The Manitou 25 Encore was created to provide a more cost effective solution to those wanting to acquire a premium build, but not get all of the bells and whistles that drive the price up. While quality is still in the build, a lot of the puffery is left to the options list for the individual buyer to dial in to a specific price point. In this manner, the Encore has risen in the popularity ranks for Manitou, and it shows no signs of slowing.
|Length Overall||26' 4'' / 7.42 m|
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||2.9 sec.|
|0 to 30||8.1 sec.|
|Load||2 persons, 1/2 fuel, no water, 50 lbs of gear|
|Climate||89 deg., 82 humid.; wind: 0-5 mph; seas: calm|
1 x 150-hp Evinrude E-TEC H.O.
The 25 Encore’s mission is to create a premium build absent of the premium price tag. Moreover, she is big, roomy and ready to host a large party for friends. Three toons and adequate power make her watersports-friendly.
While we’ve seen varying tube configuration from several manufacturers, Manitou has their own take on the system and our testing proves that it works well.
Two Tubes or Three?
The 25 Encore can be purchased in either a two-toon or three-toon configuration. The two-tube version costs less not only because there are only two tubes, but also because the outboard engine rating is smaller.
The two-tube version should be considered by people who don't plan to get into aggressive watersports activities. They’re more appropriate for sedate cruising, moderate-speed tubing, and of course for using her as a moveable swimming and entertainment platform.
Boaters wanting to go faster or take part in wakeboarding or waterskiing should consider the three-tube version. This boat can get up on plane quicker and also take on a larger engine, up to 150 maximum horsepower in this case. Because the center tube on the Encore is 5-1/4" deeper than the outboard tubes, it creates a pivot point for the boat to lean into turns rather than away from them.
70% of the boats sold by Manitou are three-tubes incorporating the patented V-Toon configuration. It is this design which truly sets the 25 Encore apart from other brands on the market. The builder claims that this design allows the boat to have "sportboat-like" handling characteristics, that is to say, she leans into the turns like a V-bottom boat.
The outboard tubes are 23" (58.42 cm) in diameter and the center tube is 27" (68.58 cm) in diameter. Manitou lowers the center tube 1-1/4" (3.17 cm) below the tops of the outboard tubes, which makes it a total of 5-1/4" (13.33 cm) deeper in the water.
Lifting Strake Design.
Lifting strakes are one of the few places where pontoon boat builders can easily differentiate their products. Manitou does not use reverse angles, which it says can cause pounding, but rather uses positive angle strakes to provide lift and improve performance.
Value Performance (VP) Toon Configuration.
The VP performance package is simply designed for boats that operate at less aggressive speeds and lower horsepower. SeaStar hydraulic steering is standard, lifting strakes are only used on the center toon, and the nose cones are conventional. Maximum horsepower on the 25 Encore with the VP package is 150-hp. And that is what we tested her with.
With the Evinrude E-TEC 150 turning a 13'' SSP prop, we reached a top speed of 32.3 mph at 5350 rpm. At that speed she was burning 15.53 gph producing a range of 82 miles. Best cruise came in at 3000 rpm and 17.1 mph. That speed reduced the fuel burn to only 5.1 gph giving us a range of 133 miles and an endurance of just over 6 hours while still maintaining a 10% fuel reserve.
We reached planing speed in 2.9 seconds, accelerated to 20 mph in 3.8 seconds, and reached 30 mph in 8.1 seconds.
The VP performance package did its job and clearly had us leaning into the turns with a modest 10-degree maximum bank angle. She was quick to respond to the throttle, planing in less than 3 seconds. However, the Sea Star Hydraulic steering was on the stiff side so there was no cranking and banking to be had. This kept maneuvers more sedate and docile which pontoon passengers will be more likely to appreciate.
As is typical with pontoon boats, adding more power doesn’t translate into a smaller turning radius, but does allow for completing the turn quicker. This is something to remember when approaching the dock. Adding a burst of power does not kick the stern around. She accelerated from a level attitude and settles back into the water the same way when taking power off.
The deck layout of the 25 Encore takes on the familiar configuration of twin couches at the bow, to either side of the forward entry gate. The port side couch is shorter than the starboard side to accommodate the port gate. All upholstery is comfort touch marine- grade vinyl. The usual accommodations for storage are underneath.
Across from the starboard side helm is a port-side quarter-round seat. Under the seat back is a trash receptacle. At the forward end is a concealed changing room that opens to provide privacy for getting out of the wet swimsuit and into some clothes for the waterfront restaurant.
The stern has been updated to offer a new layout Manitou calls its SR layout. It consists of booth style seating providing opposing conversational couches. A pedestal table is provided to turn the area into a light dining venue. The aft seat back flips forward to create a double-wide chaise lounge. To the port side is counter space for preparing snacks. Storage solutions are underneath, and dual aft boarding gates are to either side of the aft couch.
While Manitou strived to keep the price within line, she’s still a premium build, and that’s an area it won’t be compromised on. There’s still a level of luxury present, and that, coupled with the kind handling characteristics makes the 25 Encore an attractive package.