Compared to your grandparents’ putt-putt party barge, Manitou’s 27 XT SRW seems transported from the future. Its contoured fiberglass exterior offers styling impossible to achieve with classic aluminum fencing. Its twin outboards combine to produce a jaw-dropping 900 hp. And then there are the controls. Rather than rockers or toggles, digital switching is incorporated into twin Garmin GPSMap 743xs touchscreen displays staggered across the boat’s dash.
Don’t forget the speed. With a pair of 450 hp Mercury Racing outboards, our test boat powered instantaneously onto plane, reached 30 mph in 5 seconds flat and peaked at over 77 mph. That the boat felt so comfortable at that speed is chalked up in part to Manitou’s solid construction and the patented V-Toon Technology pontoon configuration. A pair of 25-inch tubes to port and starboard and a central 27-inch pontoon dropped 5 ¼ inches lower in the water add a total of six lifting strakes to the mix, resulting in a boat that’s both stable at high speed and powers through corners like a V-hull.
Interior and Accessories
Our test boat’s standard joystick control made the XT stand out when trying to dock. Mercury’s Joystick Piloting for Outboards controller instantly translates input to corresponding movement of the boat, -adjusting approach angle, crabbing sideways or compensating for the effects of wind with just a push, pull or twist of the knob. The XT’s raised helm platform offers a better view, and the port console is raised too. Both feature tempered-glass windscreens for protection.
The SRW floor plan is highlighted by a pair of 5-foot lounges at the stern, with powered aft-facing backrests. Configurations change via the combination center cushion and aft backrest that pivots horizontally or vertically on a polished stainless-steel arm. It’s complemented by an aft rail and stainless-steel ski-tow bar through-bolted into the framework. Forward, parallel 7-foot couches offer additional passenger seating. Like other furniture, they were covered in black vinyl, a finish that resists heat. Evidently, the future is cool in more ways than one.
How We Tested
- Engines: Twin Mercury 450R
- Drive/Props: Outboard/Mercury Rev 4 14.63″ x 23″ 4-blade stainless steel
- Gear Ratio: 1.60:1 Fuel Load: 75 gal. Crew Weight: 330 lb.
- Painted fiberglass walls and rear seating pods create a sleek, seamless exterior.
- Power Sport Tower is controlled from Garmin digital dashboard, and incorporates a Bimini top and tow pylon.
- Platinum Package adds Power Sport Tower, center in-tube storage, and JL Audio system upgrade with an additional 10-inch subwoofer.
- Given potential speeds, the low-profile bow—and its short 10-inch seatbacks—doesn’t offer much security.
- That cool remote FOB doesn’t float.
- Snap-in EVA matting is a nice standard, but the snaps didn’t always hold at top speed.
PlayCraft is another pontoon-maker that puts a premium on high-speed performance. The 30-foot Powertoon X-Treme 3000 (starting at $269,900 with twin Mercury Racing 450 outboards) forgoes Manitou’s sleek fiberglass exterior and more luxurious interior, but trims substantial weight in the process.
Pricing and Specs
|Price:||$331,314 (with twin Mercury 450Rs)|
|Fuel Capacity:||90 gal.|
|Available Power:||Single or dual Mercury, Honda, Yamaha or Suzuki outboards up to 900 hp|
Speed, Efficiency, Operation
Manitou Pontoon Boats – Lansing, Michigan; 517-322-3822; manitoupontoonboats.com