Load capacity: 12/1,825 lb.
Fuel capacity: 46 gal.
Dry weight: 3,400 lb.
Maximum HP: 400
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: Check out all the LCD screens on this stylish dash, accented with the billet aluminum insert. Malibu makes sure the driver knows exactly what’s going on with the center LCD dash display, complemented by the new LCD switches that are easy to customize. Rider presets for tailor-made wakes are also controlled here.
Seating: The rear lounge is such a unique feature. It’s situated as close to the action as possible where a sun pad would usually be, so passengers get a fantastic view. We also like the stereo panel, the inset cup holders and grab rails, the refreshment table and the plush, supportive feel of the upholstery.
Bow: Like other Malibus, the bow of the Wakesetter 21 XTi 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. A bow filler cushion comes standard.
Main cabin: The configuration here is a rarity. Yes, this is a direct-drive, yet you’ll notice the usual island-design of the engine box is instead integrated into a midship sun pad with a side storage area. This creates two seating areas — one alongside the driver, one at the transom.
Storage: Malibu reports very good storage space for this Wakesetter 21 XTi: 10 cubic feet in the bow, 44 cubic feet in the center and 22 cubic feet in the rear. We were impressed overall with the storage areas, like the side compartment pictured above. The same plush carpet in the cabin is also used even in the deepest recesses of the storage to protect both gear and boat.
Ballast: The new LCD switch panels shown here are great for controlling the various ballast settings. The standard here is a 500-pound center bag with no extra bags or tanks available, so this is the lightest factory ballast that Malibu has. With the engine center-mounted, the back of the boat doesn’t ride as low as the typical V-drive.
Stereo: We really liked the LCD controls for the 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 1-gig built-in hard drive. The Wakesetter 21 XTi accommodates four speakers with this optional system.
Engine: This Wakesetter 21 XTi comes standard with the Indmar LCR 5.7-liter with 320 horsepower. The next upgrade is to the 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’s new Illusion XS tower isn’t offered on the 21 XTi, but there’s still the Illusion X standard — the cool, swooping arc that offers full driver visibility. The Titan III is also available for the traditional metal-tube look.
Graphics: The Wakesettier 21 XTi has almost a ripped-from-the-page look to its graphics. We like how it looks like a call to action: Ride! No problem with that one. The choice of 22 gelcoat colors really makes the graphics pop.
More features: The optional swivel racks have a solid feel. The optional Power Wedge is very easy to raise and lower, with the gauge reading showing when the wake shape is increasing as up to 1,200 pounds of displacement are deployed.
Location: Lake Tulloch, California
Elevation: 520 feet
Air temp.: 82°
Water temp.: 74°
With 340 hp engine and Acme 13.5×16 four-blade prop
To 30 mph: 4.9 sec., 119.1 ft.
To 36 mph: 6.3 sec., 186.5 ft.
Top speed: 45 mph, 5,100 rpm
Bow rise: 22 degrees during typical acceleration. We didn’t note anything out of the ordinary with visibility. The tower allows for great peripheral visibility.
Tracking: It’s an agile 21-footer on a relatively modest beam that holds a line well.
Turns: Again, the nimbleness translates here with the turning performance.
Max G-force crossing wake at 22 mph: 1.15
Vibration: It has a rattle-free crossing, showing that even an older Malibu hull design offers a soft ride.
Bow: 12 sq. ft.
Floor to tower: 5 ft. 10 in.
Gunwale height: 2 ft. 4 in.
Main lounge: 50 sq. ft.
Sun pad: 24 sq. ft.
Platform: 9 sq. ft.
900 lb. factory ballast and wake shaper, 22 mph
The recommendation from our test team is to go 22 mph at 65 or 70 feet when factory weighted. Shorten up because it’s a wide wake. There’s a little less peak than the VTX and VLX. Don’t be afraid to charge the double-up; it’s clean and consistent.
Overall: A lot of performance for the money.
Engine Malibu LCR 5.7L, 320 hp
Prop Acme 13.5 x 16 four-blade
Cruise Malibu Precision Pro
Ballast 500 lb.
Tower Illusion X with quick-pin release
Wake shaper Option only
Driver’s Seat Swivel, adjustable lumbar support
Dash Hand-wrapped vinyl, billet aluminum insert, tilt steering wheel
Gauges 5-inch Medallion plus LCD
Stereo Option only
Gas Fill Dual rear
Cooler 60 qt., under side seating
Cup Holders 11, plastic
Platform Teak, removable
Trailer Tandem axle
Colors 22 colors in seven color ways
Engine Indmar Monsoon 5.7L 340 hp; Indmar Hammerhead 5.7L, 400 hp
Cruise Standard only
Ballast 900 lb.
Tower 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 four Rockford Fosgate speakers, amp, subwoofer, transom remote, swivel tower speakers, satellite radio-ready
Platform Fiberglass with rubber, removable
Misc. Heater, shower