Two Brunswick Corp. marine companies — Sea Ray Boats and Mercury Marine — had products rated as a “Best Buy” in the recently released August issue of Consumer Digest magazine.
On average, this rating is awarded to fewer than 3 percent of the competing models in any given product category, according to Sea Ray. The Knoxville, Tenn.-based boatbuilder was recognized for its 205 Sport.
“We’re very proud to be recognized as having exceptional value in today’s highly competitive marine marketplace,” said Rick Stone, president of Sea Ray Boats, in a statement. “The Consumers Digest Best Buy certification is a very credible and prestigious third-party acknowledgement of our product quality and customer satisfaction.”
The editors at Consumers Digest said the Sea Ray 205 Sport “delivers big fun for its price,” citing it has “plenty of oomph for water skiers and kids on tow tubes” and includes popular water-sports options such as an aluminum tower and board racks. “Many bowriders aren’t equipped to handle these,” said the editors.
“This achievement holds the promise that [Sea Ray] will continue to research and develop products that satisfy the growing needs of enlightened consumers well into the future,” said Randy Weber, publisher of Consumers Digest magazine, in a letter to Stone at Sea Ray.
Mercury Marine says it was the only marine engine company to receive three Best Buy designations from Consumer Digest. Outboard engines were selected based on design, efficiency, performance and price.
Mercury winners included the Verado 175-hp in the 150- to 199-hp category, the 15-hp Bigfoot in the Below 50-hp models and the 75-hp OptiMax in the 75- to 99-hp division.
Mercury’s Verado 175-hp supercharged engine, a four-cylinder 2-stroke, was acknowledged for its power, speed and lack of vibration. Supercharging allows Mercury to deliver high horsepower with a smaller engine block — 1,732 cc in this case — with low emissions and high fuel efficiency. Verado also features integrated digital throttle and shift and controls, gauges, sensors and power steering.
Mercury’s 75-hp OptiMax direct-injected engine was recognized for its superb acceleration, great value and low emissions. The 75-hp model is perfect for entry-level bass boats and small open skiffs, according to the engine maker.
Direct-injected engines are 2-strokes — typically lightweight and relatively simple — that offer many of the amenities of 2-strokes. Weighing 375 pounds, the 75-hp OptiMax is a direct-injected three-cylinder with 1,562 cc of displacement.
The 15-hp Bigfoot is a two-cylinder, 4-stroke with 323 cc of displacement and weighs 128 pounds. Mercury says the engine offers surprisingly powerful punch because of an extended lower section, a large anti-ventilation plate and an oversized, high-thrust propeller. Gear size and ratio are boosted, so the engine can turn the larger prop at proper rpm levels.