Boat Test Monday: Manitou 23 Legacy SHP

October 2012 Boat Test Monday

Every year, we meet up with some of the top manufactures in the pontoon and deck boat world to test their newest models. All of these reviews are compiled in a special Boat Test issue that comes out during the first part of the year. Here is one of the best 2012 models. Enjoy!

Manitou 23 Legacy SHP


Our First Impression

With couch-like furniture and an unbelievable sound system, this `toon was made to entertain. With too many luxurious features to even mention, we didn't know where to start. But what we did know is Manitou knows a thing or two about performance so we were ready to see if this version lived up to its past performance models.


Consumer Test

The creature comforts and sporty feel to this Manitou could inspire a dozen new Jimmy Buffett songs. With a very inviting layout and color scheme, you instantly feel at home when you come aboard. Even the two bow chaise lounges have pop-up locking armrests so you can really get comfortable. Below all the seats are great storage areas and with the drop-down hinges this space is easy to access.

Speaking of storage, it's amazing how much extra room in on this pontoon. For starters, below the double wide sundeck is a large trunk-like storage space that is ideal for tubes. There is also a compartment for your batteries, which is a great addition to this sundeck storage design. And if you're still looking for places to hide your toys, the optional in-floor ski locker at over two feet deep and nearly seven feet long is a great choice.

At the helm is a very sporty, yet elegant dash console and the black and chrome colors help tie it in well with the rest of the boat. The automotive style console with multi-function gauges includes a built-in GPS, MP3 port, Protmet pontoon mirror as well as a Rockford Fosgate stereo. This sound system with Polk Audio speakers, a 1000 watt amp under the helm and a 10-inch subwoofer behind the driver's chair, is sure to lead to a fun time out on the water.

The raised helm uses a synthetic teak flooring for the captain and we like that this same flooring is used in the rear swim deck area. Other key features include a pop-up changing room built into the chaise, captain's chair with bolster and a ski/tow bar that is sure to be put to good use on this pontoon.


Inspection Test

The Sport Handling Package (SHP) is a unique hull that includes two 23-inch diameter pontoons and a 27-inch diameter center log with positive angle lifting strakes on all three. The hat-shaped cross-members are on 9-inch centers overall and are bolted to the plywood deck. From the wiring to the weld quality, the undercarriage craftsmanship earned high marks for the outstanding fit and finish work. Up top there is over 14 feet of usable deck space from inside the bow gate to the rear bench seat.


Performance Test

This is one of those pontoons that just kept getting faster and faster as we cruised along. With the impressive Evinrude E-TEC 250 HO, we hit speeds over 50 miles per hour. Of course with that SHP hull she banked beautifully in the sharp turns and handled like a dream with the power-assist steering. It's nice to feel totally in control and safe, while reaching unbelievable speeds in a pontoon boat. Manitou is known for its thrill rides and this Legacy didn't disappoint.  


Who Should Buy It

If you have a La-Z-Boy chair in your den, drive a sports car and are in the market for a high-end pontoon, this Legacy is worthy of a closer look. This Manitou is really for boaters who want a little more out of their pontoon experience and this total package as tested will meet and exceed those expectations.

Why We Love This Boat
Great sound system, performance hull and a powerful outboard engine, the fun factor level on this comfy high-end pontoon is as high as you dare dream.   


Just Being Picky
We did note that the sundeck storage door rattled a little at idle, but it's probably just this specific model that we tested and nothing to be too concerned with.   

Notable Standards
Raised helm, Lowrance color fishfinder with GPS, blue LED track lighting, power steering, color mooring cover, walk-around transom, high back reclining captain's chair, Rockford Fosgate stereo, Shaw carpet, ski/tow bar and toy box. 


Options On Test Boat 

Rear fiberglass deck, Polk sound system, in-tube storage, Protmet pontoon mirror and dual battery smart switch.

Vital Stats & Specs
Number of Occupants - 11

Price As Tested With Power - $64.9K

Maximum Speed - 53.1 mph

Wild Ponies - 250hp

No. of Gates3

0-20 MPH - 5.5 seconds               

Ladder Steps - 4          

Ladder Measurement - 3'       

LOA - 24' 4"

Beam8' 6"

Hull Design - V-Toon

Dry Weight  - 3,125 lbs.

Fuel Capacity - 54 Gallons

Tallest Rail Onboard - Sides 26"

Lowest Rail Onboard - Bow 24"

Changing Room Height - 5' 7"




RPM      vs.      SPEED     vs.   DB-A  

600                  1.8 mph            77.5                            

1000                4.7 mph            83       

1500                7.7 mph            84.5

2000                9.5 mph            86                               

2500                14.8 mph          89       

3000                20.5 mph          89.5    

3500                24.4 mph          93                               

4000                30.8 mph          98       

4500                36.2 mph          99       

5000                42.2 mph          102

5500                48.6 mph          102.5

5800                53.1 mph          103.5

Price As Tested                        $64,900

(Boat and Motor)


Base Price

(Boat Only)                              $37,600

Lansing, Mich.



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