Head To Head: 2012 Malibu Wakesetter 22 MXZ And VLX

It's safe to say the new Wakesetter 22 MXZ is like no Malibu you've ever seen before. That much is obvious from the get-go, thanks to that massive twin-tip bow. But while the Malibu Wakesetter MXZ boasts plenty of new, it also sports the same standout features and shapely wake as Malibu's other top wakeboard boats, which means you have another top-of-the-line choice. To help you make a more educated decision, we decided to pit the new MXZ against Malibu's other flagship wakeboard boat, the venerable Malibu Wakesetter VLX. Photos: BIll Doster and Aaron Katen

Open and Close

The most glaring difference occurs up front, where the Wakesetter 22 MXZ’s twin-tip design stands in sharp contrast to the Wakesetter VLX’s traditional bow. At more than 6 feet across at its widest and more than 5 feet at its longest, the 22 MXZ bow opens up more than 32 square feet of deep, broad seating. While the Wakesetter VLX bow is longer at more than 5.5 feet, it yields just less than 29 square feet.

Final word: This is a choice of looks just as much as layout. The big, in-your-face MXZ or the sleek, classic VLX?

The Space Between

While the Wakesetter MXZ’s lounge sacrifices acreage to that burly bow, it’s still plenty spacious thanks to the 102-inch beam, which helps carve out 60 square feet of lounge area. Though the VLX is shorter and narrower, its more traditional design delivers more than 3 extra square feet in the main cabin.

Final word: Where do you want your room? MXZ boasts the bigger bow, while the VLX delivers more in the middle.

End Game

Malibu carried over the super-functional transom seating design of the 247 LSV to the MXZ. You lose lounge area — the VLX’s sun pad is about 60 percent larger — but you gain a handy spot to get set for a session, including flip-up seats that reveal dual wet storage compartments.

Final word: The MXZ's transom has a ride-first feeling, but the VLX allows the ladies more room to lay out. Where do your loyalties lie?

Parallel Parts

Befitting two flagships, the MXZ and VLX are outfitted with Malibu’s first-class features. Both come standard with the touch control and keyless start of Malibu Touch Command, the hole shot of Indmar’s 350-horspower Monsoon engine, the unflinching pull and convenient storage of the Illusion G3 tower and a pair of spinning combo-fork board racks.

Final word: You can't lose. Both boats are dressed to the nines.

Wakes

The VLX boasts one of the sport’s top all-time wakes, so the MXZ had plenty to live up to. The new model delivers, carving out a wake with the Wakesetter line’s classically long transitions for smooth takeoffs and landings. It also provides pro-level pop without adding a ton of weight.

Final Word: Phillip Soven, a former VLX owner who currently rides behind the MXZ, says the difference between the two wakes is subtle. "They're really similar," Soven says. "The MXZ's is a little more rampy, and it's a little easier to get it to the size you want."