2017 Outboard Motor Buyer’s Guide - The Fisherman

2017 Outboard Motor Buyer’s Guide

With the economy showing some signs of life and the price of gasoline still relatively affordable, it’s time to consider getting that new boat and motor, or possibly repowering an old favorite. Here are some of the newest outboards to be seen at a marina near you.

Mercury

2017 1 Outboard Motor Buyers Guide Mercury 115 Pro XS Four Stroke

The Mercury 115 Pro XS was introduced at last season’s Miami International Boat Show and is perfect for a variety of coastal craft ranging from 17 to 20 feet. Based on the popular Mercury 115 FourStroke, the new Mercury 115 Pro XS delivers significantly better performance than any other high-output 115-horsepower outboard on the market today. In fact, the new 115 Pro XS is 16 pounds lighter than the two-stoke direct injected 115 OptiMax that it replaces, plus it’s 18-pounds lighter than the nearest 115-horsepower engine from this year’s competitive crop. The relatively large 2.1-liter displacement delivers higher torque, better performance and greater durability via an eight valve, single overhead cam design.

Building on its Pro XS heritage, the new 115 Pro XS was intelligently designed to provide fresh and saltwater anglers with exactly what they’ve been asking for, an outboard that is light and second to none in performance. It delivers faster top speeds, up to 3-mph faster than its nearest competitor and more than 1-mph faster than Mercury’s standard 115 FourStroke. The 115 Pro XS FourStroke’s higher rpm range (5300-6300) offers improved performance out of an already-powerful engine. It accelerates faster than Mercury’s standard 115 FourStroke and has the ability to run lower-pitch props for faster hole shots. Increasing engine rpm from 6000 to 6300 revs allows prop pitch to be reduced, resulting in real performance benefits. The new Idle Charge feature provides up to 48 percent more battery charging power at idle speed to support the greater power demands of today’s sophisticated marine electronics.

The available Command Thrust gearcase option makes this engine compatible with Mercury’s larger-diameter propellers that help the engine deliver improved performance and lift heavy boats on plane easier and hold them there at lower speeds. The Mercury 115 Pro XS is available with either a 20-inch or 25-inch shaft length. I am seriously considering one of these for my 18-foot bay boat. For more information, visit www.mercurymarine.com.

Yamaha

2017 1 Outboard Motor Buyers Guide Yamaha F250 V6 PortYamaha recently introduced new mechanical control versions of its proven F225 and F250 4.2-liter V6 Offshore outboards, available as the F250XB in both left and right-hand rotation, and the F225XB in right-hand rotation only. Whether you choose digital electronic control or the new mechanical control F250/F225, you get the same features, power and performance inside. Yamaha’s 4.2-liter offshore models have big-bore V6 displacement thanks to plasma-fused sleeveless cylinders. This technology increases displacement without enlarging the outer diameter of the cylinder bores, resulting in an outboard with the largest displacement in its class.

An electronically controlled single throttle valve and Precision Multi-Point Electronic Fuel Injection makes these outboards up to 17 percent more fuel efficient. These V6 Offshore mechanical outboards are more than 50 pounds lighter than the venerable Yamaha 3.3-liter V6s. In addition, they offer better low- and mid-range punch and better fuel efficiency. When repowering with the Yamaha 4.2-liter V6 Mechanicals, there is typically no need to change over to a new control box, thus providing an economical solution for work boats or other craft where digital control is not needed.

Also new for 2017 is Yamaha’s big-block 5.3-liter V8 F350C. When introduced back in 2007, the Yamaha F350 redefined offshore power. Finally, a manufacturer was offering an outboard with the push and raw thrust necessary for driving heavier, larger offshore boats. Thousands of F350 outboards later, Yamaha has upgraded this proven performer with the launch of the F350C, a premier offshore outboard that offers all the benefits of the original with additional refinements and five full years of limited warranty coverage.

Helm Master, Yamaha’s fully integrated boat control system, supports F350C twin, triple and now quad outboard applications, making the latest Yamaha boat control technology available for boats that exceed 40 feet in length. Helm Master not only makes docking easier, it also incorporates automatic outboard trim, speed control and automatic steering friction control. For more information, visit www.yamahaoutboards.com.

Tohatsu

2017 1 Outboard Motor Buyers Guide Tohatsu 50 Four Stroke

Two of the newest Tohatsu outboards are the MFS 40 and MFS 50 four-strokes. These EFI four-strokes are some of the lightest outboards in their class, tipping the scales at a relatively svelte 209 pounds. These twins are equipped with proven technology, including electronic fuel injection (EFI) and digital CD ignition, which provides quick throttle response and excellent fuel economy. A high-output 21-amp alternator offers superior battery charging. The adjustable steering friction and trim tab reduces the amount of steering effort, making for an easier and more enjoyable boating experience. Convenience is also covered with a built-in freshwater flushing system, making routine flushing quick and easy. Both of these four-stroke outboards are available in short (15-inch) and long (20-inch) shaft lengths and are ultra-low 3-star CARB emission approved.

A new and improved gear case featuring a lower gear ratio increases low end torque, plus the built-in power trim and tilt makes these outboards a dream to handle on a variety of craft. A variable idling speed control that ranges from 650 to 950 rpm will enable anglers to fine-tune their precise fish-catching trolling speeds in a variety of water and tidal conditions. A camshaft-driven trochoid oil pump ensures long-term durability of critical engine components and the stainless steel water pump housing liner enhances long-term durability. Low oil pressure and overheat warning (visual and audible) help keep the operator apprised of the current engine status, along with a battery voltage warning (visual only). Both the MFS 40 and MFS 50 four-strokes feature start-in-gear protection for safer engine starting, along with a built-in over-rev limiter. All Tohatsu outboard motors are backed by a limited 5-year warranty.
For more information, visit www.tohatsu.com.

Suzuki

2017 1 Outboard Motor Buyers Guide Suzuki DF175APSuzuki showcased their new DF150AP and DF175AP at the recent Ft Lauderdale Boat show. These innovative in-line, four-cylinder, four-stroke outboards feature Suzuki Precision Control drive-by-wire throttle and shift, as well as Suzuki’s innovative Selective Rotation gear case. The new DF150AP and DF175AP share their engineering DNA with Suzuki’s popular DF200AP. These three engines are all built off of the same 175-cubic inch displacement, inline-four cylinder engine block. Engine performance is enhanced by a 10.2:1 compression ratio that generates optimal power, contributing to an impressive hole-shot and mid-range acceleration.

Suzuki’s exclusive Selective Rotation uses a specially-designed gear case capable of either standard or counter rotation. When the outboard is installed, the dealer or boat builder simply programs the outboard to either standard or counter rotation. This eliminates the need to stock separate left and right hand rotation models and provides the consumer with an outboard that can easily be changed when it’s time to upgrade.

The DF150AP and DF175AP feature onboard systems to manage engine operations and improve durability and reliability. An Oxygen (O2) Sensor Feedback Control System allows the CPU to precisely manage fuel/air mixture so the engine can continually maintain peak operating efficiency and optimal fuel economy. A Knock Sensor tracks engine timing in order to maximize power output and increase engine durability. Like several other Suzuki outboards, the crankshaft of the AP-series outboard engines is offset from the drive shaft. This design allows for a two-stage gear reduction and delivers more power and torque at the prop so larger diameter, higher pitched props can be used for more powerful hole shots and impressive top-end speeds. Variable Valve Timing (VVT) and Multi-Stage Induction work together to provide maximum power output, torque, acceleration and fuel economy across a wide rpm range. These new engines will be available in Suzuki’s popular cool white, as well as their new pearl nebular black color. For more information, visit www.suzukimarine.com.

Evinrude

2017 1 Outboard Motor Buyers Guide EvinrudeRecently launched at their annual meeting, Evinrude’s new G2 E-TEC two-stroke outboards bring an enhanced level of performance and cutting edge technology to anglers looking for power options in the 150- to 200-horsepower class. Evinrude’s next wave of G2 (generation 2) outboards include the following new models: 150, 150 HO, 175 and 200 horsepower. All four models are based on a 66-degree V-6 block that displaces 167 cubic inches/2.7 liters.

Like the larger 210-cubic inch/3.4-liter G2 V-6 two-stroke outboards that were introduced a few seasons back, this latest class of downsized G2s offer some truly unique features that will definitely appeal to coastal anglers. The new 150- to 200-horsepower G2 outboards incorporate integrated hydraulic steering, power steering, a next-gen internal power tilt/trim unit, a 3-gallon on-engine oil reservoir (with optional 10-gallon, 3-gallon and 1.8-gallon remote tanks) and can run all day long on 87-octane E-10 gasoline. You can power a full suite of electronics and charge up your batteries with a 133-amp alternator (with 50 amps dedicated to battery charging) that produces 14 amps at idle. These new E-TEC G2 engines offer the first and only customizable look, the only clean rigging and fully integrated digital controls. Consumers can choose the absolute perfect combination of boat and engine by selecting top and front panels, as well as accent colors that match their boat.

BRP’s next generation of Evinrude E-TEC engines feature no break-in period, a handy auto storage/winterization feature, no oil changes and they are backed by one of the industry’s best engine warranties and least demanding maintenance schedule. BRP is the only outboard manufacturer offering a 5-5-5 program, with a 5-year engine warranty, 5-year anti-corrosion warranty, and 5-year/500 hours with no dealer-scheduled maintenance, allowing for the most hassle-free time on the water. For more information on Evinrude’s new G2 E-TEC outboards, visit www.brp.com.

Honda

2017 1 Outboard Motor Buyers Guide Honda BF100Honda’s latest four-strokes include new mini outboards of 4, 5 and 6 horsepower, in addition to a nifty BF100 that is an excellent power solution for a wide range of flats, skiffs and bay boats in the 17- to 20-foot range. The Honda BF100 incorporates numerous innovative, advanced design elements. One of these is Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC), which utilizes mild cam lobes to operate intake valves at low rpm, then engages a high-output lobe for higher-rpm operation. The design provides a unique blend of power, torque and efficiency at any speed. VTEC technology offers a broad, flat torque curve and smooth power delivery throughout the engine’s entire operating range, allowing the operator to enjoy outstanding performance and impressive fuel efficiency.

With a full-throttle rpm range of 5500 to 6300, the Honda BF100 is a high-performance, 4-cylinder, 1.5-liter (91.4-CID) four-stroke outboard engine weighing in at a lean 366 pounds. Although the BF100 uses the same block as her little sisters the BF75 and BF90, she is designed to rev higher and produces her full potential using 93-octane premium gasoline. The design and technology applied to the new Honda mid-range marine engine is the very same that powers Honda automobiles such as the Accord, CR-V, Civic, Fit, Odyssey, and Pilot.

This cross-platform integration of technology illustrates the Honda commitment to high performance, fuel efficiency and environmental excellence.

Superior battery charging is achieved with the Honda exclusive neodymium magnet flywheel, producing 44 total amps and 35 battery charging amps. A new, high performance gear case reduces drag, minimizes hull porpoising and reduces spray, which applies more of the generated propshaft power to increase acceleration and top end speed. All new Honda outboard engines sold for recreational use, including the new BF100, offer an industry-best True 5-year, non-declining limited factory warranty that is the same on the last day as it is on the first.
For more information, visit www.marine.honda.com.

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