Load capacity: 14 / 1,945 lb.
Fuel capacity: 55 gal.
Dry weight: 3,800 lb.
Maximum HP: 450
Base price: $59,683
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. The exceptional LCD dash display can be seen in direct sunlight.
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 and wider driver’s seats with side-mounted swivel control.
Bow: Like the rest of the Sunscape 23 LSV, the bow is wrapped in some of the best upholstery we’ve seen, with new Duraguard stain protection and foam that’s supportive without being too stiff or too beanbag-esque. Gunwale-mounted stainless-steel grab rails add to the security of the ride.
Main cabin: This new 23 LSV has the option for dual bucket seating, giving the passenger a fully swiveling chair, too. We measured the lounge area at 72 square feet, with a gunwale height at the driver’s seat of 2 feet 6 inches. There’s plenty of room to spread out, with storage, grab rails and luxury accents everywhere.
Storage: This Sunscape 23 LSV sports 126 cubic feet of storage, with compartments featuring stainless hinges, sturdy hydraulic lifts and full carpeting. The carpeting we saw in the cabin is the same carpeting we saw tucked into even the far reaches of the storage areas. A whopping 96-quart cooler is under the side seating.
Ballast: The 23 LSV has an optional ballast system with an amazing capacity for this size boat: 1,250 pounds total. The two rear tanks have capacity for 200 pounds each, while the center bag holds 500 pounds. The bow tank adds that final 350 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. Even if we had forgotten the iPod, Malibu includes a 1-gig pocket drive and a 1-gig built-in hard drive.
Engine: This Sunscape 23 LSV comes standard with the 5.7-liter Indmar Monsoon with 340 horsepower. The 6.2-liter Hammerhead 383 with 400 horsepower and the 8.1-liter 8100 Vortec with 450 horsepower are also available.
Tower: The 23 LSV has the new Illusion XS tower as an option. Like the still-available Illusion X tower, this cast-aluminum model has a swept-back look that offers great driver visibility and a distinct profile on the water, plus a quick-pin release to fold it down into the boat and optional swivel board racks and speakers. The difference is the serrated edge that gives it an aggressive profile.
Graphics: A simple Malibu logo on the transom is the main look here. We like that the name on the exterior gunwale is a stainless-steel piece rather than a decal.
More features: The windshield-mounted convex rearview mirror comes standard. Driver’s seat heater, two removable launch seats, carpet saver and chrome pylon are among the options available.
Location: Lake Tulloch, California
Elevation: 520 feet
Air temp.: 99°
Water temp.: 76°
With standard 340 hp engine and Acme 13.5×16 four-blade prop
To 30 mph: 5.4 sec., 125.8 ft.
To 36 mph: 7.4 sec., 225.7 ft.
Top speed: 42 mph, 5100 rpm
Bow rise: 20.2 degrees during typical acceleration. While we like new dash, it does have a higher profile visibility-wise.
Tracking: We were really pleased with this straight-as-an-arrow handling that was agile when needed.
Turns: At high and low speeds, we thought it was better than average for control. The very deep interior stayed dry through turns.
Max G-force crossing wake at 22/30 mph: 0.86/1.18
The new hull knifed through the water and kept the ride especially smooth.
Bow: 15 sq. ft.
Floor to tower: N/A
Gunwale height: 2 ft. 6 in.
Main lounge: 72 sq. ft.
Sun pad: 24 sq. ft.
Platform: 12 sq. ft.
The V25 Cut Diamond hull does lend itself to multisport performance, and we found somewhat soft ski wakes at slower speeds. We like the potential of the 23 LSV for wakeboarding when it’s equipped with the tower, ballast and Power Wedge upgrades. Of course, with a capacity for 14 passengers, that’s enough human ballast for riders to get started with, for sure.
Overall: This luxury 23-footer has a lot of upside for riding.
Engine Indmar Monsoon 5.7L, 340 hp
Prop Acme 13.5 x 17.5 4-blade
Cruise Malibu Precision Pro
Ballast Option only
Tower option only
Wake shaper Option only
Driver’s Seat Swivel, bolster, adjustable lumbar support
Dash Hand-wrapped vinyl, billet aluminum insert
Gauges 5-inch Medallion plus LCD
Stereo Option only
Gas Fill Dual rear
Cooler 96 qt., under side seating
Cup Holders 19, stainless steel
Platform Teak, removable
Trailer Option only
Graphics Sunscape series
Colors 22 colors in seven color ways
Engine Hammerhead 6.2L, 400 hp; 8100 Vortec 8.1L, 450 hp
Cruise standard only
Ballast 1,250 lb. total (bow tank, center bag, 2 rear tanks)
Tower Illusion XS, Illusion X, 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 8 Rockford Fosgate speakers, amp, subwoofer, transom remote, swivel tower speakers, satellite radio-ready
Platform Fiberglass with rubber, removable
Trailer Single- or tandem-axle
Misc. Heater, shower