The ultimate 5hp outboard engine group test

We pit six of the best 5hp outboard engines against each other in a head-to-head group test on the Solent to find out which is best

HONDA 5HP outboard engineHonda BF5 outboard

  • Price: £1,159
  • Top speed: 4.9 knots
  • 0-top speed: 5.3 seconds
  • Noise (idle/cruise/top): 69/82/87 dB(A)
  • Weight: 27kg
  • Warranty: 6 years
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This is the current model, although the dated styling suggests that it could soon be due for replacement. At £1,300 it is the most expensive 5hp engine of the group, so will have to be very good to justify its price.

Honda 5hp outboard engine - cowling offBuild quality – 5/5
Honda has a great reputation for build quality, and this engine is well engineered from solid materials.

Honda backs this up with its market-leading six-year warranty on all its outboards, which justifies us giving it such a high score. An optional 3A alternator is available, which is the lowest power of all engines tested.

Honda 5hp outboard engine - running shotPerformance – 4/5
Had conditions been better, it is possible the Honda would have reached the 5-knot goal, however in our test it managed an average top speed of 4.9 knots.

Acceleration was second best on test (behind the Yamaha), reaching its top speed of just under 5 knots in 5.29 seconds.

Refinement – 3/5
Honda engines are usually silky smooth, however this engine sounded ‘puffy’. Noise levels were also high, performing louder than average in both idle and cruise tests, although it was the second quietest at its (low) top speed.

Honda 5hp outboard engine - gear selector

Ease of use – 2/5
Joint with the Yamaha, the Honda is the heaviest 5hp engine on test at 27kg. Carrying it is a struggle as the front-facing handle is restricted by the tilt adjuster and traps your fingers. Although there is a large handhold on the cowling, this isn’t enough to compensate.

Tank size – 2/5
This is the only 5hp engine on test that doesn’t have an integral fuel tank. This is something that comes down to personal choice, however the lack of an internal tank option will be limiting for some boat owners. The external 12-litre, or optional larger 25-litre, fuel tanks offer extensive range.

Honda 5hp outboard engine - fuel tank

Verdict – 3/5
Demanding such a high price yet only leading on the warranty front is a let down for Honda. It is likely to be fantastically reliable, however figures suggest that it’s one generation behind the other engines.

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