Boat Review by: Matt Spencer
If you walk through the aisles and booths of a boat show you will notice that many fiberglass bowriders are now powered by outboards. In the past, the fiberglass sterndrive was dominated by I/O’s, but there has been a shift in consumer behavior and more and more day boats are being offered with outboard power.
Take the 2016 Four Winns HD270 for example. This is a 26-foot 5-inch bowrider, a substantial dayboat. But it is available with outboard power. To have that large of a boat be offered with an outboard shows that the industry is shifting. To better showcase this, we got to test one with an Evinrude E-Tec 300-hp G2.
The model that I tested was actually part of the Signature Series, which takes the boat from a plain white colouring to a bold, eye catching white, black and red combo. This increase in styling continues with the low profile windshield, custom interior treatments and is perfectly matched with the white, black and red Evinrude G2.
Part of the popularity of the G2 Engines first introduced in 2014 was the added ability to colour match your outboard to your boat. As we continue to talk about this evolution of the boating industry I think the G2 is another prime example of it. There was a time when the colour of your engine was your status symbol. People knew by the colour of your motor, to which brand you were loyal. Well Evinrude said to heck with that, and offered the ability to customize both your side panels, their accenting stripes and the top of the cowling. Evinrude is owned by BRP, which also owns Ski-Doo and this type of modular cowling first became popular with their snowmobiles and they made it fit to give them a unique selling piece in the marine world. Don’t get me wrong, these Evinrude G2 engines have distinct style and flare that you can’t miss. Regardless of the colour, you know you’re looking at a G2.
Bold colour accents inside the HD270 SS are amplified by textured vinyls. I love what Four Winns has been doing lately with the addition of textures to replace certain details. They have taken a step towards the minimal side when it comes to interior design but replaced it with different textures, appealing to the multiple senses of their customers.
One of the hallmarks of the HD270 is they carry the 8-foot 5-inch beam well forward into the bow giving you a giant bow lounge. To say it’s huge would be an understatement! Coaming bolsters wrap the entire lounge and there is ample storage under the seats. There is a decent sized bow platform that is covered with Seadek and hidden in a hatch you will find a ladder if you want to beach your boat. One of the benefits of an outboard powered boat is that you can trim it up higher than an IO, allowing you to beach your boat. Drink holders are abundant in the bow, 6 to be exact, with two speakers mounted within the bolsters.
Moving aft between the consoles you will first notice in the floor what looks to be a mini-ski locker. Lifting the hatch reveals in floor storage, decent in size for an expandable paddle or a safety kit or extra lines. It’s not substantial by any stretch of the imagination, but I think we can all agree that more storage is always welcomed. Behind this is the real ski locker, that’s nicely finished and quite sizeable. It will easily hold deflated tubes, water skis and even wakeboards, considering the HD270 SS is equipped with a matching white wakeboard tower.
Should nature happen to call, the entire passenger console opens up as one big door to reveal a great sized head compartment with porta potti, sink and a port-hole. When you get into these head compartments and close the door you can feel quite closed in sometimes, but not the case with the head on the HD270. Needless to say I didn’t fully “test” it out.
I would call the seating arrangement in the HD270 U-shaped if it wasn’t for the starboard walk through. There is however an L shaped seat grouping with two bench seats and a corner “pizza slice” shaped cushion. Storage is found under each seat and behind the captain’s chair is another bench seat which houses an igloo cooler beneath.
Both Captain’s chairs are high backed, bolstered with arm rests and feature the Shark skin textured vinyls I was talking about earlier.
The helm on the HD270 is minimal when talking about its styling. Instead of gauges there was a large touch screen nav system, which of course is optional, along with the Evinrude multifunction gauge. What I like about this is it shows how clean you can make your helm. All your info is housed in one simple gauge cluster. That said I have seen pictures of the 270 with standard gauges and it still looks modern and stylish.
The other major hallmark on the HD270 is the huge rear facing stern lounge at the swim platform. It’s like someone took a loveseat out of their living room and bolted it to this boat. I’m not saying it looks out of place, I am saying it looks super comfortable and even has large arms on it with drink holders. This is going to be a very popular spot on this boat no matter if you have left the dock or not.
Now I did mention that this boat is available in with an IO. Rather than having two moulds, they have the one and attach an outboard to it. What I’m getting at is there has to be a spot to put a large engine, and that’s directly under the stern lounge. Since this 270 is outboard powered that means you have a cavernous storage compartment as that stern lounge lifts up on gas assist struts. You have access to your plumbing systems in here as well.
Part of the reason that IO’s were more popular with day boats was that they didn’t detract from your swim platform the way an outboard does. I think Four Winns has done a great job giving you plenty of swim platform space and part of that is thanks to the Evinrude’s clean rigging system. Instead of having multiple hoses and hydraulic steering units taking up a ton of space, it’s all housed in one tube, and every G2 Evinrude has power assist steering so the amount of space required to mount one is less.
Another benefit to having an outboard is you get more power with less weight. So even though the 270 has a max horsepower rating of 350, I knew our 300-hp G2 Evinrude would provide the get-up and go to match the bold styling of this boat.
Even though the HD270 has a boat weight of 5050 pounds without an engine, the G2 was still able to get the 26 and a half foot boat on plane in under 5 seconds. Once we were on plane I went to reach towards the trim switch but I was immediately reminded that the G2 has iTrim, the automatic trim system. By the time I thought about going to trim the boat it was already on the way to the ideal setting. People may try to argue that they know how to trim a boat, but you need to remember that iTrim is computer driven, and if you think you can think faster than a computer and I would love to see that in action.
This was on display when I went to test how the Four Winns handled turns. I was able to keep both hands on the wheel as I turned the boat, not once reaching for the trim switch and not once did the Evinrude cavitate. It’s a thing of beauty and something I could easily get used to. It shows why this G2 was a great pairing for this large day boat. Performance is one thing, but it’s also about a positive boating experience and when you factor in things like the iTrim, power assisted steering and even drive by wire, digital throttle and shifting you have an overall positive driving experience that as a captain you will come to appreciate, but your passengers will love it as well.
That’s not to say we were short on hair raising performance either! It seems the power coming from the 300-hp Evinrude was relentless. The way it manipulated the Four Winns signature Stable Vee hull was something that needs to be experienced. Throughout the entire throttle range there was an endless supply of power.
But you may be thinking more power uses more fuel, but that’s not the case with these new G2’s. They’re up to 15% more efficient than the competition even at higher RPMs. So you will be able to go faster and still be more efficient. Evinrude reports that the optimal speed for this package is 4000rpm which will be a speed of around 30 mph and burning a mere 9.25 gallons per hour. It’s hard to find an outboard that will give you an optimal fuel efficiency speed of 30mph.
To cap it off the top speed on this package was a hair under 50mph, 49.3 to be exact. It’s numbers like that, that make it hard to deny the case for outboard powered day boats. When they look this great is one thing, but when it performs this well as well, then there really is no discussion.
|Length:||26' 5"||8.04 m|
|Beam:||8' 6"||2.59 m|
|Dry weight:||5,050 lbs||2,290 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||70 US gals||265 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Evinrude ETEC G2|