For people shopping for a toon that is high-quality yet not loaded up with bells and whistles -- and therefore priced accordingly -- we have a suggestion: take a look at the Manitou 22 Aurora VP. On deck she has all of the basics -- seating for a max rating of 11 people, a functional raised helm station, and plenty of deck space for entertaining. But below the waterline is another story -- this triple-toon is built for decent performance with a maximum outboard size of 150-hp. Taken together we think this model offers lots of utility, the class of a top-tier builder, and good value.
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|Deck Warranty Extended||Limited Lifetime Warranty|
The Mission of the Manitou 22 Aurora VP
This boat is for people who want a basic pontoon boat on deck with a bottom design that has the potential for exciting performance when wanted. By keeping expensive options off the boat, and delivering on the quality approach to the components that are employed, Manitou maintains its reputation as a top-tier builder without having to charge top dollar for this model. As a result we think it is a good buy for people who don't need more boat.
The VP Toons
The VP (Value Performance) toons are a relatively new configuration for Manitou which has discarded the more conventional flat-bottom shape seen in its older triple-toons. The reason for the change is that the builder wanted to make this boat appropriate for moderate speeds and smaller horsepower engines. This boat is less expensive to buy and operate and also has enough performance baked in to keep most buyers -- and their kids -- happy.
The VP bottom configuration has some of the characteristics of Manitou's high-performance SHP design, but is oriented to more normal use, slower -- but still planing -- speeds. The drawing above highlights the important attributes of the 22 Aurora VP -- (A) Integrated splash guards throw water down rather than let it run up the outer toons, picked up by the wind and blown on guests. (B) Manitou is known for its artful welds that are respected in the boating industry. (See below.) (C) A special structure allows the Aurora's 27" center toon to extend over 5" below the outside 23" tubes. This gives the bottom an effective V-shape which allows the boat to comfortably bank into turns. (D) The positive angle lifting strake fitted on both sides of the center toon creates an effective chine that adds lift and stability. (E) The reinforced leading edges of all three toons keep the tubes from being damaged or punctured when obstructions are hit. (F) The "M"-shaped brackets on the outside tubes provide strength and rigidity to the deck.
Modified-V Bottom Concept.
Because the 27" center tube is placed over 5" deeper than the 23" outboard tubes, the 22 Aurora has what is effectively a "modified-V" bottom. The design allows the 22 Aurora to turn easier and to lean in when turning at higher speeds.
The standard equipment that is most impressive on this boat is the hull itself which has been described above. After that we would say that the materials used are most impressive, things such as stainless steel fasteners instead of regular steel, roto-molded furniture that eliminates rot and rust, and a 44 gallon (167 L) fuel tank which is almost twice the normal size. Other items of standard equipment include the Bimini top, a stainless steel swim ladder, a mooring cover and a "Soft Touch" steering wheel, among other things.
The model's option list is the same as those for other lines the builder makes. In keeping with the Aurora series there is an emphasis on simplicity. Here is what we found to like on the options list for the 22 Aurora--
Other Aurora Models
There are four models in the Aurora series -- 18', 20', 22' and 24'. One should be the right size for all but the most aggressive applications. Within each model, except the 18, there are three different toon configurations -- two twin toons (choose from either 23" or 25" diameter tubes), or the triple-toon. Within each of the models, there are also different interior furniture layouts.
Model year 2013 Manitou warranty coverage--
- Limited Lifetime Decking Warranty (transferable)
- Limited Lifetime Warranty on Structural Components (pontoons, motor mounts, boat understructure, fence assemblies, Bimini top frames)
- 5-year warranty on furniture vinyl
- 5-year warranty on Bimini top fabric
- 5-year warranty on carpet
- 5-year warranty on Aqualon and Sunbrella mooring covers and seat covers (3 years on Odyssey III mooring covers, standard on Aurora models)
- 3-year bow to stern warranty on all other components
The 22 Aurora is an "entry-level" boat for some people, but for most others, we think it is probably a good bet either because the boater is trying to keep things simple, or does not plan to use the boat much -- yet wants good quality and a marquis nameplate.
More or Less?
As Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said, "Less is More." When it comes to pontoon boats we think this motto applies to the Manitou 22 Aurora VP. It is about as minimalist as is possible without getting down into a category of pontoon boat which has as its main virtue a low price. For people who are only going to leisurely cruise around the lake on evenings, then we would suggest considering the twin-toon version of the 22 Aurora with a 60-hp to 115-hp outboard. For people who will want to do some towing of kids or grandkids, the 22 Aurora VP with a 150-hp outboard is more than adequate to get the job done with most loads.