Load capacity: 14/1,885 lb.
Fuel capacity: 55 gal.
Dry weight: 3,900 lb.
Maximum HP: 450
Base price: $63,810
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 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. In addition to the exceptional LCD dash display that can be seen in direct sunlight, Malibu for ’08 has added LCD switches to control aspects such as the ballast, the lighting and new rider presets for Wedge position, speed and ballast levels.
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, wider driver’s seats with side-mounted swivel control and an optional passenger bucket seat in most models.
Bow: The Wakesetter 23 LSV bow has enjoyed a design revision this year. As with every Malibu, it’s very cushy, very secure, wrapped in stainless-steel grab rails and sprinkled with cup holders and speakers. We measured it at about 17 square feet of space.
Main cabin: The 23 LSV sports a full wraparound lounge — fairly common. What really sets Malibu apart is the terrific fit-and-finish and overall interior styling here, from upholstery that has a rich, supportive feel to the side panels of cup holders and speakers. We really liked the optional carpet saver for a cleaner look along the floor.
Storage: This Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV has 86 cubic feet of storage, including 44 in the center. The carpeting we saw in the cabin is the same carpeting we saw tucked into even the far reaches of the storage areas. A 60-quart cooler is under the side seating.
Ballast: The Wakesetter 23 LSV comes with the second-biggest factory system Malibu has at 1,250 pounds, behind only the 247’s 1,450 pounds. Of that, 1,000 pounds is standard with two rear 200-pound tanks and a 500-pound center tank. The 350-pound bow tank is an option. 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. With Malibu’s new LCD controls, we could control the iPod at the dash, the bow walk-through and the transom remote. Even if we had forgotten the iPod, Malibu includes a 1-gig pocket drive and a 1-gig built-in hard drive.
Engine: The Wakesetter 23 LSV comes standard with the Indmar Monsoon 5.7-liter with 340 horsepower. We tested in California, where Malibu will outfit many of its boats with this engine, since it has the ETX catalytic converter. The 6.2-liter Hammerhead 383 with 400 horsepower and the big-block 8.1-liter 8100 Vortec with 450 horsepower are also available.
Tower: The 23 LSV has the new Illusion XS tower standard. 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. The difference is the serrated edge that gives it an aggressive profile.
Graphics: The new “M” design for Malibu and the “Wakesetter” lettering had us thinking “Transformers” during our test trip. There’s definitely a techy, edgy feel to the logo. The choice of 22 gelcoat colors really makes that graphic pop.
More features: The 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 is deployed. We lit up the night one evening with Malibu’s new LED docking lights, 18 in all.
Location: Lake Tulloch, California
Elevation: 520 feet
Air temp.: 82°
Water temp.: 74°
With upgraded 400 hp engine (340 hp standard) and 13.5 x 16 four-blade prop
To 30 mph: 5.41 sec., 130.1 ft.
To 36 mph: 7.05 sec., 210.2 ft.
Top speed: 45.4 mph, 5,450 rpm
Bow rise: 20 degrees during typical acceleration. The Malibu dash is fairly high but still fine to see over.
Tracking: Stable. We liked the standard cruise control and new shift-by-wire throttle for smooth driving as we held the line.
Turns: A fairly big, wide boat that still turns well with the help of Malibu’s oversized fins on the keel.
Max G-force crossing wake at 22 mph: 1.1
As with all Malibus, the 23 LSV had minimal rattling. Tower to hull seemed solid.
Bow: 17 sq. ft.
Floor to tower: 6 ft.
Gunwale height: 2 ft. 6 in.
Main lounge: 72 sq. ft.
Sun pad: 23 sq. ft.
Platform: 12 sq. ft.
1,350 lb. factory ballast, wake shaper at 22 mph
Size: Good and meaty. Even at longer line lengths, there’s plenty of wake.
Shape: At 22 mph with the factory load, we shortened from 75 with the Power Wedge engaged about halfway to 70 feet to get ramps great for intermediate to advanced riders for big wake-to-wake airs. It’s a little too wide for beginners here. At 65 feet, we found that “Malibu mellow” wake. Super-long landing zones. Easy to do tricks to blind.
Overall: A lot of potential here for a wide range of riding abilities, whether it’s beginners out farther behind the boat where the wake is flatter or expert riders finding rampy swells closer in.
Engine Indmar Monsoon 5.7L, 340 hp
Prop Acme 13.5 x 16 four-blade
Cruise Malibu Precision Pro
Ballast 1,000 lb.; LCD gauge
Tower Illusion XS with quick-pin release
Wake shaper Option only
Driver’s Seat Swivel, bolster, lumbar, adjustable
Dash Hand-wrapped vinyl, billet insert, tilt steering
Gauges 5-inch Medallion plus LCD
Stereo Option only
Gas Fill Dual rear
Cooler 60 qt., under side seating
Cup Holders 19, stainless steel
Platform Teak, removable
Graphics Wakesetter Shield
Colors 22 colors in seven color ways
Engine Hammerhead 383 6.2L, 400 hp; 8100 Vortec 8.1L, 450 hp
Cruise Standard only
Ballast 1,350 lb.
Tower Illusion X, Titan III, swivel racks
Wake Shaper Wedge or Power Wedge
Stereo Rockford Fosgate unit with USB port and 1-gig hard drive, 1-gig USB pocket drive, up to eight Rockford Fosgate speakers, amp, subwoofer, transom remote, swivel tower speakers, Sirius satellite radio-ready
Platform Fiberglass with rubber, removable
Trailer Single- or tandem-axle, disc brakes
Misc. Heater, shower, passenger bucket seat, driver’s seat heater