Engine makers split up J.D. Power honors
Now in its seventh year, the study measures overall customer satisfaction with four marine engine types: EFI inboard, four-stroke EFI outboard, two-stroke DI outboard and EFI sterndrive.
Overall customer satisfaction index scores are based on performance across seven factors: starting ease, quietness at cruise, reliability, fuel economy, shifting smoothness, lack of exhaust fumes and ability of boat to accelerate rapidly. The study also examines engine quality, where scores are measured as problems per 100 (PP100) engines and a lower score reflects higher quality.
Outboard DI Two-Stroke
Mercury leads in the outboard direct injection two-stroke segment for a third consecutive year, with slight improvements in engine quality since the 2007 study. Evinrude closely follows Mercury in the segment.
Transmission issues and stalling are the most frequently reported problems within the outboard DI two-stroke segment. However, two owner-reported problems-major engine failure and engine runs rough-have the most negative impact on overall satisfaction. Only 4 percent of owners experience either of these two problems.
Outboard EFI Four-Stroke
Yamaha ranks highest in the outboard electronically fuel injected four-stroke segment, performing particularly well in engine reliability. Yamaha is followed closely by Honda and Suzuki, respectively.
Among all outboard technologies, four-stroke EFI engines have a particularly low number of reported problems (56 PP100). Among those owners who experience problems, those involving engine transmission are the most frequently reported.
Volvo Penta ranks highest in the sterndrive EFI segment, performing particularly well in the engine's ability to accelerate rapidly, fuel economy and lack of exhaust fumes. MerCruiser closely follows Volvo Penta, receiving particularly high ratings from owners for engine reliability.
More than 57 percent of EFI owners indicate their new engine is problem-free, while only nine percent of owners report having three problems or more. The two most frequently reported problems by EFI sterndrive owners are engine transmission feels/sounds rough when shifting and issues with the engine tilt/trim.
Inboard EFI segment
For a third consecutive year, Pleasurecraft Engine Group (PCM) ranks highest in the inboard EFI four-stroke engine segment, performing particularly well in engine reliability. PCM is followed in the segment by Marine Power.
While inboard EFI engines have the highest quality (49 PP100) and satisfaction ratings of all four engine segments, fuel economy continues to be a major weakness.
"Fuel economy is clearly the Achilles' heel of inboard EFI engines when you compare segment scores to those of the other engine categories," said Todd Markusic, senior director of the power sports practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "Despite this shortcoming, inboard EFI engines have remarkable quality and earn extremely high satisfaction scores. Those brands that can find a way to improve the fuel economy of their engines would clearly have a major competitive advantage."