Boat Test Monday: Sylvan 8525 Signature LZ

November 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!

Sylvan 8525 Signature LZ


Our First Impression

It's been fun to watch the Sylvan line of pontoon boats really evolve into high-end luxury crafts over the last few years. The manufacturer appears to know no bounds when it comes to creating a luxury pontoon that is loaded with great features and top-of-the-line amenities and this new model is no exception.


Consumer Test

Key highlights on this all-new model for 2012 start with posh rear-entry lounges in the stern. Designed with comfort in mind, despite having other great seating options onboard like the extra tall reclining helm chair and the two bow chaises with moveable arm rests, we predict these two lounges will be the most coveted. All the furniture uses a soft-touch vinyl, which you really need to feel for yourself to truly appreciate the quality. Another unique feature worth noting is the comfy first-mate chair across from the helm station that includes a pull-out footrest, which is something we don't normally find and really like on this model.

One of our favorite areas on this boat is just outside the rear gate and that's the swim deck, complete with synthetic teak flooring and a boarding ladder that is part of the aluminum extended platform. Considering this pontoon has an optional center pontoon with an in-floor ski locker that is 18 inches deep and over 7 feet long, it's a little surprising this particular model didn't come standard with a ski/tow bar, but one is available as an option.

At the helm is a great-looking symmetrical console, complete with easy-to-read gauges, lighted rocker switches, full instrumentation, built-in GPS, as well as a stereo, USB port and a 12-volt outlet. Plus there is even a cupholder for the driver, which is just one of the 16 that we found on this boat including four portable ones. Other features include the pop-up changing room and large stereo speakers throughout the boat. 


Inspection Test

The three modified Revolutionary Planing Technology V-shaped pontoons are chambered with a keel and the weld quality is good. Built into the 25-inch diameter pontoons are lifting strakes on both sides of the outside tubes. The hat-shaped cross-members are bolted to the plywood deck and are on 24-inch centers overall and closer near the transom. We also like how the center pontoon has been incorporated to include the motor pod. 

Above deck there is nearly 23 feet of usable deck space from inside the gate, and the wiring below the fiberglass helm console is well bundled and protected, earning the boat high marks for craftsmanship and fit and finish work. Plus, it's backed with Sylvan's lifetime plus 6 warranty, which covers the life of the tubes, deck and transom and six years on everything else.


Performance Test

With a 0 to 20 mph time of 4.8 seconds, this Sylvan with a Mercury Pro XS 225 OptiMax isn't messing around. At full throttle we reached speeds over 40 miles per hour and had a blast cruising around the lake. Sylvan's exclusive Revolutionary Planing Technology V-shaped tubes help improve top speed as well as overall fuel efficiency. She turns flat and handles great and having that much power to play with really adds to the fun factor.


Who Should Buy It

There is a lot of added value with the new Sylvan, and we feel a lot of people are going to appreciate the extra-mile effort that the manufacturer went to in creating a comfortable and posh pontoon. Loaded with features and of course plenty of power, this could actually be considered a great multi-use boat with enough great seating options so that no one has to be left behind at the dock.  

Why We Love This Boat
Sylvan goes big with this model with a large helm console, huge swim platform, overstuffed furniture and a great 225hp engine package. 


Just Being Picky
Although available as an option, a boat with this much power, an in-floor ski locker and a beautiful swim deck really should come standard with a ski/tow bar.  


Notable Standards
Plush furniture with 2 rear-facing lounges, changing room, portable cupholders, fiberglass helm console with lighted switches and a high-back helm chair.


Options On Test Boat
Revolutionary Planing Technology (RPT) Tubes, synthetic teak flooring in bow and stern, round center pontoon with in-floor storage, GPS, underdeck lighting, hydraulic steering and aluminum splash skin.


Vital Stats & Specs

Number of Occupants14

Price As Tested With Power - $46.6K

Maximum Speed - 41.0 mph

Wild Ponies - 225hp

No. of Gates - 3

0-20 MPH - 4.8 seconds               

Ladder Steps - 4

Ladder Measurement - 3'       
LOA - 26' 10"

Beam - 8' 6"

Hull Design - RPT Tubes

Dry Weight - 2,575 lbs.

Fuel Capacity - 30 Gallons

Tallest Rail OnboardSides 27"

Lowest Rail Onboard  - Sides 27"

Changing Room Height - 5' 4"


Test Drive

RPM      vs.      SPEED     vs.   D-A    

600                  3.3 mph            80.5                

1000                4.4 mph            81       

1500                7.7 mph            88

2000                10.5 mph          86                               

2500                12.7 mph          95.5    

3000                15.5 mph          99       

3500                20.4 mph          93.5                            

4000                24.0 mph          94       

4500                28.0 mph          97       

5000                32.5 mph          99

5500                41.0 mph          99.5



Price As Tested                        $46,599

(Boat and Motor)


Base Price

(Boat Only)                              $20,077

New Paris, Ind.


Don't forget to check out the video of the test:

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