What we think: Any pontoon that scoots to over 40 miles per hour will satisfy the performance enthusiast, and the Manitou 22 Legacy SHP does that with nary a creak, rattle or roll. It does do it with some of the most exciting maneuvers possible in a pontoon boat.
We called the SHP (Sport Handling Package) the most innovative concept three years ago. Its foundation is the center tube, which is bigger and mounted lower than the outer tubes, with lifting strakes on all sides. We could feel the boat rise when the motor was trimmed, and the turning ability (with trim back down) is the most aggressive we've seen on a pontoon. We enjoyed the Mercury Verado 225-horsepower outboard that our test boat came with, reaching the high 40s, but many people might find a 175 hp engine to be satisfactory.
Pontooning isn't all about performance, however. The Legacy SHP measures up in the lounge-ability category as well. Its bow lounges are so comfortable, we couldn't resist stretching out for a few minutes in the warm afternoon sun during our test run. Adjustments to the helm can be made without having to grope around for knobs under the seat. The chrome-trimmed console is one of the biggest we've seen on a pontoon. It allows for an oversize storage bin and a shelf to keep the stereo system safely out of the elements. As for safety, owners are bound to try some hard turns with the SHP, so warn passengers to hang on tight -- not a frequent topic in a pontoon boat, is it?
Who should buy it: Performance-minded pontooners who demand a good measure of comfort will like the Manitou 22 Legacy SHP, which hit a top speed between 45 and 50 mph and has some of the most comfortable chairs in the industry.
Vital Stats * Length Overall: 21'6" * Beam: 8'6" * Dry Weight: 2,653 lb. * Seating/Weight Capacity: 10/2,425 lb. * Fuel Capacity: 55 gal. * Max HP: 225 * MSRP (w/ Mercury Verado 225): $56,985 * NMMA Certified: Yes
Mercury 115 four-stroke $44,790
Honda 150 four-stroke $47,122
Suzuki 225 four-stroke $53,607
Manitou 24 Legacy
Max HP: 130
Go with the twin-tube version and bring the price way down, or opt for the SHP for big performance points.
Manitou 26 Legacy SHP
Max HP: 300 (OB and I/O)
Go to the flagship in the Legacy line and you might also give thought to rigging with a MerCruiser 350 Mag.
- Sony stereo with CD player has convenient digital display for easy viewing at high speed.
- Chaise longue folds up to form private changing room.
- "Activity locker" at the stern features massive storage space.
- Power-assisted steering helps rein in the 225-horsepower Mercury Verado.
- Helm recliner has stainless-steel frame for great durability.
Test Drive * Test Engine: Mercury Verado 225 hp * Test Prop: 18" Mirage stainless steel * Test Load: People (180 lb.); Fuel (50 gal.) * Top Speed: 47.9 mph @ 5,500 rpm * Time to 20 mph: 4.8 sec. * Time to 30 mph: 6.8 sec.