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FOUNDER of Classic Parker Forum
Feb 16, 2006
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Newbury, MA
Unleash the beast ... Suzuki's 300hp OB!

Suzuki introduces the biggest four-stroke yet with a 4-liter V6 that weighs less than the Mercury Verado. Fuel efficiency is impressive, too.

General Motors won’t be making the Hummer H1 anymore, partly because of the sharp criticism over its pitiful gas mileage. The automaker finally came to its senses and realized that mom doesn’t need a tank to drive a half mile to Starbucks.

Suzuki jumps ahead of Mercury in the horsepower race with the new DF300. The Mercury Verado, which tops out at 275 hp, has 25 fewer horses but is 52 pounds heavier and burns more than 3 gallons per hour more at WOT.

While the auto industry is in the midst of downsizing, the marine industry is still stuck in a high-horsepower contest. We now have a 300-hp outboard: the Suzuki DF300. You may be thinking that this is when PBR, a strong proponent of fuel-efficient boat-engine packages, commences bashing Suzuki for Hummerizing the outboard industry.

But it’s not that simple. We tested a pair of DF300s on an Everglades 290cc and were quite pleased at the fuel-burn readings. In fact, when we compared the Suzuki powered Everglades to an identical Everglades with twin 225-hp Hondas, the Suzuki boat was more fuel-efficient at several cruising speeds. Let’s take a closer look.

What We Tested

The DF300 is not a hyped-up version of the 250-hp model, which we’re long-term testing.

"This is a clean-sheet-of-paper design," says David Greenwood, American Suzuki’s senior product development engineer. The 615-pound engine (30-inch shaft) is in the same ballpark weight-wise as some of the other 225- and 250-hp four-strokes. The Yamaha 250 is 608 lbs., the Suzuki DF250 is 591 lbs., the Honda 225 is 610 lbs., and the Yamaha 225 is 596 lbs. The Mercury Verado 250 and 275 are each 667 lbs.

The DF300 uses large gears to handle all that horsepower and torque. The bullet-shaped gearcase has a sharp leading edge and a more streamlined profile to reduce drag.

The engine’s 55-degree V block allows twins to be mounted on 26-inch centers, which is usually called for on older boats.

Suzuki keeps pace with the Mercury Verado by adding fly-by-wire digital controls, throttles, and gauges to the DF300.

What We Found
To us, the most impressive part about the DF300 is its fuel-efficient operation. We drove and recorded performance data on two center console boats powered with the Suzuki DF300: an Everglades 290cc with twin engines and a Key West 268 with a single motor.

We’ll focus on the Everglades because we’ve already tested the same boat with twin Honda BF225s. We took the Honda-powered Everglades data with us on our sea trial of the Everglades with the twin Suzukis. Because we were comparing boats with varying horsepower, it was important to set the boat at the same speeds and record fuel flow and noise. We had this data for the Honda boat at cruise speeds of 32, 41, and 48 mph, so we duplicated these speeds on the Suzuki boat. At 32 mph, the boat with the Suzukis chewed up significantly less fuel than the Honda boat, which translates into decided advantages in mileage (2.1 mph vs. 1.5 mph) and range (381 vs. 268 miles). Wow. The mileage and range gaps decrease as speed increases, but even at the high speed of 48 mph, the Suzuki boat can travel 0.3 miles per gallon farther than the Honda boat, or 14 additional miles per tankful of fuel.

Now let’s compare performance by rpm. At 4500, the Suzukis push the 29-footer at 39.7 mph with an mpg reading of 1.7. The Honda boat achieves only 36.2 mph while getting 1.3 miles to the gallon. The Suzuki boat enjoys the same speed and mileage advantage at 3500 and 4000 rpm, as well. At 5500 rpm, things even out: both pair of engines get 1.2 mpg, but the Suzuki boat is traveling 2.5 mph faster.

Notice that the Hondas hit 36 mph at 4500, but the Suzukis can get there at 4000 rpm. Since the Suzukis aren’t working as hard, their noise levels are three decibels lower than the Honda boat. That extra horsepower packaged in Suzuki’s fuel-efficient engine clearly equates to quieter operation at cruising speed in addition to fuel savings.

It’s also noteworthy that the 300-hp Suzuki (25 gph) burns about 3 gallons per hour less than the 250-hp Mercury Verado (28 gph). We’ve recorded a WOT fuel-flow reading of 22.1 for the Yamaha F250 four-stroke and 24.4 for the 250-hp Evinrude E-TEC two-stroke.

The performance numbers indicate that Suzuki has a winner with the DF300. But since this is a "clean-sheet-of-paper" design, the engine will have to prove itself in the field.

The main knock against Suzuki over the years has been a limited dealer network. Suzuki says it now has 825 dealers, up from 776 in 2005, and has agreements to sell engines through 100 boatbuilders. The DF300’s MSRP is steep: nearly $24,000. That’s $3,350 more than the 275-hp Verado, which comes in at $20,650. As we reported last month, Suzuki has been aggressively pricing its 150s and 175s when packaged with production boats. With the DF300’s high MSRP, we certainly hope that trend continues.

Contact - Suzuki, 714/572-1490,

Guesstimated street price will be $18.5K ...

So Dale... is this your next motor?

Guesstimated street price will be $18.5K ... :cry: