2020 Yamaha EXR Waverunner

Boat Reviews

Boat Review by: Ryan Tarrant


For 2019 Yamaha introduced the all new WaveRunner EXR as the top model in the EX “Rec-Lite” line-up. Not everyone is looking for the biggest, fastest, flashiest watercraft but everyone still wants value, quality and fun. Think of the EXR as an awesome younger sibling who can almost keep up at everything and is always enjoyable to have around.

First Impression

Walking up to 2019 EXR we found it bright and fun looking. Make note that the 2020 has updated graphics and colour but no other changes. For a smaller craft we noticed that the size and seat bridged the gap between too small and too big. We were also impressed with the addition of the new Yamaha Accessories which included a rear storage bag and a set of speakers.

Ergonomics & Storage

The younger sibling that could can actually seat 3 and is still designed with watersports in mind. The seat and footwells are comfortable, controls are very well placed, as is the digital gauge, and the mirrors were a nice safety and comfort touch.

The storage is ample in terms of what can be expected from a watercraft and can also be complimented with Yamaha’s new innovative storage solutions. We liked the quality of Yamaha’s rear storage bag.

Leaving the Dock

The WaveRunner EXR is very stable while sitting or idling. This will increase the confidence of less experienced riders or younger riders. We didn’t fall off the EXR but if you do there is a nice little re-boarding step.

Sometimes watercraft can scare riders, even at low speeds. Yamaha’s exclusive dual lever R.i.D.E. system (which stands for Reverse Intuitive Deceleration Electronics) allows riders to confidently maneuver at idle as well as at any speed. Tap the left lever and you’re in reverse. Tap the right lever and you’re moving forward. Release both levers and you’re in neutral while still retaining idle turning/maneuvering capabilities. Use both levers past idle and you’re in control at higher rpm. Pull the left lever at running speeds and the craft decelerates while retaining steering control and keeping the nose up. It doesn’t take long to master and greatly increases safety and use for all ages.

Ride Quality

We tested in a combination of either flat water or very rough chop. The ease of control regardless of conditions was very notable. We thought the smaller craft would be tossed around, bounce a lot, and thereby cavitate in the rough water, but this was not the case at all. In fact, we were impressed that without power trim this craft handled confidently in the 2 extreme condition changes. The seat and footwells are comfortable whether you’re cruising or riding aggressively.


The award winning EFI three-cylinder TR-1 engine has a lot of power and sometimes you feel like you’re riding the GP1800R. Yet if you want to cruise it doesn’t skip a beat and is great on fuel. It really feels fast like a full-sized craft which is probably enhanced with the lightweight NanoXCel2 hull and deck.

Overall Impression

This craft really has a balance between performance and cruising comfort. You can ride aggressively and playfully or take your husband and dog for a Sunday cruise, both with confidence and comfort. The WaveRunner EXR really bridges the gap between small and large.

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