We Say: Manitou’s 23 XT X-Plode is one of the slickest-looking, smartest-handling performance pontoons we’ve tested. Stepping aboard through a distinctive billet-aluminum bow gate, we found ourselves beckoned by plush seating that includes stern seats that convert into a pair of large, aft-facing lounges; twin Millennium Falcon-inspired captain’s chairs amidships; and wraparound lounge seats forward. The 23 XT X-Plode’s deck is surrounded by double-walled fiberglass side panels with an aluminum wakeboard tower overhead and a raised fiberglass helm console — all of them complementing this ‘toon’s dynamic design and color graphics.
The X-Plode’s performance is equally dynamic. Twin 23-inch-diameter V-Toons flank a 27-inch-diameter center tube. These combine to create a mono-hull ride experience. We noted a wide-open-throttle speed of 53 mph on the touch-controlled Smart Screen readout, an easy-to-read, high-tech panel that serves as ground zero for monitoring the gauges and controlling the powerful, Bluetooth-enabled, Kicker-boosted sound system, as well as the remote-controlled retractable wakeboard tower. This unique, high-performance pontoon will turn heads at the dock and on the water.
Who’d Want One: Boaters seeking watersports capability aboard a distinctive performance pontoon.
Another Choice: The Harris Crowne SL 250 ($93,035 with a 300 hp Mercury Verado).
Bottom Line: $106,800 (as tested); manitoupontoonboats.com