Boats.com Reviews the 25 Legacy SRS SHP
The Manitou 25 Legacy SHP is a fine-tuned pontoon boat – a premium model that offers a well-balanced combination of luxury and performance. The Legacy SHP series is the top-of-the-line from Manitou, offered in 23-, 25- and 27-foot lengths, that comes standard with features like hammer-finish powder coat on the fence, built-in navigation and docking lights, a stainless steel rub rail, and premium pillow-type upholstery with armrests. On an evening cruise you’ll notice that each stainless steel cup holder is illuminated with a blue LED.
It’s a well-executed package, but a lot of pontoons offer similar luxury. It’s the Manitou Sport Handling Package (SHP) that really sets this boat apart, and gives this tri-tube boat a bit of a dual personality. SHP, which adds about $6,500 to the price of the base boat, has been in production for seven years and adds a set of enhancements to Manitou V-Toon technology, which incorporates a 27-inch center tube between 23-inch outboard tubes, with the center tube positioned 1.25-inches lower for 5.25-inch differential between the center and outboard tubes. The result is a shape that mimics that of the fiberglass v-hull and produces great stability, a softer ride, and better cornering performance because the boat can bank into turns – just like a v-hull. The SHP adds lifting strakes to both sides of the outboard tubes, replaces hydraulic steering with SeaStar Power Assist steering, features heavy-duty Barracuda nose cones, and adds extra extruded-aluminum cross members to the under-deck structure. The intent is to maximize the performance potential of outboards from 175 to 300 horsepower by providing additional lift and stiffness to the structure.
Of course, you can’t see much of this when you drive the Manitou 25 Legacy SHP, but you can really feel it. The boat planes quickly and gains lift as speed increases, so it heels over more in high-speed turns than in low-speed maneuvers. I ran this Manitou with a 3.6-liter V6 Honda BF250 (which we first told you about in Outboard News from Suzuki and Honda) on the transom, a combination that was very satisfying. The Honda is very strong on the bottom and delivers thrust like a turbine—with little drama and no bow rise it silently and forcefully launches the boat across the lake. The Manitou 25 is rated for 300 horsepower, but most buyers opt for a 250 and I think few will be disappointed at that rating. Top speed on a hot day was 45 to 47 mph, and at a very quiet 4000 rpm the Honda cruised at about 26 mph. The handling performance was not quite as dramatic as I was expecting, but it is family-friendly – the SHP is not going to hook a turn and toss grandma overboard. Steering is precise, with no skidding even at enthusiastic speeds.
The centerpiece of the dash display is the Manitou Smartscreen, which displays engine temp, depth, lake water temp, trim, volt, fuel level, RPM and GPS-supported speed. The screen is flanked by a large analog speedo and tach, with a row of switches on a panel to the captain’s right. The control for a standard Polk Audio four-speaker audio system is below and to the left of the Gussi wheel. There’s a nook for a phone and a USB input to the right of the wheel. Another seat is to port, with a pair of wrap-around settees forward. Our boat had the optional woven vinyl deck covering, and an optional ski locker in the center of the deck that extends into the center tube, with a false floor and a bilge pump below. I noted that there is no locking stowage on the boat.
The aft SRS package seats, which reminded me of an ultra-first class airline seat, can be set up facing a small central table, or the table can be removed and the aft seat backrest pivoted forward to create a sort of chaise lounge. It’s an easy maneuver and very comfortable. There are stainless steel drawers in the seat bases that will hold the table and pedestal or other gear. I like how the side fencing arcs down to the deck, following the lines of the SRS seat bases. There’s a tow bar over the outboard, a long boarding ladder with wide steps, and aft-facing rear speakers and an aft-seat audio remote are options. The tow bar is stainless-steel, as are the sun top bows and hardware, durable details that also look classy.
As tested, the 2015-model Manitou 25 Legacy SHP has a suggested retail price of between $75,000 and $78,000, depending on engine choice and other options. This pontoon offers a real upscale look and feel, quality construction and smart engineering.