Load capacity: 11 / 1,650 lb.
Fuel capacity: 46 gal.
Dry weight: 3,200 lb.
Maximum HP: 400
Base price: $49,206
Construction: In our tests and factory tours, we have been consistently amazed with Malibu’s superior construction and industry-leading fit and finish. Credit goes to the patented Fiberglass Engine Chassis System that anchors the soft ride, as well as everything from Malibu’s in-house machine shop that forges the swivel pylons and Wedge to its on-the-water designers who craft the tournament-quality hulls.
Dash: This is one of the plushest dashes anywhere. We’ve seen the technicians hand-wrap the vinyl that envelops this sweet console with huge billet insert. The exceptional LCD dash display can be seen in direct sunlight.
Seating: Malibu excels in practically every aspect of boatbuilding, including seating design. The upholstery overall hits the ideal balance of being cushy yet supportive, with intricate stitching throughout, even under seats. New this year is the addition of Duraguard Vinyl to resist stains and wider driver’s seats with side-mounted swivel control.
Bow: Like the rest of the Sunscape 20 LSV, the bow is wrapped in some of the best upholstery we’ve seen, with new Duraguard stain protection and foam that’s supportive without being too stiff or too beanbag-esque. Gunwale-mounted stainless-steel grab rails add to the security of the ride.
Main cabin: Sure this isn’t the biggest lounge in Malibu’s lineup, though it still has full wraparound seating. But what this shortest Malibu may lack in overwhelming interior space it makes up for in ease of trailering, storing and driving. And because the Sunscape 20 LSV is a Malibu — and a luxury Sunscape at that — it has one of the best interiors on the market.
Storage: For a 20-footer, Malibu has found storage under every seat, from the trunk along the side of the boat and even over the engine. Overall, Malibu reports a big capacity of 136 cubic feet, with 37 in the bow, 64 in the center of the boat, and 35 in the rear.
Ballast: The 20 LSV has an optional ballast system with an amazing capacity for a 20-footer: 1,250 pounds total. The two rear tanks have capacity for 200 pounds each, while the center bag holds 500 pounds. The bow tank adds that final 350 pounds. Levels are tracked on the LCD display at the dash.
Stereo: As soon as our test team got a first glimpse of the new USB port in the optional Rockford Fosgate sound system, the iPod shuffle was plugged in and cranking. Even if we had forgotten the iPod, Malibu includes a 1-gig pocket drive and a 1-gig built-in hard drive.
Engine: This Sunscape 20 LSV comes standard with the 5.7-liter Indmar LCR with 320 horsepower. The next option is the Indmar 5.7-liter Monsoon with 340 horsepower and new ETX catalytic converter. The 6.2-liter Hammerhead 383 is also available at 400 horsepower.
Tower: Malibu offers the stylish, swept-back Illusion X tower as an option on the 20 LSV. Anchored behind the windshield, it offers full driver visibility. The Titan III is also available for the traditional metal-tube look.
Graphics: A simple Malibu logo on the transom is the main look here. We like that the name on the exterior gunwale is a stainless-steel piece rather than a decal.
More features: For ’08 Malibu has added LCD switches to control aspects such as the lighting, stereo and other add-on features. The windshield-mounted convex rearview mirror comes standard. Driver’s seat heater, carpet saver and chrome pylon are among the options available.
Location: Lake Tulloch, California
Elevation: 520 feet
Air temp.: 82°
Water temp.: 74°
With 340 hp engine (320 hp standard) and Acme 13.5×16 four-blade prop
To 30 mph: 4.6 sec., 111.8 ft.
To 36 mph: 6 sec., 185.1 ft.
Top speed: 43.4 mph, 5,050 rpm
Bow rise: 11.3 degrees during typical acceleration for skiing. That was an exceptionally low rise that made for great visibility.
Tracking: We found the 20 LSV to be solid and stable with very fluid performance out of the hole.
Turns: At speed, this reminded us a lot of a direct-drive. Excellent control and handling in the turns.
Max G-force crossing wake at 30 mph: 1.58
No rattling apparent here thanks to the solid Malibu construction.
Bow: 15 sq. ft.
Gunwale height: 2 ft. 3 in.
Main lounge: 57 sq. ft.
Sun pad: 21 sq. ft.
Platform: 12 sq. ft.
We photographed this ski wake at 30 mph. This hull shares the characteristics of the Response LXi’s, so we were expecting good slalom wakes, even from a V-drive. Yet our test skiers were still surprised at how low and soft these wakes were. We took it up to 34 mph and 32 off and still found low, flat wakes that were skiable. Overall: A terrific V-drive that acts like a direct-drive ski boat.
Engine Indmar LCR 5.7L, 320 hp
Prop Acme 13.5 x 17.5 4-blade
Cruise Malibu Precision Pro
Ballast Option only
Tower option only
Wake shaper Option only
Driver’s Seat Swivel, bolster, adjustable lumbar support
Dash Hand-wrapped vinyl, billet aluminum insert
Gauges 5-inch Medallion plus LCD
Stereo Option only
Gas Fill Dual rear
Cooler 60 qt., under side seating
Cup Holders 16, stainless steel
Platform Teak, removable
Trailer Option only
Graphics Sunscape series
Colors 22 colors in seven color ways
Engine Monsoon 5.7L, 340 hp; Hammerhead 6.2L, 400 hp
Cruise standard only
Ballast 1,250 lb. total (bow tank, center bag, 2 rear tanks)
Tower Illusion X, Titan III, swivel racks
Wake shaper On-the-fly or manually adjustable foil
Stereo Rockford Fosgate unit with USB port and 1-gig hard drive, 1-gig USB pocket drive, up to 4 Rockford Fosgate speakers, amp, subwoofer, transom remote, swivel tower speakers, satellite radio-ready
Platform Fiberglass with rubber, removable
Trailer Single- or tandem-axle
Misc. Heater, shower