Video: Volvo Penta 200-G inboard review

By: Tim van Duyl, Photography by: Graeme Neander, Video by: Anna Pastukhova

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  • Trade-A-Boat

The Volvo Penta 200-G inboard struggles with low-speed efficiency but once on the plane is a good match for a heavy hull, like the Whittley CR2380 we reviewed.

The Volvo Penta 200G is a 200-horsepower, 4300cc V6 petrol inboard designed mainly for use in sterndrive applications, although it can also be used with shaft and V-drives. The Volvo 200G is the lowest horsepower variant; this marine engine goes right up to 280hp.

 

Volvo Penta 200G

Volvo Penta 200-G inboard sterndrive

The Volvo Penta 200G is mated to Volvo’s famous and exceptional Duoprop system. In the market for a number of years, the counter-rotating system has proven its worth plenty of times and this set-up, running stainless steel FH-2 three-blade propellers delivered the grip and acceleration we have come to love.

The Volvo 200G, like its higher horsepower sisters, features the latest automotive technology in terms of direct injection and variable valve control. Fuel is injected directly into the combustion chamber at extreme pressures (up to 2250psi). This atomises the fuel, allowing better combustion, which reduces emissions and fuel use. Variable valve control changes the exhaust and inlet valve timing to maximise exhaust gas scavenging and clean air intake. This leads to better torque, lower fuel consumption and cleaner burning.

The review boat was a Whittley CR2380, a fibreglass cruiser designed for day and overnight cruising. A complete package 3236kg (on trailer), is 9m LOA and has a beam of 2.5m, with a 19-degree deadrise and a fine entry angle.

Whittley 2380 CR video

  

Whittley chose the 200-G for its efficiency and cost, as well as its relatively low weight thanks to the all-aluminium block. Access to the marvellous Duoprop leg will no doubt have also played a part in the decision.

With Duoprop leg and the FH-2 stainless steel props, the weight is around 404kg for this combination. While this is heavier than outboards of the same horsepower by almost a factor of two, it’s lighter than comparable inboards such as the MerCruiser V6.

The Volvo Penta 200G inboard in the Whittley CR2380 offered better than expected holeshot, especially when considering the V6 was pushing about 2500kg of on-water weight. That’s partly down to the grip afforded by the Duoprop, but mainly down to the engine’s cutting-edge technology. The variable valve timing holds both exhaust and intake valves open longer, to allow more gases in and out, which increases low-down torque immensely, while direct injection helps wring the most from every drop of fuel.

 

Duoprop leg and propellers

Volvo Penta Duoprop FH propeller

The Duoprop leg was perfectly propped to the hull with Volvo Penta’s own FH-2 propellers. The props got the best out of the engine finding optimal cruise at 4000rpm which returning 21 knots at 28.8 litres per hour which gave us an effective range, with 10 per cent in reserve, of 130 nautical miles.

We also reviewed a Volvo Penta 240G on the same day and found the high horsepower model was most efficient at the same rpm but used six litres per hour more while pushing the lighter Whittley SL22 hull to 34kt. The 240G was again running a Duoprop leg but ran FH-2 propellers. It shows the flexibility in the engine and that the lower power model can prove efficient when spinning the right props, albeit in the more leisurely cruise the Whittley CR2380 deserves.

 

Economy

Volvo 200-G marine engine

At optimal cruise, the fuel burn rate of 0.71nm or 1.31km per litre is okay considering the on-water weight of the boat and motor package. We have seen some outboards beat the efficiency of the Volvo Penta 200G but typically on lighter packages. Flat out, at wide-open throttle, we saw 0.52nm per litre at 65 litres per hour, which is typical of most 200hp outboards for fuel consumption; however, a top speed of only 34kt highlights the struggle with the weight.

At a trolling speed of 6.7kt the engine was spinning faster than expected at 2500rpm while burning a wallet-busting 14.5L/h or only 0.46nm per litre. Re-propping for lower revs is recommended for gamefishing but it will come at a cost to acceleration and top speed.

The engine and leg are super-smooth and quiet. I have always preferred six or more cylinders for the inherent smoothness, and the Volvo 200G inboard is no let down. The only noticeable noise came from engagement of the leg, which met with a heavy clunk; it would be nice to see Volvo Penta adopt a technology like Yamaha’s fantastic SDS Hub.

 

Emissions

Volvo prides itself on low emissions and this latest engine is top of the charts, earning a maximum five-star emission rating and complying with all major standards such as CARB, EU and US EPC standards. With through-leg exhaust we never noticed any smoke or fumes.

 

Electronic Vessel Control (EVC)

Whittley 2380 CR boat

Volvo sets the benchmark with its electronic throttle through its Electronic Vessel Control (EVC). This is something the marine market needs to adapt across all engines. The throttle is silky smooth and trimming is easy and progressive. Combined with most mainstream electronics through NMEA2000 or Volvo’s own Volvo Glass Cockpit, data is shown by way of electronic display. We’re big fans of these systems as they allow users to choose what they see and often work in tandem with sounders and radars to show more data than gauges alone can.

The 200-G needs its first service at 30 hours or three months, then every 100 hours or annually thereafter. This is on par with most marine engines. Service points are at the front of the engine and are labelled clearly.

 

The verdict

Whittley 2380 CR review

The wow factor with the Volvo 200-G has to be its EVC system and interface by way of NMEA2000. The engine is quiet, okay on fuel at cruise, and clean running but the way the throttle engages and data is displayed on either your sounder or Volvo Glass makes for a user experience like no other in its class.

 

Volvo Penta 200-G sea trials

Volvo Penta 200-G inboard running Duoprop stern drive and FH-2 stainless steel props on a Whittley CR 2830 with two people on board and 180L fuel.

Revs

Speed (kts)

Fuel Burn (L/h)

Economy (nm/L)

Range (nm)

Idle

1.94

2.30

0.85

154

1000

3.13

4.00

0.78

142

1500

4.64

5.60

0.83

151

2000

5.67

8.10

0.70

127

2500

6.70

14.50

0.46

84

3000

7.83

21.60

0.36

66

3500

14.36

24.80

0.58

105

4000

20.52

28.80

0.71

130

4500

24.62

35.70

0.69

125

5000

28.35

44.00

0.64

117

5500

31.53

58.00

0.54

99

6100/WOT

33.80

65.50

0.52

94

* Sea-trial data supplied by the author.

 

Volvo Penta 200G specs

TYPE Direct injection petrol V6 inboard

RATED HP 200

DISPLACEMENT 4300cc

WEIGHT 404kg (inc DPS drive)

GEAR RATIO 1.85

PROPELLER Duoprop FH-2

 

MORE INFORMATION

Whittley Marine

99 Freight Drive, Somerton, Victoria, 3062

PHONE +61 (3) 8339 1800

WEB whittleymarinegroup.com.au

 

 


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