|Max Headroom||open||Bridge Clearance||N/A|
|Std. Power||Not Available|
|Tested Power||1 x 150-hp Evinrude E-TEC|
1 x 150-hp Evinrude E-TEC 150
By Capt. Steve--
The mission of the Sylvan Mirage 8522 LZ is to provide a comfortable and luxurious pontoon boat at a cost-efficient price point. She's offered in two versions, with slight modifications to the seating layout differentiating between the two. With her RPT toon design she gets on plane fast which should appeal to watersports enthusiasts.
The Sylvan Mirage 8522 LZ.
The Sylvan Mirage is an open and inviting boat with a comfortable layout.
• Four Admiral’s Chairs. These chairs are as comfortable as can be because they swivel and even recline. The armrests are self leveling. Some boats have one or two, but we rarely see four.
• Painted Fencing. We typically see panels that are fixed with decals to add highlights. These are actually painted and offered in a choice of four colors.
• All Aluminum Transom. This is a departure from the extended pressure-treated wood platforms, mostly covered in carpet, that we normally see.
• Standard Docking Lights. There are few things in boating more restful than a sunset cruise on an inland lake in the summer. And its nice to see the approaching dock when coming home.
• RPT Tubes. Sylvan calls this Revolutionary Planing Technology and it not only offers quicker times to plane, but the Mirage gets up on plane from a level attitude. The tubes also have a 20-degree deadrise to a hard chine on both sides of the toon, much like a deep-V monohull or the pontoons on a sea planes, which usually have a 24-degree deadrise.
• 6-Year Warranty. Sylvan offers a 6-year warranty on all components from stem to stern. Its toons and marine plywood deck are warranted for a lifetime and are transferrable to a second owner, according to the company.
Even on our choppy test day, the Mirage manages to keep the spray down low providing a dry ride.
Pontoon construction is moving more and more into an advanced area providing boats with more sportboat-like characteristics. The design team at Sylvan call their design RPT for Revolutionary Planing Technology and they seem to have an interesting, and effective take on how it's done. The tubes are 25” (63.5 cm) across with flat sides. The bottom takes on the contour of a V-hull sportboat with flat chines and, what could accurately be described as a 20-degree deadrise bottom. There's even a keel at the bottom to aid in tracking.
The bottoms of the tubes are reminiscent of a V-hull boat, complete with chines and keel.
The engine mounting pod is even more characteristic of a boat hull with a vertical stem and sharp entry and a bottom that gets lower as the design moves aft. There are even two planing fins with beveled outer edges mounted to the sides. Lifting strakes are added to the front of the tubes.
The pod unit that the engine is mounted to has a descending keel, lifting wings and a sharp entry. There is nothing on the market quite like it.
The tubes are two piece with a single seam down the center.
Tubes are mounted to the deck with “M” brackets for solid support.
The corners of the deck are protected with a stainless guard to absorb impact against the dock. Each has non-skid for boarding as well.
The Sylvan Mirage 8522 LZ has a LOA of 23'10" (7.26 m) and a beam of 8'6" (2.59 m). With an empty weight of 2,295 lbs.(1,041 kg), 30 gallons (113.6 L) of fuel, two people and test power on board we had a test weight of 3,313 lbs. (1,503 kg).
With a 150-hp Evinrude E-TEC turning a 15 5/8 x 13" SSP prop we reached a top speed of 5650 rpm of 34.9 mph. At that speed fuel burn was 15.7 gph giving us a range of 60 miles. She doesn't really have a best planing speed so users can determine for themselves whether they want to go far or fast. With that said, I found her to be most comfortable at 3500 rpm and 20.5 mph. That produced a fuel burn of 6.3 gph which the Sylvan Mirage could keep up for 4 hours and 18 min. and 88 miles.
Hole-Shot Wizard. Thanks to the RPT tubes and her 2-stroke Evinrude E-TEC power we reached planing speed in only 2.6 seconds, accelerated through 20 mph in 3.4 seconds and 30 mph in 6.2 seconds. These are remarkable times for what is essentially a twin-toon boat.
The 8522 LZ seems to come up on plane from a level attitude thanks to the wings mounted from the sides of the extended engine pod. Engine trim seems to have little to no effect as I noticed no difference in the spray coming from the sides of the boat or in the speed as we cruised along the lake.
We put her through a fairly punishing test amid chop generated by 20 mile-an-hour winds. Testing in these kinds of conditions can bring out the worst in a pontoon boat. They can hobby horse or drench the passengers aboard. Happily, the Mirage 8522 performed well. The ride was surprisingly dry and while we did experience some hard bumps, it was nothing more than what was to be expected when running nearly 35 mph into consecutive speed bumps in the face of 20-mph winds. (The apparent wind was 55 mph.) With the two tubes being spaced well apart, I did notice some flexing of the foredeck, but again nothing more than expected on a twin-tube design.
When turning I noticed that she tends to lean to the outside of the turns roughly 4 ½- degrees. This is the nature of virtually all twin-toon pontoon boats, and the Mirage 8522 LZ is no exception. FYI -- catamaran powerboats do the same thing, and it is just the nature of the design.
The Comfort Factor. As noted above, the RPT hulls are not round, but rather have a 20-degree deadrise. Just as in monohulls, where a 20 to 24-degree deadrise is molded into the bottom to make the boat more comfortable at high speed in a wicked chop, so, too, does the Mirage 8522 LZ have a 20-degree deadrise in each of its toons for the same reason. And while I have no gauge to measure it, the seat of pants tells me that this boat was more comfortable barreling through the chop than conventional twin toons.
For years we have tried getting video on all sorts of boats in choppy conditions, but the camera is all over the place and no one could watch the video, nor would it mean anything. That's why we shoot in flat water, as we did for this test in the lee of a peninsula. When it comes to ride, readers will just have to take my word for it.
While this may look like a turn to starboard it is actually a turn to port and it shows how the Sylvan Mirage has a slight lean to the outboard side of the turn. This is something virtually all twin toons do.
Here’s another view of the outboard turning characteristic. This was shot during a turn to starboard.
A boarding gate at the bow leads to roomy bow seating that features three admiral’s chairs to the port side and a wraparound lounge to the starboard side just ahead of the helm. One of the two pedestal bases for the single standard pedestal table is mounted in the center of the foredeck. All seating is as comfortable as I've ever felt on any pontoon boat and the admiral’s chairs swivel and recline. An insulated cooler with drink holders lies between the two forward seats.
It’s hard to picture a more welcoming gathering area in the bow of the Sylvan Mirage.
Stainless steel speaker grills and drink holders are nestled into the seatback.
Storage is under the seats and under the chaise seatback ensuring that all usable space has a purpose.
The helm of the Sylvan Mirage is an excellent example of elegant simplicity. The console is a beige tone to reduce glare and faux wood panels are recessed into tan vinyl. White-faced gauges with chrome bezels are to either side of the leather wrapped three-spoke wheel. A door to the side of the helm console allows access to the storage beneath. Directly across the helm is a portside boarding gate.
The helm is in close proximity to both the fore and aft gathering areas keeping the captain in the center of the conversation.
The faux wood panels have a classy look and white gauges with chrome bezels provide an eye-catching contrast.
Always with pontoon boats the control is at nearly a 45-degree angle... even here, when a separate mounting point is molded into the console.
The lower panel curves around the inside of the console and Sylvan created an MP3 holder next to the jack and 12V power outlet.
The stern of our test boat featured wraparound seating with three of the seats having drink holders embedded into the seatbacks. The seats to both sides also had stainless steel grilles mounted to the speakers. The forward ends of the seats are 2’ 4 ½” (.71m) across and the seats themselves are 3'5" (1.05 m) across. The corner seats had a battery to one side and a steering pump underneath the cushion to the other side. The remaining seats all have the usual accommodations for storage underneath.
Yet another admiral’s chair lies across from the helm allowing the same vantage point that the captain enjoys.
The center stern seat is removable allowing access to the aft boarding gate. Notice the optional teak-grain vinyl decking.
The reboarding ladder is to starboard and the hinge point is nearly at the water level.
The center-aft seat is removable allowing access to the stern gate and the swim platform. The seat can also be relocated to the bow to increase the seating in that area. The swim platform on our test boat was covered with the optional teak grain vinyl flooring. A reboarding ladder was secured to the starboard side but with its hinge point being so low to the water I found it difficult to retract from the deployed position.
The Bimini support is made from BB square channel and the all-around nav light is mounted to the top.
My overall impression of the Sylvan Mirage is that she presents a very comfortable and functional entertaining platform with versatile seating that is among the most comfortable on any pontoon boat I have ever tested. By putting four admiral's seats on the Mirage 8522, everyone can be a grand pooh bah at least for some of the cruise. Don't snicker -- it's a great feeling and guests will love it.
Her handling characteristics and hole shot times also make her an excellent watersports platform so feel free to bring the kids along on the next waterborne adventure. With a time to plane even oldsters will be able to get up on skis without much trouble. And that, together with her comfortable ride are this boat's strong suits.
For those looking for even faster WOT speeds we suggest consideration of one of Sylvan's tri-toon hulls. Tri-toons are generally faster than twin toons. The Mirage 8522 is somewhat in the middle because of its centerline RPT engine pod that undoubtedly aids her time to plane and top speed of 34.9 mph top speed.
|Washdown: Fresh Water|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc|
= Standard = Optional
|Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.|