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

Mariner 5hp outboard engineMariner/Mercury F5 outboard

  • Price: £929
  • Top speed: 5.5 knots
  • 0-top speed: 6.9 seconds
  • Noise (idle/cruise/top): 68/79/89dB(A)
  • Weight: 25kg
  • Warranty: 5 years
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The Mariner is identical (bar the cowling) to a Mercury 5hp and both use the same block as the Tohatsu.

The Mariner/Mercury duo use a different gearbox to the Tohatsu so their performance characteristics change slightly, but essentially there is very little to choose between them.

Mariner 5hp outboard engine - fitted to transomBuild quality – 4/5
Underneath the cowling it’s a Tohatsu engine, however there are some minor changes where Mariner has made its mark.

It uses its own gearbox, which has allowed it to shed a few grams, getting it to exactly 26kg. It can come with a 6A alternator, larger than the Tohatsu.

Performance – 3/5
The Mariner couldn’t quite match the Tohatsu’s acceleration, taking 6.9 seconds to reach its top speed.

It made an average top speed of 5.5 knots, however, a variable of 0.1 knot could be down to a slight change in weather conditions.

Mariner 5hp outboard engine - cowling offRefinement – 3/5
The noise levels were identical to the Tohatsu, which is to be expected. At idle it registered 68dB(A), mid table for the test, although at full revs it was the equal loudest and harshest.

Ease of use – 4/5
Just like the Tohatsu, the front-mounted gear shift is a delight to use when manoeuvering around the marina. It also uses the same easy-to-use tilt/trim system.

_MG_5906_100pcTank size – 3/5
Again, like the Tohatsu the internal tank is just 1.15 litres, so users will require the optional external tank for lengthier forays.

A Sail-Mate version is also available that swaps the internal tank for an external tank at no extra cost.

Verdict – 3/5
This is a well thought out and solid feeling engine at an attractive price even if its performance and refinement are unexceptional.

There is little to choose between this and the Tohatsu so it’s likely to come down to brand preference and price.

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