30 years ago American manufacturers dominated the outboard motor market. But while this was going on they were neglecting the lowest of the outboards. These are the outboard motors that sell in the finest of numbers and are frequently the first outboard many of us, purchase. This being the situation many people stick to the exact same brand (brand loyalty) as we buy other larger outboards over recent years. The Japanese seized on this fact and gradually Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and Tohatsu concentrating on small outboards started to take over as market leaders. They realized this mastery by improving efficiency and reliability. Too as adding features to these little outboards formerly only found on larger engines.
Having achieved success within the small outboard market, these Japanese manufacturers expanded up the power range. They again came to control the outboard engine market up to at least 20 hp. The American manufacturers rather than competing with all the Japanese, gave up and determined to purchase these engines from the Japanese and badge them as their own. Now the Chinese have entered the marketplace. Basically doing exactly what the Japanese did previously, replicating the greatest characteristics of the current engines and at the very same time keeping prices down.
So let’s compare the outboards on offer for those seeking an outboard motor for their dinghy. So that every outboard needs to push a relatively heavy weight through the water, if we take a fairly larger dinghy say, a Pioner 12. If all of us then take the following outboard motors:
All these outboards are 4 stroke engines. This is because of an E.U. Directive that keeps 2 strokes from being sold in the E.U. These outboards will provide a fairly broad range of engines on the market, for powering dinghies.
To judge one engine from the another several tests were completed. A Bollard pull test demonstrated that the Mercury 3.5hp and Tohatsu 3.5hp were the most strong at 90lbs of thrust (These two engines combined with the Mariner are virtually indistinguishable). The least effective was the Honda 2.3hp at 66lbs of thrust. In between were the Suzuki 2.5hp at 83lbs of thrust, the Yamaha 2.5hp at 78lbs of thrust and the Parsun 2.6hp at 70 lbs of thrust.
Next test was Fuel Consumption. Cruising the Fuel and also the dinghy was if the throttles were eased Consumption comparison was less apparent, only about 10% difference. All these figures are for 4 stroke engines. However, based on amounts previously recorded for 2 strokes under similar circumstances, the older engines were up to 50% less fuel efficient at full speed. Very thirsty! Recall 2 stroke outboards are still available second hand.