September 16, 2004 Issue

By Capt. John N. Raguso



One of the most exciting V-6 outboards to hit the market in a long time is Suzukiís new DF250 four-stroke, which made its debut in the 2004 model year.

Although Yamaha and Honda beat the Suzuki folks to the draw with the introduction of their respective 225-HP four-stroke outboards in late 2001 and 2002, according to the Suzuki folks that I talked with over the past two years, that was the plan from the get-go. Since Suzuki is among the largest global manufacturers of four-stroke gasoline engines, they were able to leverage all of that worldwide experience and perfect the design of their saltwater V-6 four-strokes with proven technology. Suzuki management has always taken a slow and deliberate approach when developing and launching new outboard products and their V-6 four-stroke series, which also includes a DF200 and DF225, is no exception to this philosophy. Their penchant for engineering perfection is the driving force behind this meticulous approach, as is their desire to produce a product that will satisfy their customers the first time out of the box. Their outboards are totally proven before they hit the water, despite competitive pressures to accelerate a product launch before its time.

Because they were the last of the Asian outboard manufacturers to introduce their version of the ultimate four-stroke V-6 outboard, they were able to ďgo to schoolĒ on some of the competitive post-launch marketplace experiences and make some last minute engineering tweaks to ensure a successful launch of their own DF200/225/250 lineup. From what I have seen and heard from my peer group in the boating industry, and from average everyday folks down at the marinas, these new Suzuki V-6 four-strokes, with the big and brawny DF250 leading that group, are enjoying quite a successful run, with demand usually exceeding supply.

With advanced features like a completely new 55-degree V-6 block, a dual overhead cam (DOHC) design, a 24-valve powerhead, digital sequential electronic fuel injection, a tuned multi-stage intake manifold, a powerful 32-bit onboard computer, variable valve timing, offset crankshaft design and a powerful new lower unit with a 2.29:1 gear ratio, the DF250 is designed to deliver serious performance for a wide variety of saltwater fishing boats in both single and twin formats.

Available in both 25-inch and 30-inch shaft lengths, in addition to counter-rotation models, these motors are a good fit for any new sportfisher under 33-feet, in addition to being an excellent candidate for repower applications, due to their relatively compact design and reasonable net weight (580-pounds in XL shaft). In researching the repowering of my current MarCeeJay, a 1981 27-foot Phoenix Express, I discovered that two competitive four strokes were too wide to fit my vesselís transom, with another four-stroke requiring me to replace my steering, throttle and instrument system with costly proprietary gear. The logical choice was a pair of Suzuki DF225ís, which retrofit onto my transom and steering perfectly, replacing my beloved Merc OptiMax 200 direct-injection two-strokes after six seasons of relative trouble-free use. Factoring-in the elimination of my oil-injection reservoirs that were mounted aft, the Suzuki V-6 four-strokes were almost a pound-for-pound replacement, with my aft scuppers and waterline staying in the same relative position after the exchange. Some of the competitive four-stroke outboards can weigh up to 75-pounds more each than these lightweight Suzuki V-6s, yet the Suzuki powerhead is currently the largest of all the four-strokes with a huge 3.6-liter displacement, and as we all know, there is no replacement for displacement in an engine, especially an outboard.

I was able to get my hands on a few boats for a test spin of the new Suzuki DF250 down in Florida earlier this year, both single and twin powered hulls.

The 31-Yellowfin CC was one my favorites, with its stepped hull design hitting a top speed of over 58-mph at wide open throttle and netting over 2-mpg at 3500 rpm, where it hit 32-MPH on my handheld Magellan GPS while drinking only 15.6 gallons per hour. This is incredible performance for a 31-footer with that type of speed, which also extends usable range. Among the single engine rigs, the new EdgeWater 245CC was my favorite, hitting a solid 48-mph at full throttle and netting over 3-mpg at 3500 rpm, where this fuel efficient combination hit 24.4-mph while burning only 7.2-gph. My good buddy Kevin Falvey, the Tech Editor at Boating Magazine, just bought a DF250 to repower his Regulator CC and is getting a top speed of over 43-mph, with 3-mpg efficiency at 4000 rpm, where heís netting 27-mph at roughly 9-gph. According to Kevin, the combination of the Suzukiís low 2.29:1 gear ratio in combination with the huge 16-inch diameter elephant ear SS prop enables him to plane his Regulator at a slower speed (14-knots) and at a flatter running angle than its predecessor, yet produces the same top speed and slightly better fuel economy than his old two-stroke fuel-injected 250 V-6, with no costly outboard oil added to the fuel.

The Suzuki DF250 is the real deal and are as close to a two-stroke in acceleration, transom weight and performance of all the V-6 four-strokes that Iíve tested to date. It also carries a very-low emission CARB three-star rating and is backed by a standard three-year warranty.

For more information, call Suzuki at 800-247-4704, or visit their website at




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Engine Type 55 degree V6, DOHC, 24 valves
Fuel Delivery Multi-Point Sequential Electronic Fuel Injection
Displacement  3.6 liters (220.5 cubic inches)
Bore & Stroke 3.74 inches X 3.35 inches (95mm X 85mm)
Operating  Range 5500 to 6100 rpm
Shaft Length XL 25-inches: XXL 30-inches
Counter Rotation Available on all models
Weight XL 580-pounds; XXL 591-pounds
Oil Capacity 7.6 quarts
Ignition System Fully transistorized direct ignition
Alternator 12V/ 54 Amps
Gear Ratio 2.29:1
Propeller Stainless Steel 16-inch diameter
(16.0, 18.5, 20.0, 21.5-inch pitches)



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