Load capacity: 11/1,650 lb.
Fuel capacity: 46 gal.
Dry weight: 3,600 lb.
Maximum HP: 400
Base price: $58,095
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 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. In addition to the exceptional LCD dash display that can be seen in direct sunlight, Malibu for ’08 has added LCD switches to control aspects such as the ballast, the lighting and new rider presets for Wedge position, speed and ballast levels.
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, wider driver’s seats with side-mounted swivel control, and an optional passenger bucket seat in most models.
Bow: The Wakesetter VLX’s bow is fully outfitted with a standard filler cushion and stainless-steel cup holders and grab rails, including rails on the gunwales that encircle the bow. Two optional speakers here finish off the style and the full-on sound.
Main cabin: Inside this VLX, Malibu doesn’t go for convertible seating or anything that moves and swivels (other than the driver’s seat). Instead, the emphasis is on the plush luxury of the wraparound seating, especially the very deep observer’s seat. We liked the optional carpet saver as an extra layer for a cleaner look than we’ve seen in other boats.
Storage: This VLX sports 101 cubic feet of storage, with compartments featuring stainless hinges, sturdy hydraulic lifts and full carpeting. The carpeting we saw in the cabin is the same carpeting we saw tucked into even the far reaches of the storage areas. A 60-quart cooler is under the side seating.
Ballast: The VLX comes with a very respectable amount of factory ballast: 1,250 pounds total. The two rear tanks have capacity for 200 pounds each, while the center tank holds 500 pounds. The bow tank is an option — and one that we highly recommend getting — for 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. With Malibu’s new LCD controls, we could control the iPod at the dash, the bow walk-through and the transom remote. Even if we had forgotten the iPod, Malibu includes a 1-gig pocket drive and 1-gig built-in hard drive.
Engine: The VLX comes standard with the Indmar LCR 5.7-liter with 320 horsepower. In California, the standard is the Monsoon 5.7-liter with 340 horsepower because it has the ETX catalytic converter. The 6.2-liter Hammerhead 383 with 400 horsepower is also available.
Tower: The VLX has the Illusion X tower standard. It has the swept-back look that offers great driver visibility and a distinct profile on the water. This cast aluminum tower seemed very solid to us, and it folds down with quick-pin release. It comes in black or other colors and can be outfitted with the optional swivel board racks.
Graphics: The new “M” design for Malibu and the “Wakesetter” lettering had us thinking “Transformers” during our test trip. There’s definitely a techy, edgy feel to the logo. The choice of 22 gelcoat colors really makes that graphic pop.
More features: The 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 is deployed. We lit up the night one evening with Malibu’s new LED docking lights, 18 in all.
Location: Lake Tulloch, California
Elevation: 520 feet
Air temp.: 78°
Water temp.: 73°
With upgraded 400 hp engine (320 hp standard) and 13.5 x 16 prop
To 30 mph: 5.11 sec., 119.8 ft.
To 36 mph: 6.45 sec., 185.1 ft.
Top speed: 46 mph, 5,150 rpm
Bow rise: 19 degrees during typical acceleration. The Malibu dash is fairly high but still fine to see over.
Tracking: Stable, with ease of driving coming from the standard cruise control and new shift-by-wire throttle.
Turns: Agile thanks to its relatively modest length and to the Gorilla fins along the keel that help it pivot.
Max G-force crossing wake at 22 mph: 1.2
As with all Malibus, the VLX had minimal rattling. Tower to hull seemed solid.
Bow: 15 sq. ft.
Floor to tower: 5 ft. 10 in.
Gunwale height: 2 ft. 6 in.
Main lounge: 59 sq. ft.
Sun pad: 25 sq. ft.
Platform: 12 sq. ft.
1,250 lb. factory ballast, wake shaper at 22 mph
Size: We know the pros load this boat up with even more weight for tournaments, but the factory setup produced solid-sized wakes.
Shape: We found our sweet spot with a shorter rope, 70 feet, at 22 to 22.6 mph. There the wakes were peaky and poppy. When we sped up to 24.8, we lengthened the rope to 80 feet for those similar characteristics.
Overall: Though there’s definite kick, this is that “Malibu mellow” wake that a lot of people love. The Power Wedge is an option for making the most of the rider presets and adjusting the shape on the fly.
Engine Indmar LCR 5.7L, 320 hp
Prop Acme 13.5 x 16 three-blade
Cruise Malibu Precision Pro
Ballast 900 lb.; LCD gauge
Tower Illusion X with quick-pin release
Wake shaper Option only
Driver’s Seat Swivel, bolster, lumbar
Dash Hand-wrapped vinyl, billet insert, tilt steering
Gauges 5-inch Medallion plus LCD
Stereo Option only
Gas Fill Dual rear
Cooler 60 qt., under side seating
Cup Holders 17, stainless steel
Platform Teak, removable
Graphics Wakesetter Shield
Colors 22 colors in seven color ways
Engine Indmar Monsoon 5.7L, 340 hp; Hammerhead 383 6.2L, 400 hp
Cruise Standard only
Ballast 1,250 lb.
Tower Titan III, swivel racks
Wake Shaper Wedge or Power Wedge
Stereo Rockford Fosgate unit with USB port and 1-gig hard drive, 1-gig USB pocket drive, up to eight Rockford Fosgate speakers, amp, subwoofer, transom remote, swivel tower speakers, Sirius satellite radio-ready
Platform Fiberglass with rubber, removable
Trailer Single- or tandem-axle, disc brakes
Misc. Heater, shower, passenger bucket seat, driver’s seat heater