Volvo Penta - D6-435 (435-hp)

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Captain's Report

If you had asked me ten years ago what I thought of a Volvo marine diesel, I would have told you that it belongs on a farm tractor in Sweden, not on a boat. The last few years have seen a marked change. So much change, in fact, that I’ve become a real fan of the engines coming off of Volvo’s production lines. And it’s not only me. As a professional yacht captain and a marine surveyor, I get the chance to hear lots of scuttlebutt. From owners to brokers to mechanics, it seems that all I hear are positive comments about these motors.

The latest in design features include common rail fuel injection, double overhead camshafts, and 4 valves per cylinder. If that’s not enough, take a look at the spec sheet; there’s a lot more to give the tech guys plenty to debate over. And let’s agree to let the analysts compare the performance numbers. What I saw on the Cruisers 447 Sport Sedan was enough to impress me. But let’s cut to the chase. Let me tell about the practical aspects of Volvo’s D6-435.

Not only does the EVC system (Electronic Vessel Control) offer superior diesel performance, but the displays are user-friendly and the control levers are smooth and accurate. They make shifting through forward and reverse around the dock worry-free. And underway, the low emissions make you think twice about whether you’re on a diesel-powered yacht. As for service, take a look for yourself. Daily engine fluid checks are simple, and I love the raw water strainer placement- its right on the top of the engine. I wonder why it took so long to figure this one out!

On the negative side, as little as it is, I did have a shift actuator malfunction on me once. It wasn’t fun to try to shift the engine using a screwdriver. But I can’t say that over a thirty year career I’ve never had an old-fashioned mechanical linkage problem either. Stuff happens. But the good news is that Volvo’s authorized service reps always seem to know the product.

Overall, I give the Volvo Penta D6-435 top ratings in the field. The company seems to have made a real serious effort to do things right, and it seems to be working.