This summer BRP announced four new outboard motors in its Evinrude E-Tec line-up and will start delivery on them in the fall. Three of the new models are specifically designed for pontoon boats, catering to one of the fastest growing boating categories. The other new model is the high performance 90 HO E-Tec. I recently got to try out these new motors on a large lake near Orlando, Florida and was impressed with the results.
The Evinrude 90 HO E-Tec was installed on the newly appointed 2014 Carolina Skiff 198 DLV. The boat is a well-equipped Bay/Flats Skiff and weighs 1660 lbs dry without the motor – a relatively light boat for the length. The motor added another 390lbs to the rig. The skiff is rated for a maximum of 115 HP and one would expect a 90 HO to push the boat along adequately but lack the performance of a 115. Wrong. The 105.4 cubic inch displacement V4 direct injected engine performed and felt like it was a larger engine.
Evinrude claims that the output of the engine is actually 10% more than its decal rating and it certainly felt that way. The classic attributes that two strokes are famous for played true with the 90 HO. It was very strong in low-end power, making this an engine more than capable of pulling wake boarders, skiers or tubes with ease. Fast hole shots were not a surprise but the noticeable power and acceleration even at higher RPMs was.
This motor is definitely not the two-stroke of yesteryear. The motor is quiet at idle and also at speed. It runs clean and efficient and burns very little oil. Emissions are lower than some four-strokes and fuel consumption is miserly. When run with a nearly full tank and two men, at the low end of the spectrum at 500 RPM moving along at 2.2 miles per hour, consumption was 0.10 gallons per hour, or 22 miles per gallon. The best fuel economy at cruising speed that day was at 3000 RPM and 16.6 miles per hour, obtaining 4.8 miles per gallon or 3.45 gallons per hour. At the highest RPMs of 5850 top speed was 42 miles per hour, burning 11 gallons per hour and 3.8 miles per gallon. Performance also applies to the standard high output alternator that will ensure your batteries remain charged.
The 90 HO is a strong, efficient, high performance mid-range engine that is a good value. You are buying a 90 with all its efficiencies but getting the performance of a larger motor. With features such as easy winterizing and a three-year warranty without the headaches of required four-stroke service this motor is sure to be a hit.
Another boat that was available for testing was a 2014 Sylvan 8522 Pontoon powered with an all-new 2014 E-Tec 90 HP Pontoon Series in-line 3 cylinder outboard. Although not one of Evinrude’s HO series this motor has impressive performance. Built from the ground up specifically for pontoon boats the 90, 115 and 150 HP options all have advanced motor mounts that are designed to reduce vibration (Evinrude claims up to 40 %) and make the ride more comfortable. Gear ratios were also optimized to give greater thrust, improving acceleration and throttle response. Another feature these pontoon specific motors have is a remote oil tank, making filling that much easier and more convenient.
Performance on test day for the 90 HP Pontoon Series on the Sylvan pontoon was impressive for such a “big” pontoon motor. Pushing the 2295 pound 23 footer along at 800 RPM and 2.3 miles per hour the 320 pound motor was sipping fuel at 0.10 gallons per hour and getting 22.5 miles per gallon. Best fuel efficiency at cruising speed with 30 gallons of fuel and two men was obtained at 3500 RPM or 13.5 miles per hour, consuming 3.2 gallons per hour and getting 4.2 miles per gallon, giving the boat a range of 113 miles at that speed. Maximum RPMS that day were 5400 RPM and 25.4 miles per hour. Fuel consumption at full throttle was 7.4 gallons per hour and 3.4 miles per gallon, with a range of 92 miles. It took 4 seconds to plane, which is impressive for this kind of craft. Combine this performance with all the other attributes the E-Tech line is famous for and you are going to see a lot of these engines on the back of pontoons everywhere.
Evinrude has added to its already very successful line of trend breaking clean, efficient and powerful two-stroke motors. As more people see how well these lightweight engines perform and how easy maintenance is, they are sure to be a success.