Load capacity: 10 / 1,450 lb.
Fuel capacity: 46 gal.
Dry weight: 3,300 lb.
Maximum HP: 400
Base price: $54,921
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. 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: This Malibu Wakesetter VTX has a comfortable bow for a smaller wakeboard boat. People who are more serious about wakeboarding may use it with the standard filler cushion in place and the 350-pound optional bow tank fully loaded.
Main cabin: The Wakesetter VTX may be only a 20-footer, but it has a main lounge that we measured at a very respectable 56 square feet. The wraparound seating is segmented throughout to create several compartments for storage as well as for maintenance access.
Storage: The VTX squeezes in as much storage as possible, including hard-plastic pockets under each hatch in the rear and a tray over the engine perfect for warming up vests and rash guards. The carpeting we saw in the cabin is the same carpeting we saw tucked into even the far reaches of the storage areas.
Ballast: For a 20-footer, the Malibu Wakesetter VTX packs on an eye-popping amount of ballast: 1,250 pounds total. Of that, 900 pounds is standard, split up into a 500-pound center tank and two rear tanks of 200 pounds each. The bow tank is optional with 350 more 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: This VTX 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: The VTX 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.: 85°
Water temp.: 74°
With upgraded 340 hp engine (320 hp standard) and 13.5 x 16 three-blade prop
To 30 mph: 5.42 sec., 127.9 ft.
To 36 mph: 7.07 sec., 207.8 ft.
Top speed: 44.1 mph, 5,220 rpm
Bow rise: 19 degrees during typical acceleration. The Malibu dash is fairly high but still fine to see over.
Tracking: Stable, close to a direct-drive’s performance. Our testers had the speed control engaged for smooth driving.
Turns: Confident feel even for less-experienced drivers. Low-speed maneuvering for docking was very easy too.
Max G-force crossing wake at 22 mph: 1.6
The smaller boat felt the impact of crossing the wake more than Malibu’s larger boats did.
Bow: 14 sq. ft.
Floor to tower: 5 ft. 8 in.
Gunwale height: 2 ft. 3 in.
Main lounge: 56 sq. ft.
Sun pad: 23 sq. ft.
Platform: 11 sq. ft.
1,250 lb. factory ballast, wake shaper at 22 mph
Size: Sure, a 20-footer can only provide so much displacement, but the factory ballast provided a major boost.
Shape: We found that the wakes had a rampy, roundish lip with long landing and transition areas. There was no wash over on the wake. Our riders scored consistent pop.
Overall: We recommend a rope length of 70 feet at 22 mph to see the kind of wakes possible with the VTX. Less is more with the speed, so go slower with a boat this size.
Engine Indmar LCR 5.7L, 320 hp
Prop Acme 13.5 x 16 3-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, 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 16, stainless-steel
Platform Teak, removable
Trailer Option only
Graphics Core Shield exterior decals
Colors 22 colors in 7 color ways
Engine Indmar Monsoon 5.7L, 340hp, Hammerhead 383 6.2L, 400 hp
Cruise Standard only
Ballast 1,250 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, Sirius satellite radio-ready
Platform Fiberglass with rubber, removable
Trailer Single- or tandem-axle, disc brakes
Misc. Heater, shower, passenger bucket seat