Sylvan Marine has produced a great pontoon-boat starter package around its Mirage Cruise 8522 DLZ LE model. Fitted with a 115-horsepower Evinrude E-Tec Pontoon Series outboard, the maximum speed we attained during testing was 29 mph at 5,400 rpm, spinning a Solas stainless-steel four-blade 14.5-by-15-inch propeller through a special 2.25:1 gear ratio. That special gear ratio is unique to the Pontoon Series 90 hp and 115 hp E-Tecs. It makes for a strong runner, which delivers especially powerful grunt on the low end.
The Mirage is a thrifty package with the E-Tec. We noted that our most economical cruising speed was 15 mph at 3,000 rpm, where fuel mileage was 6 mpg (2.5 gph). The familiar two-stroke punch and growl delivered by the Evinrude E-Tec proved fun on this boat. But the 8522 DLZ LE’s max horsepower rating is 150, and a 150 would be more practical given that it wouldn’t have to work so hard to reach cruising speeds, whereas the 115 is turning higher rpm to achieve the same performance. Handling-wise, the 102-inch width of the Sylvan made it a stable platform even in hard turns; at nearly 24 feet long, it can bridge the spans of most lake waves nicely, so pitching is kept to a minimum.
Deck layout on this Mirage Cruise 8522 DLZ LE is geared more toward cruising and partying, less toward watersports. The rear deck area is a bit tight for that, a concession to making the best use of the available space for lounging. The perimeter fences reach right up to the absolute edge of the forward deck to accommodate two inward-facing bow loungers. The helm station and companion bucket seat amidships provide separation from the stern seating area. The console is a well-arranged unit with analog instruments and rocker-switch controls. A Kicker stereo provides good sounds, and a standard Evinrude binnacle controls the engine.
At the stern, the 8522’s seating arrangement is unique. The versatile dual-purpose lounger can switch from full lounge bench to double bench seat by moving the backrest. Stainless-steel perimeter fencing provides a measure of safety at the stern.
- Deck is fully utilized for entertaining.
- Aft seating converts to multiple configurations.
- Stanless-steel stern railing enhances safety.
- Cool! Arched top supports mirror the side-railing design.
How We Tested
Engine: Evinrude E-Tec 115 hp Pontoon Series
Drive/Prop: Outboard/Solas 14.5″ x 15″ 4-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 2.25:1
Fuel Load: 22 gal.
Crew Weight: 400 lb.
Sylvan Marine – New Paris, Indiana; 866-766-9698; sylvanmarine.com