The ultimate 10hp outboard engine group test

We pit six of the best 10hp outboard engines on the market against each other for our latest group test

Tohatsu 9.8hp outboardTohatsu MFS9.8 outboard

  • Price: £1,776
  • Top speed: 16.5 knots
  • 0-top speed: 18 seconds
  • Noise (idle/cruise/top): 60/79/92dB(A)
  • Weight: 37kg
  • Warranty: 5 years
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Tohatsu produces more 10hp outboard engines than anyone else, even though some of them have a rival’s branding on the cowling.

That’s why this engine shares the same block as the Mariner, although oddly it’s capacity is quoted as 209cc rather than 208CC. It’s also rated at 7.2kW (9.39hp) instead of the Mariner’s 7.28kW (9.76hp).

Tohatsu 9.8hp outboard - running shotBuild quality: 4/5

The likes of Mariner and Mercury wouldn’t put their name on an engine they didn’t rate highly, so you can be pretty certain the internals are sound.

The cowling looks fairly boring but it’s well fitted and all the ancillaries look robust and soundly engineered. It comes with a five-year warranty.

Performance: 4/5

Given the shared engine block it’s no surprise that the Tohatsu’s figures are similar to the Mariner’s.

Its top speed of 16.5 knots was marginally down on the Mariner’s 17 knots but that may be because by the time we tested this one, the wind was stirring up a little more chop on the water.

The acceleration time of 18 seconds – the slowest on test by one second – is harder to explain, but may be due to a slightly different gear ratio.

Tohatsu 9.8hp outboard - cowling offRefinement: 3/5

It’s not a loud engine, fitting in with all the others at a steady 60dB at idle. The cruising levels of 79dB at cruise and 92dB at top speed are also on par with the Mariner if not the quieter Honda and Yamaha.

There was a hint of rasp to the sound during acceleration, giving it a slightly sporty edge, which we liked.

Ease of use: 4/3

Changing from forward to reverse is a bit of a pain with the shift lever mounted at the front of the engine, rather than on the tiller.

It is, however, the lightest on test at 37kg and at this weight every kilogram saved makes a significant difference to portability.

Tohatsu 9.8hp outboard - gear shiftVerdict: 4/3

This was the cheapest engine on test but it certainly doesn’t feel like a cut-price offering in terms of build quality or performance.

It kept up with the others in nearly all the key categories and comes with a good warranty. It’s just the gears and rather bland styling that let it down.

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