Load capacity: 14 / 2,100 lb.
Fuel capacity: 47 gal.
Dry weight: 3,700 lb.
Maximum HP: 400
Base price: $59,365
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. In addition to the exceptional LCD dash display that can be seen in direct sunlight, for ’08 Malibu 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 boat building, 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 Wakesetter 23 XTi, 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: The new interior seating is a real highlight feature here — no question. With the addition of the forward-facing bench in front of the engine, there are now two lounges in the Malibu Wakesetter 23 XTi. And the walkway is now placed behind the driver, so that seat can fully swivel and adjust.
Storage: This 23 XTi sports 80 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 60-quart cooler is under the rear lounge seat.
Ballast: The deal here isn’t just that there’s 900 total pounds of factory ballast when buyers opt for the 350-pound bow tank. Malibu put thought into how the rear tanks work with this seating layout and made the port-side tank 200 pounds and the starboard-side tank 350 pounds. That’s because more passengers will be sitting on the port side, adding their own ballast.
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: This Wakesetter 23 XTi comes standard with 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’s new standard Illusion XS tower that topped this 23 XTi looked sharp, literally. It’s as if Malibu took a saw and contorted it into a beautiful, arcing piece of wakeboarding art. For a more traditional look, Malibu offers the Titan III tower and the smoother Illusion X.
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 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.: 73°
Water temp.: 72°
With 400 hp engine (340 hp standard) and Acme 13×11.5 three-blade prop
To 30 mph: 5.5 sec., 127.2 ft.
To 36 mph: 7.3 sec., 214.8 ft.
Top speed: 44.5 mph, 5300 rpm
Bow rise: 18.1 degrees during typical acceleration. Good visibility with the dash and windshield.
Tracking: For a boat this size, the direct-drive configuration was able to tame it and keep it tracking well.
Turns: Same here. Great sharp turns from this size boat. The new shift-by-wire throttle also helped the overall responsiveness.
Max G-force crossing wake at 22 mph: 1.15
It’s another rattle-free ride from Malibu.
Bow: 19 sq. ft.
Floor to tower: 6 ft.
Gunwale height: 2 ft. 6 in.
Lounges: 78 sq. ft.
Sun pad: 15 sq. ft.
Platform: 12 sq. ft.
We tested these wakes with 900 pounds of factory ballast and the Power Wedge deployed at 21.5 mph. This 23 XTi has a cool feature of offset ballast rear tanks, with a port one at 200 pounds and starboard at 350 pounds to allow for where passengers are likely to sit. With that, wakes had peaky lips at our favorite spot, 70 feet at 21.5 mph. Double-ups were easy to get into for good air. Overall: Peaky performance from an oversized direct-drive.
Engine Indmar Monsoon 5.7L, 340 hp
Prop Acme 13 x 11.5 three-blade
Cruise Malibu Precision Pro
Ballast 550 lb. total, two rear tanks
Tower Illusion XS with quick-pin release
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 60 qt., under rear lounge
Cup Holders 25, stainless steel
Platform Teak, removable
Trailer Option only
Graphics Core Shield exterior decals
Colors 22 colors in seven color ways
Engine Hammerhead 6.2L, 400 hp
Ballast 900 lb. total with bow tank
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 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