On an Indian summer day in California, we recently had the opportunity to test one of the hottest wake sport tow rigs in the country. Malibu’s Wakesetter is the choice of professional wake athletes and the pull boat at many of the venues that these riders compete in. So what’s all the hype? For starters, Malibu focuses on producing boats that are designed specifically for the sport. They do not compromise when it comes to the pursuit of fabricating the best wakes to launch riders off of. In addition, Malibu will let you customize this boat with exactly what you need, whether you’re on a budget or not.
One boat, Two Tough Decisions
Two main versions of the Wakesetter are available; the VLX and the XTi. The VLX is a V-drive layout with engine and transmission at the stern of the boat. The goal here is to maximize the space of the cockpit and shift the weight balance of the boat to the rear. On the other hand the XTi has her motor about midships, balancing the weight to center and maximizing seating potential. Both models come standard with Malibu’s “illusion X” tower and a plethora of cool options.
The XTi’s center mounted engine makes for better handling and an aft seating zone that features a removable table and wraparound seating for up to four adults. There is also a rear stereo entertainment console and a built in beverage cooler, delivering full control of your music and refreshments without having to get up. The centerline engine also affords a deep storage compartment to starboard, making it the ideal place for big or bulky items.
In contrast, the cockpit of the VLX offers an open layout with long and spacious U-shaped seating with concealed storage compartments under the cushions. A baker’s dozen of drink holders and numerous stereo speakers keep everyone happy on board. At the transom, a full width sun pad tops the engine box and supplies added storage below. The VLX also happens to be the choice of title holders and the official, world wakeboard championship tow rig.
Wake Shaping Expert
Both versions are a nimble 21 feet 6 inches overall and 8 feet, 2 inches wide and comes with a spacious bow area up front for tanning and lounging. Here you’ll also find contoured grab handles, four drinkholders and a pair of stereo speakers. The boats are based on the V25 wake hull, and can be combined with the Launch System (front, center and aft ballast tanks) and Power Wedge mechanism that will changes the wake size and shape at the push of a button.
The helms on both boats are also the same, with innovative digital accessory power switches and a shift-by-wire throttle. Best of all, Malibu’s Ballast Monitoring System and Precision Pro Speed Control gives the driver ultimate control of all the ballast on board and exact speed settings. The unique feature here is that personalized settings for speed and ballast can be stored in the systems’ memory, guaranteeing that every pass is maximized and tailored to each boarder. Another great feature is the removable engine tray located above the motors that lets you store wet ski vests in them and warm them up between runs.
So if you’re pondering the purchase of a new wake maker or preparing for your next championship title the Wakesetter by Malibu will take your shredding to a whole new level.
Malibu Wakesetter 23 XTi Test Result Highlights
Top speed for the Malibu Wakesetter 23 XTi is 44.5 mph (71.6 kph), burning 29.9 gallons per hour (gph) or 113.17 liters per hour (lph).
Best cruise for the Malibu Wakesetter 23 XTi is 28.3 mph (45.5 kph), and the boat gets 4.02 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.71 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 170 miles (273.59 kilometers).
Tested power is 1 x 400-hp Indmar 383 Hammerhead.
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels go to our Test Results section.
Malibu Wakesetter 23 XTi Standard and Optional Equipment
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc
Malibu Illusion XS
= Standard = Optional
Malibu Wakesetter 23 XTi Warranty
Malibu Wakesetter 23 XTi Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.