We go into our Manitou tests each year with cleanslate thinking, just as the company did six years ago when it developed a fresh template that it’s built upon ever since. The 2010 version of the 22 X-Plode is the latest culmination of Manitou’s ideas for a multipurpose recreational boat.
The boat comes with more of a performance persona this year. The console on our test boat was brilliant white — same as the upholstery — with accents and bezels around the instrument panel to match the boat’s sidewall color. Even the switches under the throttle are on a silver plate, giving the helm a go-fast appearance.
And “go” is a perfect word for this boat. We neared 50 mph with a Yamaha 225 four-stroke, but what really sets the 22 X-Plode apart is the Sport Handling Package (SHP). This is the foundation, with a 27-inch center tube mounted 5.25 inches lower than the outer tubes to give a slightly deeper “keel” that allows aggressive banking in turns. The deeper engine mount also means the motor will accept more trim at higher speeds. It’s a water-sports boat dressed like a performance pontoon.
Manitou answers any storage concerns we might have for active boaters in two special designs. One is the Toy Box, a huge fiberglass storage tub directly under the sun-pad lid. It eliminates the need to crawl on the deck to fetch gear. Our boat also had an optional 6-foot-long in-floor locker built into the deep middle tube. All hatches slam shut on positive latches, much like car doors. Qualities like that prove that, throughout the boat, Manitou’s grand ideas are backed with positive details.
• Optional electric powered Bimini goes up and down via remote.
• Seats are seamless pillow-tops, with no rolls, so they look and feel more like real home furniture.
• Diamond-plate vinyl in the aft boarding area allows swimmers and riders to dry off before stepping into the carpeted cockpit.
• Battery and fuel reservoir can be accessed through two hatches in the Toy Box.
Test Drive * Test Engine: Yamaha 225 4-stroke * Test Prop: 21 pitch * Test Load: People (360 LB.) Fuel (45 GAL.) * Top Speed: 49.3 MPH @ 6,000 RPM * Time to 30 MPH: 7.7 sec. Vital Stats * Length Overall: 22’10” * Beam: 8’6″ * Dry Weight: 2,610 LB. * Seating/Weight Capacity: 11/1,680 LB. * Fuel Capacity: 57 GAL. * Max HP: 250 * MSRP: $53,600 (as tested) * NMMA Certified: Yes