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Alumacraft Classic 165 CS (2011-)

1 x 50-hp Evinrude E-TEC

Brief Summary

When we tested the Evinrude E-TEC 50 she was purring smoothly without a hint of struggle, and not only gave our Alumacraft Classic 165 CS a respectable top speed, but a cruise of 19.2 mph (30.9 kph) getting a noteworth 9.16 mpg (3.89 kpl). That means you can run for 9.5 hrs for only $70.00. For most of us, that will likely last for several trips.

Key Features

  • Rod storage-center floor up to 7' (Fisherman)
  • Livewell
  • Battery storage (2 batteries)
  • 12 volt trolling motor system
  • Electrical circuit breakers
  • Stowable running lights
  • 1 manual bilge pump
  • Grab handles

Test Results

800 3.2 2.7 0.1 31.5 27.39 567 493 58
1000 3.7 3.2 0.1 28.08 24.41 505 439 60
1500 4.9 4.2 0.4 13.86 12.05 249 217 66
2000 6.1 5.3 0.5 12.2 10.61 220 191 67
2500 7.2 6.3 1 7.02 6.11 126 110 71
3000 9.6 8.3 1.5 6.43 5.59 116 101 75
3500 15.6 13.6 1.8 8.76 7.62 158 137 85
4000 19.2 16.7 2.1 9.16 7.97 165 143 85
4500 23.2 20.2 2.6 8.79 7.64 158 138 86
5000 25.8 22.4 3.3 7.89 6.86 142 123 89
5500 28.4 24.7 4.4 6.45 5.61 116 101 89
5600 29.6 25.7 4.7 6.36 5.53 114 100 88


Length Overall 16' 4'' / 5.0 m
Beam 82''
2.1 m
Dry Weight 895 lbs.
406 kg.
Draft N/A
Deadrise/Transom N/A
Max Headroom open
Bridge Clearance N/A
Fuel Capacity 20 gal.
75.7 L
Water Capacity none


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Acceleration Times & Conditions

Time to Plane 3.0 sec.
0 to 30 6.4 sec. (0-20)
Ratio 2.67 : 1
Props 13.25 x 15 x 4
Load 2 persons, 1/2 fuel, no water, 25 lbs. of gear
Climate 85 deg., 72% humid.; wind: 10 mph; seas: light chop

Engine Options

Tested Engine 1 x 50-hp Evinrude E-TEC
Std. Power Not Available
Opt. Power 1 x 50-hp Evinrude E-TEC

Captain's Report

Evinrude 50

We think that a basic 16' 4" (5.0 m) boat with a 50 two-stroke and a trailer makes a great value for smart shoppers demanding the best value for their money. Our top speed: 29.6 mph (47.6 kph).

The Engine

The Evinrude E-TEC line, and the 50-hp in particular, is impressive. These engines are engineered so well that the maintenance schedule is the first hook that dealers can use to reel in their customers. How much maintenance are we talking about? How about no maintenance for three years or 300 hours? We’re talking no changing the gearcase lube, no spring tune-ups, not even going to the dealer for winterization since the engine fogs itself. Fogs itself? That means that we northern boaters can catch a warm spell and head out on the water, and then put the rig back in storage for freezing at the end of the day. Operating in salt water? No worries… flush it out and fog it out. Done! It’s also hard not to love the fact that these direct fuel injected two-stokes have up to 195 fewer parts than a comparable 4-stroke. That means fewer parts to wear out, no valves, belts, camshafts or pulleys to adjust or replace. But all this is academic if the engine doesn’t perform, so let’s bolt it to the back of the typical boat, in this case, the Alumacraft Classic 165 CS, and see what we get.

The Boat

Alumacraft is one of the largest builders of aluminum boats and 16' is its most popular size. Weighing in at only 895 lbs. (406 kg.) the 165 CS boat represents a typical application for the 50 Evinrude E-TEC. Add the weight of the engine itself (240 lbs., 109 kg.), test gear, 10 gallons (37.8 L) of fuel and two people and we have ourselves a test weight of 1,580 lbs (717 kg). The 165 CS also represents the typical fishing boat in this class. It is available in a tiller version or, as our test platform, a side console version.

Evinrude 50

The versatility shines through with 6 pedestal bases, including two on elevated platforms. Lockable rod storage is found on both sides of the boat, a 34 gallon (128 L) livewell resides adjacent to the baitwell at the bow platform. Twin batteries will serve both the engine and the trolling motor.

Evinrude 50

Even though the 165 CS is relatively small, there is still an open, roomy feel about the boat. And look at that relatively high freeboard.


The 165 CS had nice and solid handling, due mostly to the full length keel and the double bow plates. The main hull thickness is .080’’ | .065’’ (2.0 mm | 1.65 mm), and on top of that Alumacraft adds a second set of plates .065” (1.65 mm) thick at the bow where the brunt of any pounding will occur. This translates into a rigid hull that was virtually absent the flexing and oil drumming that sometimes manifests itself in less stalwart aluminum designs. The boat held tight in turns thanks to this design feature and exhibited no jumping off track with each wave we hit. The windshield does a surprisingly good job at blocking wind. It is a fairly low profile windshield that has the top aimed straight at your face, so I expected that I’d be getting a face full, but it never happened. A last important feature… the hatches are all reinforced aluminum. This means that when you stand on them, or jump up and down on them as I did, they’ll retain their shape. That’s a pivotal point when the hatches are on a casting deck designed for you to stand on.


The Evinrude E-TEC 50 pushed this boat to a top speed of 29.6 mph at 5600 rpm. At that speed we were burning 4.7 gph and getting 6.36 mpg. This means a range of 114 miles. Pulled back to a more economic cruise of 4000 rpm we were running at 19.2 mph, burning 2.1 gph, and getting 9.16 mpg. With a 10% reserve of fuel that will allow us to travel for 165 miles. As we had a 15 inch prop our time to plane was 3 seconds and we reached 20 mph in 6.4 seconds. All said, at the end of the day, this engine showed some serious muscle. And speaking of packages, this entire setup is packaged together by Alumacraft. It includes

  • 50-hp Evinrude E-TEC
  • Minn Kota 55PD Trolling Motor
  • Humminbird Graph
  • 3 Deluxe Seats
  • Trailer All for $14,295.

Figure in the savings on the maintenance costs with an Evinrude E-TEC and... well you know the rest.

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