A really good review!
I think it is a nice improvement for the Hobies and I bet they haven't finished with the upgrade yet, that there will be future mods making it even better.
One issue, though, is the actual application of reverse for kayaks in fishing. It actually looks more like someone riding a unicycle where the pedal action is rather back and forward, back and forward in little bursts. This is easy to do with a pedal drive because the action is direct to the prop; for the new Hobie 180, it is more like shifting a car from reverse to forward to reverse, so not as direct ( a shifting is required) and not as useful for holding water.
Out of the Slayer Propel 10 I own, I can find my spot on the water on a windy day and my foot action is a series of little back and forth adjustments. I rarely have the desire to drop an anchor.
Still, Hobie is one of a kind, innovative, and I think this shows how good their engineers are at solving problems.