SUZUKI DF250AP OUTBOARD test results on 7mtr plate boat – Performance & economy

Without a doubt the most important piece of equipment on your boat is the outboard. Over the years outboard technology has advanced dramatically to give users more power, greater fuel efficiency and most importantly, reliability.

For many boaties choosing the right outboard can be a difficult decision to make and let’s face it, outboards are a huge investment so you really want to be confident that you’re making the best choice. 

Now I will be honest and say that most brands are reasonably good these days and some have clever marketing campaigns and pricing to make them look more attractive than others. I’ve never been one for publicly putting other products down but instead prefer to highlight and promote products I personally know and use.

For more than 20 years I’ve used Suzuki outboards and I can honestly say I’ve never once had even the slightest issue. After running a Suzuki fuel injected 2 Stroke back in the early to mid-2000, I then had a new boat built and decided to put on a DF225 Suzuki 4 stroke which I owned for over 8 years and 1300 trouble free hours. I put a huge amount of faith in that single outboard while fishing remote areas up down the QLD coastline with often no radio or phone reception. That outboard still looked and ran like new until the day I sold it. With talk and rumours over the years that early model 4 Stroke Suzuki’s had corrosion problems I had Jon from Bayside Suzuki do a thorough inspection for interest sake and found it to be in exceptional condition. Just goes to show that it pays to look after your outboard/s with regular maintenance and services to ensure the longevity from your equipment.

With outboard technology getting better and better I was hugely interested in achieving better fuel economy to extend the fuel range on my big offshore trips.  I had been looking at various brands seeing what was on offer in performance and economy whilst keeping the reliability I always had. I’ve always been a bit cautious when it comes to new technology and I will often sit back and wait for products to prove themselves before making the purchase. Suzuki’s 250AP & 300AP lean burn outboards were living up to their expectations and after talking to a few fishos who were using them I knew my choice in Suzuki outboards would once again be the correct decision.

After chatting with Bayside Suzuki in Cleveland, Jon suggested that the DF250 will be ideally suited to my boat and fishing needs. The Suzuki 250AP is a 4ltr V6 lean burn engine weighing 290kg and uses drive by wire throttle control which means there’s no conventional mechanical throttle cables but instead just a small wiring harness between the throttle control and outboard. This allows for a smooth transition between neutral, forward and reverse gears eliminating any grinding commonly found with conventional cable systems.

Suzuki’s lean burn technology has been a huge selling point and with fisherman willing to travel longer distances to target their desired species, there’s a massive need to maximise fuel economy to not only extend the range to remote areas but also spend more time fishing in these areas. Suzuki’s lean burn technology works by the engine computer processing real time information supplied by various engine sensors. This allows the outboard to calculate and deliver optimum air/fuel ratio which reduces fuel usage dramatically. Tests between the same outboard with and without lean burn have shown an average of 14% better fuel economy on the DF250AP & DF300AP which is highly beneficial in trip range and costs.

Happy with the choice in the new outboard, I had Bayside Suzuki do the fitment along with the new Suzuki digital gauge and troll switch. Jon suggested that going to a smaller 16 x17 3 blade prop would suit my application and give better results in performance and economy.  When picking it up I couldn’t help but smile as it was a bloody sexy looking outboard with its high gloss black look and silver Suzuki decals. They did a great job with the fitment and I can’t thank them enough for the advice and help given.

The time to test it out had come and I was hanging to see what the performance and economy would be like on my Riptide boat. The Riptide is a 7mtr (7.6loa) custom made plate alloy boat and weighs in just under 3.5t fully loaded on a heavy duty Riptide alloy trailer. It’s no light weight boat and my big offshore trips with 3 or 4 people, 480ltrs of fuel, loads of ice, bait, tackle and other gear really puts the outboard to work. My old Suzuki DF225 4 Stroke was achieving around .9 of a km per litre fully loaded (1.1ltrs per km) and got worse after fitting a large fairing block in the keel to fit 3 transducers.  

On the day of testing the boat had a full tank of fuel, 2 people and an average amount of gear.  I launched the boat and went for a run in Moreton bay to test it out and begin the run in process. As per all Suzuki’s it was a very quiet outboard and straight away I felt the difference in increased power and torque from the old outboard  to the new outboard. Varying the rev range around 3500 to 4000rpm seemed to be its happy spot as I watched the fuel usage on the Suzuki digital gauge. Now to say I was tad excited would be an understatement. The fuel usage was showing 1.7km to 1.6km per ltr (average .6ltrs per km) at 3600rpm and 45km/h. I actually thought I must have been reading the data incorrectly as the fuel economy was way better than I had anticipated. Upping the rev range to 4000prm and 50 km/h it was achieving 1.5km per ltr (.66ltrs per km) and at 4500rpm at 58 km/h it was getting 1.4km per ltr (.7ltrs per km) Knowing that I was in calm Moreton Bay waters I was eager to sneak out the south passage bar and see what it was like offshore in 15 to 20 knots of northerly wind and choppy seas.  This was also a good chance to test the down low power at the bar and as I expected the throttle response and power got the boat on the plane very quickly and out past the breakers in a short amount of time. Heading into the sloppy seas at 3700rpm it was achieving 1.4km per ltr (.7ltr per km) and better when running with or side on to the sea which I was very happy with.

I’ve now had the new Suzuki 250AP for almost 10 months and I’m blown away by the performance and fuel economy. Even in average offshore conditions with 4 blokes, full fuel load, ice, boat and a boat load of gear it performs really well and will still get 1.2 to 1.3km per ltr (average .8ltrs per km) no problems.

The great fuel economy has truly blown me away and has given me a whopping 150km extra in range from my fuel capacity over the old engine. There’s no doubt Suzuki Outboards is a winning formula in performance, fuel efficiency and reliability.

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Until next time, tight lines.