If you’re in the market for a new jet ski, the 2022 Kawasaki STX160 lineup is worth considering. What can you expect from the new range? What are the features and changes in the new model versus the 2021 version?
Kawasaki makes some of the best PWCs available. Whether you’re looking for a performance model, a PWC for fishing, or a luxury cruiser, there’s something to satisfy your needs in the new STX160 lineup.
This post reviews the new STX160 range. We’ll look at the lineup and unpack all of the new features of this world-class jet ski.
- 2022 Kawasaki Jet Ski STX 160 Lineup Review
- The Models
- Key Features
- Design Changes and Features
- The Verdict
2022 Kawasaki Jet Ski STX 160 Lineup Review
The new STX160 range from Kawasaki receives a facelift for 2022, along with the Jet Ski SX-R and the Jet Ski Ultra LX models. These three jet skis are the most affordable options in the Kawasaki range, offering you excellent performance at a reasonable price point.
The subtle changes to the STX160 lineup consist of a few styling tweaks, but there’s not much else that’s different about the platform compared to the 2021 model. Kawasaki feels they have the STX range refined to the point where they struggle to add anything new to the watercraft.
The STX160 comes loaded with all the top features found on the leading models from PWC manufacturing brands. When it comes to the powerplay of the jet ski, the STX range all receive the same 1,498cc 4-cylinder, 16-valve, four-stroke engine, with no new upgrades to the motor over the 2021 model.
We’re disappointed that Kawasaki didn’t include a reverse trigger on the throttle. Instead, they chose to stick with the manual lever system. Considering most other brands, like Sea-Doo, have reverse action included in the throttle setup. Kawasaki is lagging behind in this area of its range.
The cheaper jet skis in the range don’t have engine-assisted braking to slow the jet ski or hold it in neutral when you’re at the dock. We feel this is a big mistake by Kawasaki, and it’s going to cost them market share.
All the other leading brands include the reverse gear function integrated into the throttle. So, why pay more for a Kawasaki when you can get the Sea-Doo Spark and get all the bells and whistles included for a lower price?
The changes to the Kawasaki STX160 come in the form of a three-seater mid-spec STX 160X. The premium luxury model, the STX 160LX, comes with a seat upgrade and an onboard Bluetooth audio system for entertainment on the water.
The Kawasaki STX 160X jet ski features upgraded decal graphics with a lime and ebony color scheme. The decals feature the “Kawasaki” branding on the jet ski’s nacelle.
The 2022 Kawasaki STX160 range comes with three models, the STX 160, STX 160X, and the STX 160LX. Each of them serves a different purpose out on the water, and they range in pricing. Let’s unpack the spec of each model in detail.
2022 Kawasaki STX®160
The entry-level STX 160 comes with a comfortable riding position and slide and lift rear storage compartments. You get the Kawasaki Triple-Splash Deflector (KSD) included for reduced spray over the bow.
This model includes the one-touch 5-mph mode for cruising around the marina. You get two cup holders and 35-gallons of storage space onboard. The STX 160 also has cruise control. It’s a great entry-level ski and the most affordable option in the 2022 STX 160 range.
2022 Kawasaki STX®160X
The STX160X is the performance model of the 2022 lineup. You get all the base model’s standard features, along with a premium painted deck, comfort handle grips, and adjustable electronic cruise control.
The STX 160X is for riders that enjoy power and performance. If you’re into tow-sports or you want to get out on the waves for some huge ramps, the STX 160X is the model for you.
2022 Kawasaki STX®160LX
The STX 160 LX is the flagship model of the 2022 STX 160 lineup. You get a JetSound Bluetooth audio system and a two-tone deck mat with a luxury seat with the luxury model. The LX also includes the premium painted deck and a full decal kit.
The following are some of the key features found in the Kawasaki 2022 STX 160 lineup.
- Smart steering assist provides controlled smooth turning of the jet ski.
- All-new rider mode featuring Smart Learning Operation (SLO).
- High-Performance 4-cylinder 1,498cc DOHC fuel-injected 4-stroke engine.
- Lighter throttle action with rear levers positioned on the left side of the handlebars.
- Jet Sound audio system with Bluetooth for onboard entertainment.
- LX deck mats with an extended boarding step for getting out of the water.
- Large 67L and 114L rear and front storage featuring a slide-and-lift system.
So, what can you expect from taking the new Kawasaki STX 160 out on the water? The STX 160 inherits the 2021 version’s powerful engine that was a hit with Kawasaki enthusiasts. The motor offers excellent performance and a tight powerband that gets the ski on plane fast.
You get an updated seat design and a higher rider position making more better comfortable when riding. The engine seems to get more power out of it over the 2021 model, and you get the same great handling you expect from Kawasaki jet skis.
The new model is highly adaptable to any recreational activity. The new STX 160 handles every situation with ease, from recreational use to fishing and touring. The motor is responsive and gives you enough power to enjoy the waves or the like.
Durable High-Performance Hull
The Kawasaki STX 160 range features the legendary STX hull. The hull comes with the innovative front triple KSD (Kawasaki Splash Deflector)system. The result is less splashing over the bow, and the side bumper fins provide a rectifying effect to the ride that stabilizes the watercraft at speed.
The hull is durable, and it can handle a beach landing. You get a fiberglass design for a lightweight feel that increases the handling and maneuverability of the watercraft. The KSD ridges run along the bow’s underside, with a fourth splash deflector reducing spray during high-speed power turns.
Whether blasting straight ahead or turning at high speed, the new Quattro KSD minimizes spray over the bow, improving the rider experience.
The 2022 Kawasaki STX 160 features a new seat design and elevated rider position for better comfort. You get a plush seat design for more comfort on those longer riding sessions and fishing trips.
Under the seat, you get access to the 114L storage bay that opens with the all-new slide-and-lift access system.
Side Bumper Fins and Sponsons
Along with the KSD innovation, the STX 160 range comes with sponsons extending from under the hull. It features the fins running along the underside of the side bumpers.
This design provides a stable straight-line speed and plenty of performance, allowing the ski to get on-plane fast while minimizing porpoising.
The fins also contribute to the ST160’s upgraded maneuverability, allowing fast directional changes at high speed.
Decals, Paint, and Styling
The STX 160 comes with an updated color scheme and upgraded decals. The elegant styling gives the jet ski a dynamic look with a sleek appearance.
With a left reverse lever and the expanded rear platform, you get a new rider position for better comfort and improved operation. The deck mats come with a visually-impressive two-tone scheme.
Extended Fuel Range
The change in the styling of the STX body means that there’s more room for fuel. The 2022 model receives a 78L tank instead of the 62L tank in the 2021 model.
The upgrade means that the new STX has the largest tank in its class. Combined with the legendary efficiency of the STX 160 motor, you can expect even longer cruising ranges from the 2022 STX 160.
Kawasaki SLO-Mode and Reverse
The STX 160 comes with Smart Learning Operation (SLO), allowing new riders to familiarize themselves with the response and handling of the jet ski.
You get two keys, one for operating the SLO mode and the other for activating full-power mode. The left side of the handlebars features the reverse lever, with an ergonomic design for the reverse lever and the lock-release.
JetSound Integrated Audio System
The STX 160LX model comes with a JetSound Bluetooth audio system for entertainment on the water. You get an amplifier, a dual speaker system positioned under the handlebars, and an audio controller built into the handle.
The amp features a 160-Watt RMS rating, with Bluetooth, USB, and AUX connectivity to your device. You access the USB and AUX ports through the waterproof storage cuddy.
Design Changes and Features
Deck and Bodywork
The new 2022 Kawasaki STX 160 range features a top deck redesign and an updated reverse trigger, making for the most significant changes to the STX range in 14-years.
The range comes with three color options, with the base model featuring a lime green and white combination on the bodywork.
The primary difference between the STX160X and STX160LX is the tiered seating and the JetSound audio system. The STX160X will carry over a lightly-revised green and black color scheme, and the STX 160 LX comes with a turquoise nose and yellow side decals.
Controls and Handling
The 2022 Kawasaki STX 160 features the new reverse trigger with enhanced ergonomic styling. You get a redesign of the handlebar controls, allowing for the integration of the reverse lever for easy operation.
All non-supercharged Kawasaki Jet Ski models feature a 160-Hp motor, similar to the previous 2021 range. This motor is tried and tested and a fan favorite.
The ski features the same 1,498cc four-cylinder DOHC motor as the 2021 STX, with a 148-mm jet pump. The LX model comes with a 155-mm jet pump. The result is a very fast ski, with a top speed approaching 55-mph.
Controls and Core Functions
The Kawasaki STX 160 range features fly-by-wire throttle systems and electronic cruise control. The result is a responsive throttle and a fantastic power curve that’s simply delightful. Everything is easy to reach from the handlebars.
However, we have to say that we’re somewhat disappointed that Kawasaki didn’t include the reverse gear in the throttle body. For other brands, like Sea-Doo, all you do is reverse the throttle grip to access reverse.
However, Kawasaki decided to leave the reverse lever in this model. Sure, they gave it a styling upgrade, but we feel it would do better as an in-throttle feature rather than a standalone lever system. Kawasaki claims that leaving the reverse lever separate from the throttle reduces rider confusion and mistakes.
Overall, the new 2022 STX 160 range from Kawasaki makes for a good entry-level jet ski, and it’s one of the more affordable brands. However, we feel that the upgrades are lacking in this model. It’s more of a facelift than a reworking of the model.
Our biggest gripe is the lack of integration of reverse gear into the throttle. Instead, Kawasaki chose to use the external lever system. We like the new JetSound audio system upgrade, but it’s only available on the LX model in the range.
The hull and splash fins are a great innovation, and the new STX will give you the driest ride on the market. However, the upgraded handling is nice, but there’s no change to the motor.
While the new rider position and upgraded paint and decals look great, it’s not doing much to increase the power and performance of this watercraft. Overall, we think that the new 2022 Kawasaki STX 160 range is good, but we feel other brands are worth considering over this model.
If you’re looking for an affordable, high-performance jet ski, we would rather go with the new 2022 Sea-Doo Spark. You get all the benefits of the Kawasaki and more, including onboard braking.