Honda 115 Redux

Honda's 115 is rugged, smooth and speedy.

Honda first released a 115 more than 10 years ago, but it was one of the heaviest, if not the heaviest, four-strokes on the market. It still is, but with some proprietary tweaks and twists, Honda has slimmed this workhorse outboard and offers several other improvements in the process to make it a lively competitor. There's more on the menu than just fuel economy and the new trimmed weight, though.

First, while some marine engine makers claim purpose-built marine engines, Honda chooses to lead from the inarguable success of its automotive lineup to find marine-appropriate blocks. The Accord’s 2.4- liter has been keeping auto customers happy for years, and what better platform from which to draw for the new 115 outboard than this engine?

With the Accord block, Honda lifted cool things, such as a dual overhead-cam design that gives more valve lift for better fuel and air flow to improve power and efficiency. The engine also sports a counterbalanced crankshaft for ultra-smooth running.

The electronic control module is mapped to advance timing when you punch the throttle, beefing up acceleration until the speed levels out. Honda calls this function BLAST for boosted low-speed torque.

For economical running, the engine then employs “lean burn control,” which Honda says improved fuel economy over its previous model by 19 percent. In our test, on a Pioneer 180 bay boat, the most fuel-efficient cruise speed was 20.5 mph at 3,500 rpm. We got better than 5.5 mpg at that speed. Pretty sweet. And, at 4,500 rpm and 30 mph, we still got 5.2 mpg for those who enjoy economy at a higher speed.

Honda throws in a five-year non-declining warranty to make the most of its reputation for reliability.