Our First Impression
Here is another good example of a head scratcher. This
Manitou is capable of speeds over 40 miles per hour, turns like a V-hull with
three pontoons and yet the price as tested is under $30K. We know it’s not
always just about the price, but still, you’ve got to appreciate the value of a
pontoon like this.
There are three comfortable lounges onboard, two in the bow
and one in the stern. The chaise in the stern has one of the easiest-to-operate
changing rooms around. It’s built into the back and takes up very little space,
and when it’s open it stands at over four and a half feet tall, which is ideal
for younger kids.
Another great design feature is the rear entry that includes
a telescopic stainless ladder with great handholds, plus there is even a
standard ski/tow bar. Also standard is the rear vinyl that is not only on the
swim deck, but it extends a little into the boat as well. This is like a “mud
room” in the pontoon world where you can drip dry inside the stern gate after
coming aboard. We just wish more boats had it, because when carpeted, it seems
to be the area that collects a lot of water during the day.
For a boat priced this well we hate to be overly critical,
but cosmetically the interior doesn’t seem to flow as well as it could. There
is nothing in the vinyl or anywhere else to really tie in the red paneling and
we feel the helm console could match up a little better. The steering wheel and
stereo box are black, the panel uses a wood grain on the tan console and the
throttle is gray. For a value-driven pontoon it works just fine, we’re just
being picky and wish there were more of a flow to this boat from a color
standpoint. And in the bow, the gate could have been widened a little to fill
in the extra space that’s left from the entry to the furniture.
Overall we love the layout and the plush high-quality
seating that provides plenty of great seating options for those who come
With the Manitou VP package (Value Performance) you get the
unique hull that consists of two 23-inch diameter pontoons and a center 27-inch
diameter tube. The lifting strakes are on just the center pontoon, and we found
the weld quality to be excellent. The hat-shaped cross-members that are screwed
to the plywood deck are on 12-inch centers overall and on eight-inch centers
near the transom for added support. There is a full splash skin and the below
deck wiring is above average.
From inside the bow gate to the rear bench seat there is
nearly 12 feet of usable deck space on this 20-footer. The wiring below the
helm is well-protected and bundled and the fit and finish work throughout the
boat earned high marks.
The Evinrude 150 HO E-TEC is a perfect match for this
Manitou. She banks nicely into the sharp turns and you can’t help but be
impressed by the top speed at 43.1 miles per hour. This Manitou handles well
and is very responsive, which makes it a fun boat to drive.
Who Should Buy It
There is a lot of value in a boat like this. For what it
lacks in bells and whistles, it makes up in performance. The wide interior
design creates a sense of it being larger than it really is. This boat would be
ideal for the young family who is looking for some fun on the water, while
still staying on budget.
Number of Occupants 10
Price As Tested With Power $29.5K
Maximum Speed: 43.1
Wild Ponies: 150hp
No. of Gates 3
0-20 MPH 5.3
Ladder Measurement: 3’
Why we love this boat…From the
outside this is a very attractive and sporty-looking boat that backs it all up
by performing well with very impressive top-end speed.
Just being picky…Plastic furniture bases and not tying the
red exterior colors into the vinyl work hurts the flow of this pontoon
cosmetically, but we still like the layout overall.
hull, Sea Star steering, mooring cover, stainless rear-entry ladder and a
quick-release bimini top.
OPTIONS ON TEST BOAT
LOA 20' 10"
Dry Weight 1,950 lbs.
Fuel Capacity 24
Cylinder Type V6
Cubic-inch Displacement/Horsepower 158.2ci/150hp
Lower Unit Gear Ratio 1.86:1
Propeller 17 Viper
RPM vs. SPEED vs. DB-A
500 2.6 mph 76.5