2018 Malibu 21 VLX

Wakeboarding Review
The versatility of the Malibu 21 VLX is downright impressive, especially with just stock ballast. Tricks were effortless, and we had plenty of hang time with the forgiveness of a 21-foot boat. The wake instantly gained size and girth as we dropped the Wedge. The wake provided plenty of pop and allows the rider to perform at speeds they are comfortable with while maintaining its shape. If you are looking to shorten the rope and slow down to learn those first jumps and inverts without the hard crashes, or you're speeding up and lengthening the rope to maximize your hangtime, you can rely on this wake to stay clean and maintain its reliable Wakesetter shape.

Wakesurfing Review
Just like with the wakeboard wake, the surf wave of the Malibu 21 VLX is impressive, even with just stock ballast. The wave has a more moderate shape than some of the bigger boats in the Malibu line, but it is a lot of fun that still has more than enough size and push for most riders. Props to Malibu for packing this much punch into a smaller boat because surfing behind the 21 VLX is both easy for beginners and great for riders looking to progress.

Waterskiing Review
Years ago you might never have thought to ski behind a boat like Malibu's Wakesetter 21 VLX, especially with its name. While the 21 VLX isn't as catered to skiing as the 20 VTX because it is longer, wider, and doesn't come with a center-mounted pylon, it performs almost identically. The bump was more significant at 28 off, but at 32 we were pleasantly surprised and able to stay aggressive with both onside and offside cuts. Skiing at 32 off from the rear pylon is more akin to skiing 28 off from a center pylon because it is further back in the boat. If you want to ski the 21 VLX more aggressively you just need to keep your body in a position where you can absorb the bump.

malibu boats
2018 Malibu 21 VLXWBM

The Malibu 21 VLX is impressively versatile. Whether carving giant sprays on your ski, boosting across the weighted wake shaped perfectly by the Power Wedge, or surfing a clean wave with the patented Surf Gate this boat is guaranteed to perform up to your expectations. Here are three features that we really liked:

Price-based performance
The 21 VLX is all about price-based performance. This means some of the most consistent and well-shaped wakes in its class, an ergonomic and refined interior, superb handling and much more at a very manageable price. And we can't emphasize enough that the 21 VLX is a Malibu wakesetter and it comes with all the pedigree that name brings from its decades of building quality inboard boats.

The helm
The 21 VLX has a next-level dash that sports a 12" center touch screen for frequently used functions as well as a small auxiliary screen that lets you dive deep into the boat's features and really customize your experience. There's also a multi-function rotary dial with hot keys that makes controlling the boat really easy when you want to nudge a function or you don't feel like diving into the touch screens.

With seating for up to 13, this relatively little boat can handle a huge passenger load. That also means everyone's gear. Thankfully Malibu built loads of storage into the 21 VLX. The entire wraparound lounge has communicating compartments with dual-axis hinges for easy access.

malibu boats
2018 Malibu 21 VLXWBM