Malibu Wakesetter 23 XTi 2008

Wakeboard Boat Review

Malibu waited until the last day of our tests to unveil this new Malibu Wakesetter 23 XTi for us. It’s always been a standout boat with its direct-drive engine hidden in a V-drive-style interior. But we were amazed to see Malibu found a way to increase the seating with the addition of another bench, as well as improve the interior flow and add a bunch of new features.

Hull: While we're always raving about the premier fit-and-finish of a Malibu's deck, the V25 Wake hull deserves attention. Sculpted by an engineering team of longtime water-sports junkies, this hull creates mellow wakes with defined peaks as well as a solid feel through double-ups.

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.

Tower: Malibu's new standard Illusion XS wakeboard tower that topped the Malibu Wakesetter 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 wakeboard tower and the smoother Illusion X wakeboard tower.

Wake shaper: You don't have to get the Wedge. The Malibu hull will run fine without it. But to be able to push down the equivalent of 1,200 more pounds into the water with a simple button at the cockpit, the Power Wedge is an upgrade we recommend.

Highlight feature: The new interior seating — 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.

The wake: Our riders found their personal sweet spot behind the Malibu Wakesetter 23 XTi at 70 feet going 21.5 mph. They liked the peak there a lot, even drawing a picture of it on the test sheet that looked like a shark fin. Double-ups were also money and easy to get into.

What We Dig

Easy-to-read LCD display for the driver

Upholstery with better stain resistance

Direct-drive responsiveness

Rear lounge close to the water

Offset ballast tanks

Specs

Length w/o platform: 23’

Beam: 8’6”

People: 14

Dry weight: 3,700 lb.

Ballast: 900 lb. total (two rear tanks, 200 lb. and 350 lb.; bow tank, 350 lb.*)

Tower: Illusion XS wakeboard tower

Racks*: Swivel

Wake shaper*: Power Wedge

Two lounges: 78 sq. ft.

Stereo: Rockford Fosgate unit with USB port and 1-gig hard drive, 1-gig USB pocket drive, up to eight speakers, amp, subwoofer, transom remote, swivel tower speakers, Sirius satellite radio-ready

Cooler: ?? qt.

Fuel: 47 gal.

Trailer*: Single or tandem axle

Base MSRP: $59,365

*Optional

Engine

Standard: Indmar Monsoon 5.7L, 340 hp

Test: Indmar Hammerhead 383 6.2L, 400 hp

Test prop: Acme 13.5x15.5 four-blade

Cruise: Malibu Precision Pro; PerfectPass optional