Malibu Sunsetter XTi
Many families shopping for a new water-sports boat seek out a V-drive believing that's the only way to get the popular wraparound seating. Other families are wise to the unique direct-drive Sunsetter XTi.
Yes, you get the wraparound lounge, and it's better equipped than most (and on a larger hull for 2005). It has a 48-quart ice chest that serves as a step over the transom to the swim platform. At your fingertips are available Sony Xplode speakers with stereo remote, and controls for the optional hot-water shower and heater. If the party spills over, there's plenty of seating at the observer's station and in the open bow, all with plush upholstery and high freeboard. Overall, we'd give the comfortable interior an A+ with its superb fit and finish.
And yes, you still get the benefits of a direct-drive. Center mounted under a midship sun pad, the engine is through-bolted into Malibu's high-tech fiberglass construction for a steady ride with sure tracking.
With the new V25 Diamond hull, we found the wakes to be a degree harder than they were last year, but the extra room in the cockpit more than makes up for it. Parents and kids who want to spend their weekend free skiing will find attainable wake crossings at longer line lengths and slower speeds. The boat holds a solid line.
This is a great boat for beginning riders. The wake size isn't overwhelming, yet there's a nice lip. Double-ups are moderate, too. Once the kids are ready for more, the optional Wedge and a midship ballast tank can enhance the wake size to accommodate the advancing intermediate rider.
• The Sunsetter 21 XTi merges what families like about V-drives and direct-drives — namely a wraparound lounge and inboard handling.
• Now on the V25 Diamond hull, this boat is 6 inches longer and 5 inches wider for 2005.
• The engine box virtually disappears, incorporated into a special sun deck.
• Everything is premium, from the fiberglass construction to the upholstery to the driver's console.
Top Speed 44.0 mph 5,000 rpm
Accel. to 30 mph 4.9 sec. 117.4 ft.
Accel. to 36 mph 6.6 sec. 197.6 ft.
Noise Levels (db) Neutral 64 D 62 R, 36 mph 82 D 91 R
Length 21 ft. 6 in. Beam 98 in.
Seating Capacity 12
Fuel Capacity 46 gal.
Test Prop Acme 13 x 12 3-blade
Test Engine Indmar Monsoon 5.7L, 340 HP