What makes for the best performance boat? Is it speed? Handling? How about luxury? Or is it the obvious combination of all of these features? Every boat model offers its own unique features, which can make choosing the right boat a difficult task, especially when considering different types of boats.
The bowrider and pontoon are two entirely different boats, but they are increasingly similar in their performance. This comparison looks at Manitou’s X-PLODE model pontoon—one of the fastest, most comfortable pontoons on the market—and the Cobalt 276—the Bentley of sportboats.
Photo courtesy of Manitou Pontoon Boats
The Manitou X-PLODE sits at the cross-section of speed, luxury and ultimate comfort. Its innovative design is unlike any other pontoon, with sportboat handling specifications, an impressive platform for watersports enthusiasts, a variety of floor plan options, plenty of features for entertaining and more.
Sport handling package
Let’s look at the X-PLODE’s sport handling package. The X-PLODE is a performance boat unlike any other, because it offers a pontoon feel and V-hull characteristics. Manitou’s trademarked triple tube design is what allows for maximum handling and comfort. The design consists of a lowered center tube with a larger diameter and lifting strakes on each side of the three tubes, that when put into a turn, perform much like a fiberglass V-hull. Your guests will experience more comfort and relaxation as they are not pushed to either side of the boat with each turn.
Manitou’s X-PLODE offers standard features that most sport boats don’t include standard or even offer as optional features. Manitou includes features of the likes of portable cup holders, a mooring cover, a stern toy box, privacy curtain kit and a color-matched steering wheel. Here is a complete list of standard features:
- 12 volt outlet and iPod/Mp3 holder and input jack
- AM and FM Sony CD player w/ set of 6 speakers
- Anodized rub rail w/ stainless steel dock guard
- Anodized walls
- Bimini anchor light
- Carpet – shaw (taupe)
- Cooler – 24 can, hard side
- Corner castings – stainless steel
- Crossmembers – extruded aluminum
- Cupholders – portable
- Cupholders – stainless steel
- Deck – limited lifetime warranty
- Depth gauge
- Dinette table
- Docking lights – LED
- Fasteners – stainless steel
- Fuel gauge
- Furniture – Comfort Touch marine vinyl
- Furniture – extended starboard chaise
- Gas tank – built-in, 51 gallon
- Helm chair – reclines mid-back w/ self-leveling arms
- Helm chair – automotive-style slider
- Helm – fiberglass w/ Soft Touch automotive-style top
- Ladder – stainless steel, stern entry
- Lift gates
- Light – courtesy
- Master on/off battery switch
- Mooring cleats – 4 regular, stainless steel
- Mooring cover
- Mooring eyes
- Motor mount – aluminum w/ splash shields
- Navigation lights – LED
NMMA certified using ABYC standards
- Nose cones – anti-spray integrated splash fins
- Pontoon tube riser – full-length
- Privacy station curtain kit
- Seat hinges – hands-free loading
- Ski tow bar
- Steering wheel – color-matched
- Swim platforms – built-in
- Trim gauge – w/ pre-rig
- Waste basket
Still swooning over the X-PLODE’s awesome dose of standard features? That’s nothing. The available options for this model exceed all expectations. Manitou offers optional features like a portable table capable of rolling within the boat; a galley with sink for entertaining and storing tableware and party favors; and a portable barbeque grill. Other options include a bow filler bench, stainless steel bimini frame and a power bimini for those who aren’t a fan of elbow grease. Here is a complete list of optional features:
- BBQ grill
- Battery charging system
- Acrylic tubes
- Bimini top – power arm
- Bow gate filler seat bench
- Center in-tube storage
- Cooler – 24 can, hard side
- Cupholders – portable
- Dock bumper
- Double bimini top – stainless steel
- Dual battery smart switch
- Enclosure – full
- Enclosure – stern
- Galley w/ sink
- Helm chair – reclining high back w/ self-leveling arms and bolster
- Hydraulic pedestal for helm chair
- Ladder – versa-trac, 4 step
- Lighting – blue LED for cupholders
- Lighting – blue LED for exterior
- Lighting – track, blue LED for interior
- Porta potti
- Portable table
- Rear fiberglass decking w/ custom floor mats
- Ski mirror
- Sirius satellite radio
- Ski tow storage rack
- Vinyl floor – full deck
Manitou also offers a variety of floor plans for their X-PLODE model. The standard deck plan offers classic L-shaped lounge seating along the portside, making adventures at the end of the towline easy and exciting to watch. This design provides three entry gates—at the bow, stern and portside. The standard design is wheelchair accessible through the portside gate and boats plenty of room for comfort. Other features of the standard deck plan include two lounges at the bow, an optional dining table, sunpad at the stern and vast wet storage.
The PT floor plan allows for more intimate gatherings in the bow, with two comfortable bucket seats to port. It also maintains the starboard lounge and L-shaped seating, as well as a sunpad with storage.
The 2012 X-PLODE comes with a variety of color and graphic options to allow boat designs to match everyone’s style and taste. Each model is available in a unique design and with neutral or colored walls, matching graphics and color-coordinated interior vinyl.
The standard colors are red, black, burgundy and blue. Learn more about the color packages here.
The Manitou X-PLODE starts at $68,988 with standard features, but its final price depends on the preferred packages and features of the buyer.
Check out this video of the X-PLODE in action.
Photo courtesy of boattest.com
The Cobalt 276 offers an advantage in sportboat design and performance with a distinct bow layout and desired specifications. This model comes with a host of standard features and optional items for a luxurious bowrider experience. Its lightweight material construction allows for improved efficiency without sacrificing strength.
The 276 has a range of standard features not often seen on boats in class. It has a fiberglass liner, swim platform fully integrated into the hull, molded-in graphics and an electric riser for the motor box. More standard features include:
- AM/FM CD w/ 6 speakers and amplifier
- Aluminum windshield w/ stainless steel cap
- Bow scuff plate – stainless steel
- Carpet in the cockpit
- Depth and water/air temp gauge pkg.
- Engine vents – stainless steel
- Gel coat liner in engine room
- Head – portable
- Mini wet bar – in cockpit
- Outlet – 12-volt Acc
- Removable ski pylon
- Swim ladder – starboard boarding
- Swim platform
- Wood/dash trim pkg.
Cobalt’s 276 excludes a lot of typical standard features and instead offers them as optional features. This is because not everyone would utilize these items for a boat of this size and price range. The 276’s optional features include:
- Bimini top
- Cockpit cover
- Dinette table for cockpit
- Head – fixed
- Porcelain toilet
- Teak table – port side
- Transom shower
- Trim tabs
This model is a big bowrider, with a standard, trailerable beam, high freeboard, massive helm seat, advanced cockpit utility and standing-access to the anchor.
The Cobalt’s cockpit contains wraparound seating, a wide companion seat to port that doubles as a lounger and a seatback that bends forward as the stern sunpad’s backrest. The cockpit also includes double-stitched upholstery, snap-in carpet and mini wet bar.
The helm seat of this model is huge, comfortable and well-built, able to slide fore and aft. It also has a high back and padded flip-up bolster. Its only disadvantage is its inability to be raised and lowered.
Forward of the companion seat, the head includes a wide door to the compartment and comfortable sitting clearance. There is also a small sink to port, as well as a porta-potti.
The Cobalt’s bow contains an inclined backrest and U-shaped seating without the forward most part, as to create a bow with more utility. This allows passengers to sit facing forward and for easy access to the anchor while standing.
Cobalt offers an exceptional warranty for the 276. There is a 10-year limited warranty on the hull and deck, five-year warranty on the engine, five years on the accessories and three years on the gel coat.
The base price of the Cobalt 276, powered by a single MerCruiser 8.2L gas engine and Bravo III dual-prop drive is $120,606.
Take a look at the Cobalt 276 on the water.