Honda’s 75 and 90 HP motors have always been great in our marketplace. But served their time they have, and Honda has now launched the new 80 and 100 HP motors to take the reins and offer you a whole lot more. The Editor travels to Gordon’s Bay to spend the day with Honda Marine.
Honda is passionate about all their engines, so when a new model is launched, they want us to share in the feeling of exhilaration. They’re confident too – waiting to see what the new models are like on the same day as we do. Anything could happen, but these motors are Hondas and that means real performance and real reliability. Three boats were fitted with the different versions and illustrated, for me, the three main segments of the boat market – the Point Runner 660 for fishing, a Stingray 6.2 RIB for fun, and a Rascala FM20 for the family.
Honda Marine’s engines come with incredibly advanced technology – much of which is derived from the cars, bikes, planes, robots and other power products which the company produces. Blended together in symbiosis, the engine is kept running smoothly and efficiently while delivering maximum power. Let’s take a look under the cowling to see what they’ve got.
Built in the heart of this motor is the well-known BLAST (Boosted Low Speed Torque) which is said to provide strong acceleration, give excellent hole shot performance, and reduce planing time. This I can believe since the pull-off of the boats was intense. On the back of the Rascala FM, the single 100 HP installation proved to be perhaps even a little too much as the craft jumped up from idle and onto the plane in around 3.2 seconds with a very quick response time to the throttle – which really isn’t bad at all for this imported boat which is normally equipped with a 150 HP. During the BLAST stage, the engine’s ECU advances the ignition timing to its maximum when there is a rapid acceleration; at the same time, it richens the fuel/air ration to prevent knock.
Once the engine has accelerated past the initial boost stage, the push is intensified from VTEC which varies the lift and duration of the opening intake valves to provide optimum performance. The VTEC seems to kick in a little earlier than usual on these motors (identified as a soft ‘grrr’ sound in the engine) and it is really felt on the boat. The VTEC system usually only kicks in at higher rpm’s, and with it coming in earlier it means that you’re using less fuel to play in the ‘powerband’ and also waiting less if you’re looking for performance.
Alternatively, you could throttle a bit after BLAST to enter the engine into the LeanBurn stage which settles the motor into a gentle rhythm to achieve the best possible efficiency.
Raw power is great, but it comes at a cost – and that’s usually in the fuel bill. However, thanks to ECOMO and the programmed fuel injection (Honda’s sequential, multi-port fuel injection system), the motor is said to start easily and have instant throttle response with superior fuel efficiency. I took a quick gander at the fuel tanks on the Point Runner 660 before we went out and again when we returned. Despite having done some rigorous acceleration and high speed testing, the fuel tanks seemed only a few litres less – a far cry from the empty tanks I expected! This is largely owed to the system delivering a precise amount of fuel to each cylinder throughout all operating conditions.