Captain's ReportEye-Popping Performance with Turns Like a Speed Boat By Capt. Robert SmithManitou’s new Cruise series takes much of its design from the Oasis line, yet has added quiet a bit of pizzazz. The V-toon technology and Sport Handling Package (SHP) aren’t just catchy marketing terms either. These boats actually do handle like a V-hull cutting sharp, tight turns including snappy figure eights with little effort and barely a reduction in speed. The center tube is 27” in diameter and the two outboard tubes are 23” in diameter. Match that with some keel designs and strakes and you have a pontoon boat with sport boat handling.Practical Features and LayoutEntry gates on the 20 include wide gates so you don’t have to struggle to bring along big items or wheelchairs. The cushions are dense and vinyl leather touch that are scuff, mildew and mold resistant as well as they are easy to clean. The seat bases are Roto-molded but with double walls. This allows the speakers and floor lighting to be mounted inside. Typically, base mounted speakers don’t carry sound as well, but the Kicker speakers are in the sandwich which really helps direct the sound better. Most all storage boxes have ventilation, but I bet the dual wall also makes it easier to keep the gear dry and drained as well.With family or mixed company, changing on board is always a challenge. A changing room on an upscale pontoon boat isn’t new, but what they do is relatively new. Their changing room is mounted in the end of the aft lounger next to the center gate. Most are in the stern eating up much needed storage. You can also have a port-a-potty inside. It’s not bigger, just placed smarter.At the HelmIf you zeroed in on just the helm panel and blocked out everything else, you would swear you were aboard a high-end speed boat. Bezels are color coordinated to the upholstery as well as the Dino tilt wheel with hydraulic power assisted steering. The radio faceplate and switch panel sparkle like a diamond ring due to the highly polished metal. The stereo is Sirius Satellite ready. What makes it even more interesting, fun and versatile is the auxiliary input panel to the opposite side of the wheel. On this side is a cradle for an iPod or MP3 player, input to bridge it to the stereo AND a jack to plug in a flash drive to download up to 1 gigabyte of music into the stereo. That is definitely something I have not seen before. Below the dash, you do have room to stow some things like the soft side cooler. Inside is the hydraulic steering pump and plumbing as well as wiring harness and board. There is unpainted plywood in here, but it is marine grade and covered under the warranty. The door has pockets in it that will be convenient to stow some charts of your favorite lakes or a book to read while lounging at anchor.The Gathering SpotAft seating is where everyone will gather for a chat. The lounger wraps around from the center gate to the stern gate and is just as comfortable as the two relaxing loungers in the bow. Additional storage space below the seats insure you have room to bring along enough snacks, store the table that sets up back here and keep the life jackets handy. The sun pad across the back is large enough for an adult to stretch out. It has a rolled edge bolster to keep you onboard with a 7” safety rail for added security and safety. Lifting up the lid, you find a huge, deep wet locker for storing the tow lines, skis or boards. Below that, are the battery switch, oil reservoir, battery and fuel tank which is accessed through a hatch on the end next to the stern gate. Through the stern gate you have a telescoping swim ladder with high arching grab rails that mean every one should be able to pull themselves on board.Everyone can stay under cover with the easy to deploy Sunbrella bimini cover. The square frame has quick connects that mean in about one minute you can have it set up, stowed in the boat or dropped down for towing. There are no web straps to sing in the wind or break down with the ultra violet light.In conclusion, I was wowed by the performance of the Cruise series. I am told often that a pontoon is a performance boat, but this is the rare occasion that I can actually agree that it has V-hull type performance and response to the wheel and throttle. Many boaters with a family that want more room, but demand to still have a boat with some guts will like this pontoon.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Manitou 20 X-Plode Cruise SHP is 43.3 mph (69.7 kph), burning 15.2 gallons per hour (gph) or 57.53 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Manitou 20 X-Plode Cruise SHP is 23.4 mph (37.7 kph), and the boat gets 3.97 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.69 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 203 miles (326.7 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 175-hp Evinrude E-TEC.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
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