Captain's ReportAs the largest boat to ever pass the American Water Ski association’s test criteria for towing, the Sunsetter LXi is a boat that gives you the best of all worlds. First and foremost it’s a towboat, built on the same SV23 Diamond hull that tows many of the world’s most prestigious waterski events. Now normally if you’re building a world-class ski boat, that’s the end of the story…but not in the Sunsetter since it also does double-duty as an all-around family sport boat/bowrider with a seating capacity of 10 persons.The first thing we noticed about the Sunsetter was its oversized aft trunk, located just forward of the swim platform. This allows skiers and boarders to stow their gear immediately after coming out of the water, so there’s no need to drag equipment in or out of the cockpit…a feature you’re guests will appreciate.Like most tournament-level boats, the Sunsetter has its powerplant—-in this case a beefy 325-hp Indmar Monsoon straight-drive—-located amidships for best balance, and the shallow shaft angle (turning a 4-bladed 14x17 wheel) helped the Sunsetter get up on plane with almost no perceptible bowrise in a blistering 2.4 seconds from idle-tow speed! There is good room all around the engine box to walk fore-and-aft, and the cover itself is well supported and easily lifted by two gas-assist struts.For precision driving there’s a convenient arm rest just behind the single-lever throttle, and our tests showed the Sunsetter will hold its speed (and rpm setting) precisely throughout the rpm range. Moreover, the rudder is tuned to produce a slight right-hand turn pressure, which keeps play out of the steering system, and the company's R&D supervisor Danny Gasper says this attention to detail (along with triple fins on the forward hull) keep allow the Sunsetter to track straight and true within an inch or two of your desired course! The helm chair itself features a lumbar support for long days on the water, but its not really needed thanks to the soft ride delivered by the Diamond hull in short chop.Out on the water, we had a good chance to test the “Wedge”, an exclusive feature Malibu introduced in 1997. This is an underwater hydrofoil that bolts onto the transom, and when its lowered and locked in the down position, it creates an incredible 1,000 pounds of downward force, converting the Sunsetter from a flat-wake ski boat to a jumbo-wake boarding boat for big air. That, combined with Malibu’s Launch System (which adds another 500 pounds of water ballast in the boat), make it easy to transform this towboat into any configuration you’d like…ski boat, wakeboard boat, or all-around family fun boat.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Malibu Sunsetter LXI is 44.5 mph (71.6 kph), burning 23.0 gallons per hour (gph) or 87.06 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Malibu Sunsetter LXI is 24.3 mph (39.1 kph), and the boat gets 4.19 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.78 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 132 miles (212.43 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 325-hp Indmar Monsoon gas inboard.
Standard and Optional Features
|CD Stereo||Optional JVC|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
|Full Canvas||Optional Sunbrella|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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