The Working End
Our tour starts with the most used part of the engine... the tiller. It’s pretty versatile. First, there’s an adjustable height setting. A simple thumb screw under the base of the tiller raises or lowers the height. This went a long way towards keeping my arm from falling asleep. Start and stop buttons are on the right side facing you (assuming you drive with your left hand). The emergency stop lanyard is right next to the start and stop buttons.
Out at the end of the tiller is a trim switch. Just a push of the thumb raises or lowers the trim depending on your speed, and it’s convenient to have it able to be used on the fly. When dropping speed, drop the trim at the same time and virtually eliminate prop ventilation from your maneuvers, all without ever having to reposition your hand.
No more reaching over to the side of the engine to shift gears either. On the Evinrude E-TEC 25, the shift is right on top of the tiller, and shifting is smooth and quiet. But my favorite feature, by far, is the steering tension adjustment. Just slide a lever left or right to loosen or tighten the steering tension. This was a great feature while operating at speed, as it nicely counters the torque effect of the propeller. Second on the favorites list is the throttle tension. No death grip to maintain speed here. Just give the tension adjustment screw a twist and you’re at fingertip controllability. Great combo of features.
For features we didn’t use… well, there was really only one, the mounting bracket steering assembly. This is for those times when you want to use a steering wheel to control your 25. We did it via the tried and true tiller method, so I can’t comment on the steering from that standpoint other than it’s nice to have that feature right there, as opposed to an after-market purchase.
We had the Evinrude E-TEC 25 appropriately mounted to an Alumacraft V16. This was a good match for this size engine and would give us very fair performance numbers. It’s a 16'9" (5.10 m) LOA with a 5’10” (1.78 m) beam boat weighing in at a mere 280 lbs. (94.3 kg). Add in the weight of our gas, test gear, two people, and the Evinrude E-TEC 25 itself, and we had a total test weight of 949 lbs (430 kg).
We reached a top speed of 28.1 mph at 5550 rpm, which turned in a fuel burn of 2.6 gph and an impressive 10.91 mpg... nearly 11 miles per gallon at top speed. Turned back to a more economical best cruise of 4500 rpm, we were running at 21.4 mph and burning a scant 1.4gph… in other words, 14.86 miles per gallon.
For what it’s worth, that meant a range of 80 miles, but that’s not a fair number as we only had a little 6 gallon tank. Your range will vary depending on the size of the tank you carry onboard. The Evinrude E-TEC 25 also had us on plane in 2.7 seconds.
The folks at Evinrude tested the same Evinrude Alumacraft V16 model last year with two techs aboard and got a slightly faster WOT at 31.6 mph in what appears to be similar conditions. Their best cruise was also at 4500 rpms, getting 21.5 mph compared with our 21.4. Interestingly, the Evinrude techs got 16.4 mpg, even better than our 14.86.
I assume -- since we couldn't turn 6000 rpm -- that our prop had a slightly greater pitch which would account for drop in WOT and increase in gph at best cruise. Our time to plane was 2.7 seconds which is about as good as they come and remarkable for a 25-hp engine and confirms what we had been told by prop engineers that the Evinrude 2-stroke has a lot of grunt out of the hole.
So while we weren’t setting the world on fire for speed, we weren’t breaking the bank either. That measly 6 gallon portable tank could have kept us running for well over 4 hours at cruise for less than $20 worth of gas.
In comparing the Evinrude E-TEC 25-HP to some 4-stroke engines we were surprised to discover that the 2-stoke Evinrude was about the same weight as all but one of the competitors. The answer why soon became apparent when was saw that the Evinrude E-TEC 25 had the greatest displacement at 35.3 cu in. (578 cc), and that much of the weight of all of these engines is in the drive train which is pretty much the same be it 2-stroke or 4-stroke. The Evinrude produces 56 Amps of output, compared with 15 amps or less by the other brands.
Add her outstanding features to the mix, and you can see why the Evinrude E-TEC 25 is the little engine that could. And with no scheduled maintenance for 3 years or 300 hours, it becomes the little engine that can and does.