When choosing an outboard for a smaller boat, smooth and quiet almost supersede power, because that motor is likely just an arm’s length away — which is why the new Evinrude E-TEC G2 115 H.O. won me over from the first turn of the key. Evinrude had invited boating media last month to Charleston, SC, to test this new outboard, which makes its official debut today.
The new 1.9-liter, three-cylinder two-stroke motor brings a number of G2 features down from the more-powerful Evinrude G2 V6 models (150- to 300-hp models), including the latest E-TEC direct-injection, two-stroke combustion-chamber shape, digital control and instruments, and available integrated power steering, accomplished by a hydraulic helix that fits neatly into the steering tube. New on this model is a sound-deadening two-piece cowl and a pair of balance gears to tame primary engine vibration, and those features do their job well.
The cowl cancels the “tick, tick, tick” sound of the E-TEC injectors that’s a signature of the V6 G2 models, and any secondary vibration is absorbed by the motor mounts. On an 18-foot 8-inch Blazer Bay 1900, the Evinrude 115 H.O. was as unobtrusive as a good fishing partner. The new Evinrude carries 1.9 gallons of two-stroke injector oil in a reservoir below the powerhead, so there’s no need to find space for an oil tank in the transom.
Power remains a virtue, and the 115 H.O. peaks at about 126 horsepower, competitive with the 2.1-liter Mercury 115 Pro XS and 1.8-liter Yamaha VF115 V-MAX SHO. Evinrude claims a 33 percent advantage in mid-range torque, but the Evinrude weighs about 30 pounds more than the 359-pound Mercury. Weight is not a virtue, especially on bay boats and flats rigs, and may cancel some of that mid-range power bonus. That said, the 115 H.O. popped the Blazer smartly out of the hole.
The 1.9-liter Evinrude G2 is also offered at 140 and 150 horsepower, and at the 150 rating the Evinrude is suddenly svelte, 88 pounds lighter than the 2.8-liter Yamaha F150CA. Only the Evinrude G2 150 model is equipped with R.A.V.E. (Rotax Adjustable Valve Exhaust), a two-position exhaust port that broadens the power band. However, the 150 seemed to lack grunt when asked to push a well-loaded 1,950-pound Key West 203DFS dual-console runabout out of the hole; we waited through a lot of bow rise.
The Yamaha, the 3.0-liter Mercury 150 FourStroke, and the original 2.7-liter V6 Evinrude E-TEC G2 150 H.O. enjoy a big displacement advantage at 150 horsepower, so the 1.9-liter Evinrude 150 might be best-suited for easy-planing, lightweight hulls.
The three Evinrudes also come with a new 4.25-inch gear case and RX3 and RX4 props designed to match the power band. The 115 H.O. and 140 models can be ordered with a tiller, which has digital throttle and shift. All models are offered with a 20- or 25-inch shaft, and there’s a counter-rotating version for the 25-inch models.
Evinrude developed a conversion kit for cable controls, if you just can’t go digital, and white or charcoal cowls can be dressed up with optional colored side panels. The new Evinrude models reach dealers and boat builders after July 1. Pricing has not been revealed.