With Manitou’s patent-winning V-Toon design, and surrounded by high-tech looks and premium features topside, it’s easy to see — and feel — why this X-Plode series is going to be a popular performance pontoon. From the distinctive billet-aluminum entry gate, to the stainless-steel turnstile-inspired access at the transom and the design features in between, the X-Plode exudes excitement. The vibrant upholstery color combinations, fit and finish look fantastic, and complement the 23-footer’s dynamic panel accents. Seating options are plush, and strategic in size and placement with a pair of lounge seats forward, twin custom bucket seats center, and convertible lounge seating aft. The technology found aboard the new-for-’16 X-Plode model is cutting-edge as well, from the Manitou Smart Screen multifunction control panel, Bluetooth-enabled stereo and hydraulic-assist steering at the full-feature helm to the remote-powered wakeboard tower. Most impressive on the helm is the touch control panel that offers access to all gauges and switches, and it is even used to lower and raise the power wakeboard arch. Its logical interface is brilliant in sunlight.
Underway, the X-Plode is a pleasure to drive — and ride. The V-Toon’s large center-tube design and positive-angle lifting strakes placed on all three pontoons allow the boat to plane and heel like a monohull. The 27-inch-diameter center tube, positioned 1¼ inches lower than the 23-inch-diameter outside tubes, creates a critical 5¼-inch differential between the bottom of the center tube and the bottom of the outside tubes. Combined with positive-angle lifting strakes, the resulting deadrise and water displacement mimic those of a V-hull’s — and its handling characteristics. With the distinctive Evinrude G2 outboard, delivering 250 hp at the transom and boasting a design that is a perfect complement to the edgy lines and color schemes of the Manitou, we tallied a top speed of 53 mph and cruised in comfort at half that pace.
*Convertible all-aluminum wakeboard tower powers up and down.
*Stern seating converts to form a large, aft-facing lounge.
*Double-walled fiberglass side panels and a billet-aluminum bow gate
*Smart Screen gives touch-screen control of gauge readouts, accessories and the wakeboard tower’s position.
How We Tested
Engine: 250 hp Evinrude E-TEC G2
Drive/Prop: Outboard/Rebel 153/8″ x 18″ 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.86:1
Fuel Load: 30 gal.
Crew Weight: 240 lb.
$106,800 (as tested)
Manitou Lansing, Michigan; 800-999-9788; manitoupontoonboats.com