenty for most amateurs. Besides, the GTI 155's less powerful engine is a blessing as far as fuel economy is concerned. Our fuel consumption was 3.6 gallons per hour (14 L/h) with the engine at 5,000 rpm and a speed of 28 mph. At top speed, however, consumption ramps up to 10.6 gph (40 L/h), so don't hit the throttle too hard if you want to avoid having to fill up too often.

Comfort and performance
On the water, the Sea-Doo GTI 155 Limited provides an excellent compromise between comfort and performance. You will really appreciate its size and comfort during long trips, even though the model lacks Intelligent Suspension. Switch on its Sport mode and the watercraft will accelerate more aggressively while delivering its best performance, enough to get your adrenaline going. The engine provides torque at low speeds, which produces crisp acceleration and increases the watercraft's manoeuvrability.

Controlling the engine is vastly simplified by its iBR (Intelligent Brake and Reverse) system, which starts in neutral, preventing the watercraft from moving forward. All you have to do to move forward is hit the throttle, or squeeze the iBR system lever on the left handlebar in order to go back to neutral. Keep squeezing the lever and it will go into reverse, making docking manoeuvres easier. In short, you’ll no longer find yourself bumping into everything as you dock! The most interesting feature of this system is that it allows you to brake the Sea-Doo at high speeds, which improves safety. Just squeeze the IBR's lever and your personal watercraft will rear forward while sending a jet of water several metres into the air behind you. You have to hang on tight while performing the manoeuvre, but it's quite effective. The distance required for a complete stop is much shorter than it used to be.

There’s no denying that the Sea-Doo GTI 155 Limited offers an excellent compromise. It’s a multi-purpose model that lets you enjoy water sports at a lower cost.

Evaluation

Test model : 2013 SEA-DOO GTI limited 155
Test engine : Rotax 1503 NA - Jet drive
Base price : $14,089
Price as tested : $14,089
Manufacturer's warranty : 1 year
Planing time : 3.5 seconds
Planing speed : N/A
Competitive models : Kawasaki Jet Ski Ultra LX, Yamaha Waverunner VX Sport
Strong points : Competitive pricing
Good performance
Well equiped
Effective braking system
Weak points : Fuel consumption at higher speed
Insurance cost

Editor's rating

Fuel consumption :          
Value for price :          
Styling :          
Comfort :          
Performance :          
Overall :          

Performance data

RPM MPH GPH MPG KM/H LPH KPL Range
1000 3.50 0.70 5.00 5.63 2.65 2.13 79 miles / 127 km
2000 5.00 1.00 5.00 8.05 3.79 2.13 79 miles / 127 km
3000 6.50 1.80 3.61 10.46 6.81 1.54 57 miles / 92 km
4000 12.00 2.50 4.80 19.31 9.46 2.04 76 miles / 122 km
5000 28.00 3.60 7.78 45.06 13.63 3.31 123 miles / 198 km
6000 39.00 5.60 6.96 62.76 21.20 2.96 110 miles / 177 km
7000 51.00 8.70 5.86 82.08 32.93 2.49 92 miles / 149 km
7500 55.00 10.60 5.19 88.51 40.13 2.21 82 miles / 132 km