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Malibu Wakesetter 20 MXZ (2014-)

Brief Summary

After making waves, literally, with the Wakesetter 22 and 24 MXZ, Malibu has stepped up and downsized to create the new Wakesetter 20 MXZ. Malibu refers to it as its “Little Giant” because even though it’s relatively small in size, it is way big on features. In fact, with its cockpit space and patented Surf-Gate system, it’s a full-featured premium wakeboat designed and built to satisfy demanding customers.

Key Features

  • Stern lounge
  • Surf gate
  • Illusion G3 tower
  • Non-skid matted swim platform
  • Maliview touchscreen display on helm
  • Power Wedge feature
  • Powered by Indmar


Length Overall 20' / 6.09 m
Beam 100''
2.54 m
Dry Weight 1,850 lbs.
839 kg
Draft 27''
0.69 m
Deadrise/Transom N/A
Max Headroom Open
Bridge Clearance N/A
Fuel Capacity 35 gal.
132 L
Water Capacity N/A

Engine Options

Tested Engine Currently no test numbers
Std. Power Not Available
Opt. Power Not Available

Captain's Report

Malibu Wakesetter 20 MXZ

The Malibu Wakesetter 20 MXZ has a LOA of 20’ (6.01 m), a beam of 100” (254 cm) and a draft of 27” (69 cm).

Mission Statement

The Wakesetter 20 MXZ has been designed and built for discriminating riders that also want to take advantage of the benefits of a smaller boat. Small boats have their advantages: ease of trailering, responsiveness on the water, easy garage storage, and of course lower price. Her small size may make some think that she’s designed to be a loss-leader in the price wars, but she’s among the most premium of boats that Malibu offers.

Distinguishing Features

Largest Interior Space.

Malibu claims that the 20 MXZ has the most interior space in class. To validate this we’d have to get out the tape measure and do an across the board comparison, which is of course problematic. So, we'll take the builder at its word.

Highest Freeboard.

Again, another item that Malibu claims but we haven’t validated because we have not been asked by Malibu to test this boat.

Stern Lounge.

Much more than a sun pad, this rear lounge not only serves as a staging area for putting boards on, but it is also a relaxing spot to chill after the ride and enjoy the view and drinks.

Surf Gate.

This is Malibu’s patented system that allows for instantaneously switching the surf wake from one side to the other without having to shift weight or re-ballast the boat.

Malibu Wakesetter 20 MXZ

The Malibu Wakesetter 20 MXZ can easily transition from a relaxing day at a sandbar to a competitive wakeboat.

Features Snapshot

To appreciate what Malibu calls its “best in class” space we need to start in the bow. The pickle fork design carries the beam well forward and provides lots of room, and Malibu also allows for the ability to access storage inside the consoles.

Malibu Wakesetter 20 MXZ

Malibu includes plenty of contour lines in the mold and notice the highlights in the gelcoat. Here we can also see the access to the console storage.

In the cockpit, wraparound seating maximizes the useable space and includes a dedicated aft-facing observer's seat to keep an eye on the end of the towline. There’s also a dedicated storage spot for the carry-on cooler and we’ve long been advocates of this type of storage in every boat. It is much more convenient to fill a cooler at home and bring it on board, ready to go, than it is to have bags of ice and other bags of soda aboard.

Malibu Wakesetter 20 MXZ

The cockpit seating maximizes the available space and notice the dedicated aft-facing observer’s seat. Each of the board racks holds two boards, and this tower can accommodate up to four racks. The elongated speakers are a nice touch too.

In the stern, Malibu went well beyond the typical sun pad arrangement and added a pair of padded seats across the transom that not only serve as an excellent staging area, but also a comfy spot to relax with a can or two in the drink holders. The stereo remote is close by as are courtesy lights.

Malibu Wakesetter 20 MXZ

The transom staging area includes a non-skid matted swim platform that is low enough to the water to negate the need for a reboarding ladder. A lengthy grab handle runs across the transom for hauling yourself out of the water.


The helm of the 20 MXZ is consistent with her larger siblings in that styling and ease of use are at the forefront of the design. Of course the focal point of the dash has to be Maliview, Malibu’s proprietary touchscreen display that allows for total control of all the boat’s systems, and even allows all the riders’ favorite parameters to be saved as a preset, recalled at the touch of a button.
And yes, now this system will even allow operators to step onto the dock with a fully charged smartphone after enjoying a day shredding to the perfect playlists all day long. And Bluetooth technology allows anyone to control the playlists from anywhere on the boat.

Malibu Wakesetter 20 MXZ

The helm is a striking balance of looks and functionality with the Maliview touchscreen display taking on the primary control of all the boat’s systems.

Tower of Power

Their striking wake towers easily identify Malibu’s products. Here, the 20 MXZ is adorned with the modern looking Illusion G-3 tower. Keeping with the “garage-friendly” theme, this tower is easily lowered by a single person thanks to the fast spring assisted design.
The tower can be fitted with speakers, lights, and up to four racks that well exceed the typical two usually offered in the industry. And of course it can be fitted with an oversized Bimini or the Z5 cargo rack.

Malibu Wakesetter 20 MXZ

The bow seating is more squared off allowing for more useable space to spread out and relax. The pickle fork design provides the room forward. The tower not only adds the requisite elevated tow point but a host of other attractive features as well.

Surf Gate

This is, by far, one the biggest items on the “cool” scale that Malibu has come up with. Large, vertical tabs to either side of the transom allows for switching the curl from one side to the other without the need for causing the boat to “lean” by shifting passengers around or redistributing the ballast loads. And it’s all accomplished by a selectable control on the helm touchscreen panel. This, of course, is huge news for the guys who have riders onboard that are both left (natural) and right (goofy) foot forward as both can now be accommodated without delay, and all with the touch of a button.
Malibu’s tests have shown that Surf Gate is a safe, user-friendly system that produces a wake that’s sizable, clean, and has a really nice shape. Basically it’s all about versatility. While it’s great to be able to dial in the shape and curl the really big benefit is in changing from the port to the starboard side “on the fly” at the touch of a button.

Power Wedge

The Power Wedge drops down from the transom to increase the size and ability to customize the wake even further. This is the feature that will add more or less lip to the curl, and that setting can then be saved into the touchscreen presets.

Malibu Wakesetter 20 MXZ

Malibu’s Power Wedge provides better performance and fuel savings.

When set to "Auto Wedge," it can save fuel and time to plane. At 75% of the set cruise, the wedge drops to the lest amount of resistance. This provides quick planing, less bow rise, and less rpm needed to pull a rider out of the water. As the MXZ moves past that 75% mark, the Power Wedge goes back into its set position. It also happens in tight turns.

Powered by Indmar

Malibu continues with its long-standing tradition of powering its boats with Indmar, and in this case, the 20 MXZ comes standard with a whopping 350-hp Monsoon. These 5.7L small block V-8 engines are time proven to produce the best performance available in an inboard engine, and they also boast a host of other features, including…

• Stainless steel water lines, cylinder head gaskets, fuel injector tips and fuel rail

• A top-mount starter

• New exhaust dumps

• 90 Amp alternator

• Knock sensors

• Precision CNC machined billet aluminum pulleys

• Custom designed performance with Indmar's Precision Tuned Custom Intake Manifold

• High-flow cylinder head with straighter intake ports and a higher compression ratio

• Valve train features advanced design silent timing chain for added durability

• Roller valve lifters for reduced friction and improved performance

• Composite front timing cover for noise reduction and corrosion protection

• Hydraulic roller valve lifters

• Indmar designed sequential fuel injection system


We have not tested the 20 MXZ so can offer no opinions on her handling nor verify speed and fuel consumption numbers.
However, with this amount of horsepower, the 4,000 lb. (1814 kg) 20 MXZ should have more than enough punch out of the hole to get people up and out of the water quickly. Malibu tells us that she reaches a top speed of 41 mph and cruises at 21 mph at 3000 rpm. There are options for a 410-hp 6.0L, a 450-hp 6.2L, or the supercharged 555-hp 6.2L engines.


Because of the 22 and 24 MXZ models have been successfully received by the marketplace, obviously Malibu feels the same will happen to the 20 MXZ. All too often, those who have had to suffer under the toils of lake limits and limited garage capacities have had to settle for a boat that was less than the larger models in features, handling, and capabilities. Not so with the 20 MXZ. We suspect she’s just as able to perform at the competitive levels as her sibs and offers the same levels of amenities in a smaller package.

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