One tester initially said this newly designed Mandalay ran right on par with the other three-tube pontoons we'd run during test week. Imagine his surprise when we looked closer and saw only two tubes under the deck.
Sylvan uses lifting strakes and full-length keels along the tubes, which are also air filled, a combination that allowed our two-log pontoon to carry a 200-horse motor, posting 42 mph and one of the quickest times to 20 mph (3.4 seconds) of our tests. This was also one of the quietest rigs we've experienced (go to boatinglife.com to compare sound levels). Thumbs up to Suzuki too for developing a 200 hp motor that's light, powerful and whisper quiet.
That said, conveniences at rest were top objectives in the Mandalay's redesign. The engineers left extra space behind the helm seat for a long galley, wide traffic area to the swim ladder and an innovative bar at what traditionally would be a sun pad. Three adjustable barstools face a large solid surface with upholstered rolls around the perimeter to keep refreshments in place.
This all fits a high-style aura, starting with the new bow pods that hold fenders and blend into solid-colored side panels. A similar idea is used inside the boat, where an upholstered driver's console runs seamlessly from the bow couch. Some of these design characteristics are more obvious than others, but bring them all together and they make a world of difference in the overall satisfaction of a boat owner.
Key Note: You lose some turning aggressiveness without the center tube, but there are cost savings to consider — and check out the two-tube performance.
• The fiberglass swim platform behind the double-paneled entry gate makes it easy to reboard or when prepping to ride a board or tube.
• Gauges are set inside barrellike trim to cut down glare and to accentuate the wood-grain look of the panel.
• Track lights under the shapely seats encourage casual nighttime cruises.
- Vital Stats
- Length (w/ platform): 25'3"
- Beam: 8'6"
- Passenger/Weight Capacity: 14/2,850 lb.
- Fuel Capacity: 24 gal.
- Maximum HP: 200
- MSRP (w/ Suzuki 200): $40,675
- Test Drive
- Test Engine: Suzuki 200 hp four-stroke
- Test Load: People (190 lb.), Fuel (6 gal.)
- Top Speed: 42.0 mph @ 5,500 rpm
- Time to 20 mph: 3.4 sec.
- Time to 30 mph: 5.7 sec.