WANT RED-HOT ACCELERATION in a midsized outboard? Try an E-TEC 175 -- we ran one on a J&H Performance B210, and it launched the 1,400-pound bay boat out of the hole so fast that my ear-to-ear grin stretched back to the nape of my neck.
Holeshot is one reason people opt for two-strokes these days, but this NMEA-2000 compliant, 2.6L V-6, 158-cid powerplant has another ace up its sleeve: low weight. It tips the scales at only 419 pounds, which is a hair lighter than the 431-pound two-stroke Mercury OptiMax 175 and significantly less than Yahama's two-stroke 175 HPDI VMAX, which weighs 468 pounds. How does that match up to a four-stroke powerplant? A 175-hp Verado is 510 pounds, and a Suzuki DF 175 is 474 pounds.
Of course, a modern two-stroke must live up to modern fuel efficiency standards, and the E-TEC 175 is Three Star certified, meaning it meets the California Air Resources Board emissions standards for 2008. Cruising at 4500 rpm, that translated into a 12.2-gph fuel burn. At full throttle (5900 rpm), we burned just a little more than 17 gph. Considering we were doing 50 mph at the time, which makes for nearly 3 mpg, that's pretty sweet. The reason is the E-TEC's high-pressure injection system, which ensures a complete, clean fuel burn. It atomizes fuel as it gets shot into the cylinder at up to 700 psi through a nozzle that "swirls" the fuel into the combustion chamber. Pressure is built via a magnetized coil.
Like all E-TECs, the 175 is touted by Evinrude as needing no maintenance for the first three years. The company also claims that the acoustically tuned intakes keep engine sound levels down -- after a day at the helm you'll agree. Although they're not as quiet as four-strokes at idle or in the low rpm range, the new E-TECs aren't half as loud as old-tech two-strokes, and once you're on plane, most of the motor noise is drowned out by the wind.
Who's going to opt for the E-TEC? On our test boat, as is often the case with bay boats designed to prowl the shallows, a fast holeshot and minimal weight at the transom are key, and this powerplant satisfies both criteria. This not only helps the boat get on plane in skinny water, but also minimizes bowrise as you get there. Another group of boaters who will be interested in the 175 are freshwater hawg-hunters running midsized bass boats, which also require kick-in-the-pants acceleration and minimum weight. There's a third crowd of folks who will be enamored with the 175 E-TEC: fun lovers. The instant acceleration and zippy midrange performance are just plain fun to experience from the helm. Don't believe me? Then just look at someone who's running one -- I'll bet dollars to doughnuts he'll be grinning from ear to ear.
MSRP $15,370 ****
Contact: 847.689.7090 www.evinrude.com