Load capacity: 10 / 1,480 lb.
Fuel capacity: 35 gal.
Dry weight: 3,000 lb.
Maximum HP: 400
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: Even though this is a value-oriented wakeboard boat, it still has high-quality touches like a chromed billet insert, the LCD dash display that toggles through extensive engine and boat info and a design that promotes easy control and comfort for the driver.
Seating: Malibu excels in practically every aspect of boat building, including seating design. The upholstery in the vRide 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 this is all on a so-called value wakeboard boat.
Bow: Like other Malibus, the bow in the vRide 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. A bow filler cushion comes standard.
Main cabin: The 21-foot vRide isn’t the widest boat in Malibu’s line, but it still supports a full wraparound lounge in the main cabin. We measured it at 50 square feet, with a relatively deep 28-inch gunwale height at the driver’s seat. Storage, grab rails and cup holders are placed throughout.
Storage: Malibu reports very good storage space for this vRide: 11 cubic feet in the bow, 33 cubic feet in the center and 28 cubic feet in the rear compartments alongside the engine. That’s 72 cubic feet total, with quality carpeting and hardware like other Malibus.
Ballast: The vRide comes with a 500-pound center tank standard, with the option to upgrade to two rear tanks at 200 pounds each. The 900-pound total is a good amount for a 21-footer.
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 1-gig built-in hard drive. The vRide accommodates four speakers with this optional system.
Engine: This vRide comes standard with the Indmar LCR 5.7-liter with 320 horsepower. The next upgrade is to the 5.7-liter Monsoon with 340 horsepower and new ETX catalytic converter. The 6.2-liter Hammerhead 383 is also available at 400 horsepower.
Tower: Malibu includes the stylish, swept-back Illusion X tower standard on the vRide. We really appreciate that, considering a tower isn’t standard on a surprising number of wakeboard boats.
Graphics: The vRide has almost a ripped-from-the-page look to its graphics. We like how it looks like a call to action: Ride! No problem with that one. The choice of 22 gelcoat colors really makes the graphics pop.
More features: The optional swivel racks have a solid feel. The optional Power Wedge is very easy to raise and lower, with the gauge reading showing when the wake shape is increasing as up to 1,200 pounds of displacement are deployed.
Location: Lake Tulloch, California
Elevation: 520 feet
Air temp.: 82°
Water temp.: 74°
With 340 hp engine and Acme 13.5×16 four-blade prop
To 30 mph: 4.9 sec., 119.1 ft.
To 36 mph: 6.3 sec., 186.5 ft.
Top speed: 45 mph, 5100 rpm
Bow rise: 22 degrees during typical acceleration. We didn’t note anything out of the ordinary with visibility. The tower allows for great peripheral visibility.
Tracking: It’s an agile 21-footer on a relatively modest beam that holds a line well.
Turns: Again, the nimbleness translates here with the turning performance.
Max G-force crossing wake at 22 mph: 1.15
Vibration: It has a rattle-free crossing, showing that even an older Malibu hull design offers a soft ride.
Bow: 12 sq. ft.
Floor to tower: 5 ft. 10 in.
Gunwale height: 2 ft. 4 in.
Main lounge: 50 sq. ft.
Sun pad: 24 sq. ft.
Platform: 9 sq. ft.
900 lb. factory ballast and wake shaper, 22 mph
The recommendation from our test team is to go 22 mph at 65 or 70 feet when factory weighted. Shorten up because it’s a wide wake. There’s a little less peak than the VTX and VLX. Don’t be afraid to charge the double-up; it’s clean and consistent.
Overall: A lot of performance for the money.
Engine Malibu LCR 5.7L, 320 hp
Prop Acme 13.5 x 16 four-blade
Cruise Malibu Precision Pro
Ballast 500 lb.
Tower Illusion X with quick-pin release
Wake shaper Option only
Driver’s Seat Swivel, adjustable lumbar support
Dash Hand-wrapped vinyl, billet aluminum insert, tilt steering wheel
Gauges 5-inch Medallion plus LCD
Stereo Option only
Gas Fill Dual rear
Cooler 60 qt., under side seating
Cup Holders 11, plastic
Platform Teak, removable
Trailer Tandem axle
Graphics vRide logo
Colors 22 colors in seven color ways
Engine Indmar Monsoon 5.7L 340 hp; Indmar Hammerhead 5.7L, 400 hp
Cruise Standard only
Ballast 900 lb.
Tower 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 four Rockford Fosgate speakers, amp, subwoofer, transom remote, swivel tower speakers, satellite radio-ready
Platform Fiberglass with rubber, removable
Misc. Heater, shower