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Manitou 27 X-Plode XT RFX Dual SHP

Manitou's 27 X-Plode XT RFX Dual SHP is a speed demon with a high level of fit and finish.

December 13, 2017

With 800 horses on tap, it’s a speed demon at 70 mph full tilt and quick as a bat out of the hole. Zero to 30 mph in just 5.4 seconds will surprise many unsuspecting challengers. Performance is more than speed and acceleration, though, and the 27 X-Plode XT RFX Dual SHP delivers with crisp handling and a solid rough-water ride thanks to the patented V-toon triple-tube hull design. Power-assist hydraulic steering along with race-style Sport Master gear cases (with built-in low-water pickup nose cones and cambered skegs to offset torque) make the torque of the big twins disappear. As might be expected with such a large pontoon with so much power and the drag of twin gear cases, mileage suffers a bit: Best cruise was at 19 mph where we recorded just 2.3 mpg. But hey — if you can’t afford the gas, well, you know.

Manitou 27 X-Plode XT RFX Dual SHP
LOA: 28’8″ | Beam: 8’6″ | Dry Weight: 4,655 lb. | Seating/Weight Capacity: 15/2,055 lb. | Fuel Capacity: 90 gal. | More Information: manitoupontoonboats.com Bill Doster
Manitou 27 X-Plode XT RFX Dual SHP
Manitou 27 X-Plode XT RFX Dual SHP Bill Doster
Manitou 27 X-Plode XT RFX Dual SHP
Manitou 27 X-Plode XT RFX Dual SHP Bill Doster

Inside, the detailing on this boat just doesn’t stop, from the custom-cut billet-aluminum entry doors to the molded ­fiberglass seating with octagon-pattern multicolor vinyl. In the bow, riders relax on contoured lounges that stretch seemingly forever. Just aft of the port lounge is a pop-up privacy room. The little touches are many and well-thought-out; everywhere there’s a cup holder, mesh-lined storage pocket, or custom billet grab handle. Even the seat-bottom cushions open to reveal custom hammer-tone ­powder-coated ­billet hinges.

Manitou 27 X-Plode XT RFX Dual SHP
Manitou 27 X-Plode XT RFX Dual SHP Bill Doster

Pilot and co-pilot sit in contoured captain’s chairs. The compact dash features all-digital instruments and controls; ­every function on the boat, from lights to bilge pumps to the sound system, operates via touchscreen. The tiny windscreen does little to buffet the 70 mph winds, but it feels good when you’re howling down the lake at Mach 1.

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Aft, the conversation pit is much ­smaller but still plenty big for a nice little party. The rigging at the stern is immaculate, with a custom stainless-steel ski tow and telescoping boarding ladder. There’s another ski tow atop the arch that’s much better for wakeboarding.

Manitou 27 X-Plode XT RFX Dual SHP
Manitou 27 X-Plode XT RFX Dual SHP Bill Doster

High Points
* An attention-grabber in full peacock mode, Manitou’s swept design, coupled with custom metallic deep-red paint, ensures the 27 X-Plode XT RFX won’t go unnoticed at the sandbar.
* V-toon hull configuration, coupled with massive torque and horses from twin Mercury Racing Verado 400R outboards, backs up the sassy looks with strut, to the tune of real-deal 70 mph GPS speed.

Manitou 27 X-Plode XT RFX Dual SHP
Manitou 27 X-Plode XT RFX Dual SHP Certified Test Results Boating Magazine

How We Tested
Engine: Twin Mercury Racing Verado 400R FourStroke 400 hp
Drive/Prop: Outboard/Revolution 4 14 5/8″ x 21″ 4-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.75:1
Fuel Load: 26 gal.
Crew Weight: 375 lb.

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Price: $213,400 (as tested)

More Information
Manitou – Lansing, Michigan; 800-999-9788; manitoupontoonboats.com

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