Contents of Report
The Mako 284 CC is a center console that is built to fish and the new Mercury Verado 4.6L V-8 300-hp outboards we tested help her do that even better. The boat’s deck layout is designed first and foremost to fish, with rod racks under the gunwales, large 390-quart in-deck fishboxes, additional in-deck stowage, a livewell and tackle stowage, and a T-top with overhead electronics box, rocket launcher rod holders, grab handles for sporty conditions, and a design suited to simplify outrigger installation.
But the new Mercury 4.6L V-8 Verado outboards take her to the next level, with performance and efficiency that matches very well with a deep-V hull with a 21-degree deadrise at the transom. The Mercury Verado 300s are electronically controlled and offer many innovative features that let the operator focus on fishing, driving, or family. The outboards optimize the boat-and-engine package for every application, from high-speed runs to the fishing grounds in sporty conditions to trolling offshore to dayboating when an angler decides to give the fish a rest.
The Mako 284 CC is a classic center console and is one of the most popular and time-tested offshore vessels of her type. She has a 21-degree deadrise at the transom which is a fair compromise between ride and speed. Our test boat measured 28’4” (8.64 m) in LOA with a beam of 9’10” (2.99 m). With 50% fuel, gear and two people aboard, we had an estimated test weight of 8,284 lbs. (3,758 kg). Our twin 300-hp Verados were turning 19” Rev 4 ss props.
Top speed was found to be at 6000 rpm and 55.9 mph where she got a total of 1.2 mpg. Best cruise came at 3500 rpm and 28.8 mph. There she burned 14.0 gph for 2.1 mpg and a range of 423 statute miles from her 228 gallon (863 L) tank, with a calculated 10% reserve of fuel. This is a remarkable range for this type and size of boat.
Faster Cruising. Some boaters may want to cruise a bit faster, however, and at 4000 rpm, the Mako 284 CC achieved a cruise speed of 34.9 mph, burning 18.8 gph for 1.9 mpg. At that speed her range is 381 statute miles.
Hole shot times were equally impressive. The Mako 284 CC hit 20 mph in 3.5 seconds, and 30 mph in 5.4 seconds. This no doubt had much to do with her 4-blade props. Likewise, the boat no doubt would have had a higher top end with three-blade props.
Compared to . . . Herself
We went looking to compare the performance of this Mako 284 CC with the new Mercury Verado 300s with other boats in class. We found the ideal comparison: The Mako 284 CC with the old Mercury Verado 300s. Our test of that boat indicated a top speed of 54.5 mph and a fuel efficiency of 0.9 mpg. The WOT fuel burn of that boat was 59.6 gph and the range at that speed was 187 statute miles.
Cruise Speed Revealed Some Other Details. Since the old Verados gave the Mako 284 CC a best cruise at 3500 rpm and a slightly better speed of 30.3 mph, the range was 365 statute miles, compared with the new Verados with a range of 423 statute miles.
We expect a lot from Makos regarding handling and the 284 CC does not disappoint. She’s a great handling boat, and very responsive to the helm. The boat can be trimmed with the engines to achieve a proper running angle – there was no need to use the recessed trim tabs unless we wanted to balance out an uneven load. She turns like she’s on rails. No amount of maneuvering caused the props to ventilate. In sharp turns she bleeds off speed, but that allows precise course selection for the next straight-line leg. At high speed, she will easily out-corner the operator, so a light touch is recommended to keep everyone comfortable and in their seats. Dialing back the throttle she settles back into the water stern-first, a very comfortable ride.
Equipped with the Mercury Joystick Piloting for Outboards, a system exclusively available to the Verado in multiple-outboard installations, the Mako 284 CC was very well mannered around the dock. She responded well to joystick commands and easily crabbed sideways to sidle easily up against the concrete seawall in our test.
Mercury Verado 4.6L V-8 300-hp Outboards
Much of the innovative design of the 4.6-liter V8 Verado comes from the mandate for the new line: It had to be powerful, have high torque at the low end, be lightweight, quiet, and efficient. Consider that the 4.6-liter V8 is 2 liters greater than the supercharged 2.6-liter displacement of the inline-6 Mercury and yet it weighs 35 lbs. (16 kg) less. Displacement is one way to generate more torque in a 4-stroke engine, a job that the supercharger fulfilled in the L6 2.6L models. The double-overhead cam design, with four valves per cylinder, combines with an enlarged intake to deliver plenty of air and fuel when it’s needed.
The Fuel-Injection System
The new Verados use two intake valves to charge each cylinder, with the injector for each cylinder positioned between them in the intake manifold. We asked Mercury why the injectors were placed in the manifolds instead of in the cylinders themselves. The answer: “A port fuel injection (PFI) system has many advantages, chief among those being simplicity, reliability, and cost,” says Brian Meyer, category manager for 75+ hp outboards for Mercury Marine. “Direct injection (DI) systems certainly can improve fuel economy and performance of an engine. However, Mercury has chosen to address the performance needs of our customers by optimizing the displacement and efficiency of our PFI engine, while also employing our Advanced Range Optimization (ARO) technology. We believe that the ARO system yields comparable improvements in fuel economy to a DI fuel system at a significantly lower cost.”
Innovative Exhaust System
This is one of the most innovative aspects of the engine because it reduces the width of the engine, reduces its weight, and helps contain engine noise – all with one design. The exhaust manifold is in the middle of the V, instead of being on the outside. It is then routed from the top of the engine, down the centerline, between each side of the V of the engine. This allowed Mercury to keep the cowl width slimmer so that the outboard could be installed on 26” (.66 m) centers – 2.5” less than on the Yamaha V-6.
The exhaust-system design uses a multi-chamber muffler system located beneath the “chaps,” as the manufacturer calls the panels on either side of the midsection. The muffler chambers connect the main exhaust passage to the idle relief port, and include an electronically controlled bypass valve.
Boating is meant to be fun, and sometimes boaters want to hear the throaty growl of a V-8 (or two), letting everyone know they’re there. Mercury designed the Verado to be exceptionally quiet, and never is that more apparent than when using a setting called Sport Exhaust. When this Advanced Sound Control is turned on via the VesselView touchscreen, the system routes exhaust through the idle relief and one of the two mufflers.
Let’s Rumble. Advanced Sound Control creates an unmistakable throaty rumble that’s been tweaked to impress friends and neighbors and call attention to the new outboards – to say nothing of the boat’s proud owner. And when it is toggled off, the outboards sounded even quieter than we initially thought. It’s a system that Mercury says has never been offered on an outboard before.
Top Cowl Service Door
Perhaps one of the more noteworthy features on the Verado is the watertight hatch in the top of the cowl to provide access to the dipstick as well as the oil fill. There’s a decal outlining service requirements along with a QR code to allow a smartphone to link to additional service information.
Under the top cowl service door, there’s a handle that lifts with a red button. Lifting that handle releases the latches all around the cowl, so it can be lifted off easily.
Ease of Maintenance
Once the cowl is removed, many service points are apparent. The oil filter is easy to spot near the fuse box on the port side. The spark plugs are arrayed in neat columns aft and the fuel filter is handy there as well, on the starboard side.
More “Net” Amps than Any Engine in Class
The Verado Series V8 has a 115-amp alternator as standard equipment. But the name of the game is “net amps” – the amps left over from the running of the engine to power onboard accessories, electronics, and to keep the batteries fully charged. At WOT these alternators produce 90 net amps, we’re told. At high cruising speeds, they produce 65 net amps. These are high numbers and are important for owners of well-equipped boats, particularly the larger cruising boats that are now being fitted with outboard engines. But, that’s not all…
Idle Charge Battery Management
At idle, the alternator provides 20 “net” amps for the boat. Simply put, the engine-management system detects when the batteries drop below acceptable levels due to increased power draw.
Today’s boats have more electrical and electronic devices on board than ever before, and they all require a flow of clean juice to keep operating properly. Whether the onboard systems are charging trolling-motor batteries, keeping the sound system thumping, or running big-screen helm electronics, including a chart plotter, CHIRP sounder, and radar, the system increases idle rpm to boost alternator output, to help charge batteries to compensate for power draw.
When the system detects that the alternator is not providing enough power, the idle level increased incrementally from 600 rpm to around 800, to get to the next level on the curve of the alternator. In this mode, it can deliver up to 30 amps of usable power to the house batteries. While the engine is revving slightly higher, it’s still at a speed where it’s able to shift.
Lower Unit Gears
The robust 5.4” gearcase is an evolution of the one that has been used on previous Verado models and has proven itself in tens of thousands of hours of rugged use over the last few years.
Adaptive Speed Control
This proprietary system maintains engine speed regardless of condition, and Mercury has the system patented. The idea is that the rpm remains constant even when seas are rough, or a tow sport requires steady power. Adaptive Speed Control is a function of the ECU, where operator demand and engine load are measured and the electronic throttle position is adjusted. It is standard.
Advanced Range Optimization – Improves Fuel Efficiency
Because the Verado uses a digital throttle control, it can also improve its own fuel economy. It begins when the system detects a steady-state mode, where the driver isn’t adjusting the throttle constantly. Once the operator leaves the throttle alone for a few moments, the closed-loop wide-band O2 sensor can help the digital control tune the throttle plate and the spark to lean out the fuel burn to maximize fuel economy, optimizing the boat’s range.
The Verado is rigged standard with SmartCraft Digital Throttle and Shift (DTS), which gives the responsive control by wire. In multiple-outboard installations, Joystick Piloting for Outboards can be made part of the Verado package, offering simple fingertip control around the dock.
A Note About Active Trim
While expert drivers may sneer at the idea of the optional Active Trim, it has been shown to work in our testing, and can even offer something to those who may think their feel for boat trim is more effective than that of a computer: Active trim synchs up the trim of the engines, letting the expert trimmer tune the rig more effectively, rather than dealing with trim motors that adjust the engines at varying rates in a multiple-outboard installation.
The Verado has received a three-star emission rating from CARB, and is compliant to the U.S. and E.U. regulations as well, all on one calibration.
Mercury Marine’s Corrosion-Resistant Aluminum Alloy
Historically, outboard engines in salt water have suffered from corrosion. When electrons flow through dissimilar metals the weaker metal is eaten away or corrodes. Outboard engine blocks, cylinder heads, gear cases, driveshaft housings and swivel brackets are made out of an aluminum alloy by all manufacturers. But all aluminum alloys are not the same.
Low-Copper Alloy is Key. Mercury's die-cast components, are all made from XK360 aluminum-silicon alloy. The same goes for the new 4.6L block of this outboard platform, which is made with a high-pressure die-casting in a 4,500-ton press, which is among the largest in the world. This process shows significant investment by Mercury and contributes to the weight loss of the new engines.
Mercury is generally regarded to have the best corrosion-resistant alloy in the recreational marine industry.
The new V8 Verado has been designed to keep its noise to itself. The design starts blocking noise with the cowling – and the Verado has more sound abatement qualities than the other models, we’re told. The entire outboard is sealed to keep engine noise in. The engines all use an air intake that’s baffled to be quieter. Mercury has been using a variant of this design since it introduced the first generation Verado, and it works.
All of the lightweight parts used were designed to also keep sound in, including the plastic valve covers to mask the noise of the valves and injectors.
Another way to keep the outboard quiet is to engineer less internal friction into its design. Mercury says its engineers designed the oil-flow scheme and sized the bearings with this in mind.
Mercury looked closely at the mounting system on the mid-section of the outboard and calculated where the vibration comes from on the engine. Engineers determined the vectors of vibrational force, i.e., whether the vibration is moving fore and aft, or athwartships, or some angle in between. The engineers then designed the mounts to offset that vibration at a suitable angle. Because of this analysis, the mounts can be engineered to be firmer, rather than just softer to damp any vibration – and in this way they are also designed to maximize engine performance, says Mercury.
The new Verado has what Mercury calls an Advanced MidSection (AMS). It is a step up from the Conventional MidSection (CMS) used on the other Mercury outboards, and it is a next-generation version of the mounting system initially developed for the L6 Verado. The AMS uses perimeter mounts to damp vibration and contain noise, and it has a multi-piece welded structure that reduces its size and weight. This allows the Verado outboards to have electro-hydraulic steering, and makes them compatible with the company’s Joystick Piloting system in multiple-outboard setups. The Verado outboards are standard with Mercury’s Digital Throttle and Shift controls.
Only the Verado among the new outboard engines that Mercury has introduced as the “electro-hydraulic” steering system. This is part of the outboard engine and is not an aftermarket, vendor-supplied piece of equipment, such as the SeaStar hydraulic steering system that we see on most outboard engines in class.
The advantages of this system are that it has been engineered by Mercury for this specific application and is not a one-design-fits-all piece of equipment. It is also made with Mercury’s corrosion-resistant materials, and is smaller than a SeaStar-type unit. Most important, it integrates with the Mercury joystick system.
Choice of Colors
Mercury offers a variety of color choices with the Verado and has three shades of white – Cold Fusion White, Warm Fusion White, and Pearl Fusion White — better to match variations on fiberglass and gelcoat used by boatbuilders in addition to its traditional Phantom Black outboard color.
There’s also an accent panel that comes in four colors – Pacific Blue, Graphite Grey, Redline Red, and Mercury Silver – plus a ready-to-paint accent-panel option that boatbuilders and dealers will use to custom-match a hull color.
VesselView Simrad Electronics Integration
The propulsion system diagnostics are integrated into the Mercury VesselView display, which is a Simrad unit rebadged for Mercury. Some boats will be able to integrate the engines into the Simrad helm electronics and not require a standalone display. The Simrad units have a specific, branded Mercury engine page. Screen sizes run from 7” to 24” (.18 m to .61 m).
The touchscreen unit lets the user tap with a fingertip to open a display window on the left side of the helm screen with a number of data categories which can be set to display consistently across all functions, including chartplotter, fishfinder, and radar displays. Speed data is available and any tap will bring out more detailed information. The display screen also offers analog-looking gauge treatments.
Advanced Features Electronic Control
The Simrad-Mercury VesselView interface allows the operator to set Mercury’s proprietary electronic control features, including Cruise Control, which allows the user to set a speed or rpm and have the engine maintain it, and Troll Control, which will let the engines slow-troll down to 550 rpm. Additionally, the Active Trim system can be set to tune engine trim to optimize efficiency.
Mercury’s Skyhook Advanced is also available, with different settings that allow different levels of control in specific situations and are easily downloaded via Wi-Fi connection – and advantage over the competitive brands that require dealer installation.
- • Heading Adjust lets joystick users adjust the heading in 1- and 10-degree increments while using Skyhook, for precise control.
- • BowHook maintains a boat’s position, while unlocking the boat from a set heading. This allows the boat to find the best position to minimize engine use while station keeping, in relation to wind and current.
- • DriftHook will maintain the boat’s heading, but let the boat drift, allowing the same 1- and 10-degree increments while drifting, if Heading Adjust is also on the system.
For in-depth descriptions of these features and videos showing how they work, see the “Control” model pages under the Mercury heading in BoatTEST’s engine scroll down. http://www.boattest.com/engine-review/Mercury
Remote Oil Checks
Mercury’s VesselView engine monitor helm display lets the user know the oil level is fine prior to the first startup of the day. This feature is standard on Verado V-8 models.
The system only works if the engines are in the down position and the oil temperature indicates the engine is cold, since a tipped-up engine or one that is warm wouldn’t get an accurate reading, so it works for the first start of the day, rather than each time engines are started throughout the day.
Now let’s take a closer look at the features on the Mako 284 CC.
The bow has benches to either side with lockers beneath. Located on the forward end of the console, there’s a seat with cushioned backrest, cup holders, and grab handles integrated into the T-top frame. The bow area measures 34” (.86 m) wide at its forward end and 6’10” (2.08 m) wide at the aft end of the benches, which are 15” (.38 m) tall from the deck. There’s a 27” (.68 m) deep in-deck locker with a 470-quart (445 L) capacity. A filler deck piece can be added at the forward end to make a usable casting platform.
The foredeck is finished in nonskid and has a 10” cleat served by fairleads for a mooring bridle or anchor line. The nonskid continues all the way aft on the 9” wide gunwale on both sides, where there are three rod holders to each side.
The T-top has a tubular frame mounted to the deck in four places, the console in six places, and the hardtop in 11 places. The rugged design means passengers never have to look very far for a spot to hold on, a good addition for rough conditions.
The helm dash has a 25” (.64 m) by 15” (.38 m) open panel to mount multifunction displays. The compass is mounted atop the console in line with the steering wheel hub. The wheel is rugged and welded with a steering knob and mounted on an adjustable base. The aluminum-framed windshield is mounted to the top of the console and we would like to see it larger, maybe stretching to the edges for better weather protection. We’ve seen some owners on this venerable model remove it entirely and have isinglass curtains made up.
The console has a head compartment, accessed from a door on the starboard side. Inside, two steps down is a compartment with 6’7” (2.01 m) of headroom equipped with a Porta-Potti (an electric MSD is an option), a sink, and a hatch to access the backside of the electronics on the helm. Also located in here are the main battery switches, with removable knobs for added security.
The leaning post is a critical design feature of any offshore center console. Some builders go with an all tubular design that stays out of the way, and stows a cooler beneath (maybe with room for a tackle bag on top, which has to be moved to get anything, or get into the cooler) and has a few rod holders. Others go big with a full galley with grill, or sometimes aft-facing seats backing up to the helm seats. Mako found a good blend of utility and size – a true fishing leaning post. First of all, the front of the leaning post has a bench helm seat for two, with a seat design that curves down the forward side of the post, to serve as a bolster for, well, leaning. The seat folds forward revealing stowage, plus a locking glove box under there as well.
Behind the seatbacks is a welded, rocket-launcher rod holder with a frame that serves as grab handles, which is a nice touch. The leaning post has a built-in 50-gallon (189 L) livewell, with a gasketed lid so it can be pressurized. There’s a covered sink next to the livewell. Dedicated tackle stowage is located in drawers and Plano boxes in a locker on the port side, so it can be accessed while someone is standing aft. There’s also a washdown hose and a cup holder on the aft side.
The cockpit is where the action happens on any fishing boat, and the Mako 284 CC has a workable space that measures 4’1” (1.25 m) fore and aft, by 8’5” (2.56 m) wide. The bolsters surround the space completely, except for the transom door to port, and are 26” (.66 m) at the top (the bottoms of the bolsters are 19”/.48 m off the deck). The cockpit’s in-deck boxes all have drainage channels that lead to scuppers with a pair of 2” (.05 m) diameter deck drains on either side.
Abaft the transom is the integrated engine bracket, flanked by 10” (.25 m) cleats forged with Mako’s shark logo. The engine rigging is clean and there are pie plate hatches to reach necessary fittings in the bracket.
Base price $102,995
Price subject to change
Mako Assurance Warranty
- • Limited Lifetime Structural warranty
- • 5-year Stem-to-Stern Coverage warranty
- • 3-year Gelcoat Coverage Warranty
- • Provisions to transfer to second owner
The Mako 284 CC is a proven offshore center console in a world gone mad with the genre. This boat design still holds up for what offshore fishing boats need to do: Run well in all manner of sea conditions, catch fish, and return to the dock safely and with minimal drama. Boats of this LOA have gotten larger in the last decade and a half, thanks in no small part to outboards like the new Mercury Verado 300, which provide excellent performance and power, as well as the efficiency to justify the multiple-engine installations needed to power boats built with substantially more material in them. This design has stood up well because it was ahead of its time when it came out.
With the new Mercury Verado 4.6L V-8 300s, she’s got the kind of power that will combine with the hull to provide efficient operation, and by that we mean fuel efficient, but also efficient for the skipper. Because of features like Idle Charge Management, Auto Trim, Adaptive Speed Control, and Advanced Range Optimization, the captain can turn some of his attention away from running the boat, trimming the boat, and dialing in the throttle speed, and instead watch the radar for working birds or storms, and key on the fishfinder screen for bait. And with another set of eyes focused more fully on fishing, doesn’t the whole boat and crew succeed more often?
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Mako 284 CC (2018-) is 55.9 mph (90 kph), burning 48.1 gallons per hour (gph) or 182.06 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Mako 284 CC (2018-) is 28.8 mph (46.3 kph), and the boat gets 2.1 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.89 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 423 miles (680.75 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 300-hp Mercury V8 300 Joystick Piloting.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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