You want to find out how well designed and built an outboard motor like the Suzuki DF25A really is? Then mount one on a heavy 16-foot boat and spend three full seasons using it at least once or twice a week. Run it full-tilt to get where you’re going, then idle it for hours on end as you run your trot-line or cast to piers and rip-rap. And just for good measure, give your teenage kids free reign and let them use it whenever they’d like. That’s exactly what we did with a DF25A starting the first spring this engine was introduced, and continuing until today. Check it out on video, before we get into the details:
When it first hit the water, the DF25A broke new ground with its battery-less EFI system – something other outboard manufacturers rushed to incorporate, because it has such a huge impact on the user’s experience. Sure, you get better fuel economy, easier starts, and better acceleration. The unexpected bonus comes courtesy of the farm lobby and the ethanol fuels we boaters love to hate. With carburetors, particularly on small engines, ethanol issues are a perpetual problem. But the EFI system is pressurized and contained. Fuel isn’t exposed to the air, there’s no carb to gunk up, and no choke to get stuck. In the past three seasons we’ve had exactly zero problems due to ethanol – or anything else, for that matter – and every time we used the motor it’s started on either the first or second tug. Period.
The DF25A weighs in at 137 pounds with a short shaft, comes with manual trim and tilt (power is an option), and has a 14-amp alternator if you opt for electric start. It’s a three-cylinder single overhead cam four-valve engine, displacing 29.8 cid. Is that really powerful enough for a 16 foot fiberglass boat? Many people would say no, but in the interest of safety (remember, the teens were given full access) the intent was to rig with minimal power. And the DF25A still manages to push it to 19 mph with one person aboard, or 16 mph with several people and a bushel basket full of prime jimmies.
What about fuel economy? We haven’t got a clue, because the six-gallon tank is good for four or five trips (usually including a mile or two of running followed by two or three hours of idling plus running back up the trot line) between fill-ups. But it’s safe to say that you could run it all day on a single tank of gas. We also want to note that running it is a pleasure, since it’s as quiet as you’d expect from a modern EFI four-stroke.
Complaints? The tensioner could use a detent to keep it in place while crabbing, which requires you to shove the tiller arm back and forth continually; when running, it keeps its position just fine. But this is a nit-pick and in general, forgeddaboudit – we couldn’t be happier with this little eggbeater. MSRP: $4,415. For more information visit Suzuki Marine.