TESTED: MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ

By: JOHN WILLIS & ANGELO SANGIORGIO, Photography by: JOHN WILLIS & DAVE BACI


MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ
MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ trailer MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ trailer
MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ
MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ launch MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ launch
MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ picklefork bow MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ picklefork bow
bow lounge MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ bow lounge MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ
electronics MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ electronics MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ
seating MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ seating MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ
rear MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ rear MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ
layout MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ layout MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ
MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ layout MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ layout
helm MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ helm MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ
throttle MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ throttle MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ
wake MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ wake MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ
MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ
MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ
MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ wakeboat MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ wakeboat
wakeboarding MALIBU WAKESETTER wakeboarding MALIBU WAKESETTER
tricks MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ tricks MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ
wakeboarder MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ wakeboarder MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ

The Malibu Wakesetter 20 MXZ packs a lot of power into into a smaller wakeboat package. We sent John Willis to find out more.

TESTED: MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ
The Malibu Wakesetter 20 MXZ packs a lot of power into a smaller wakeboat package.

It seems every time I follow the beaten track to the Vic-NSW border town of Albury I know I’m in for a treat. This is a place that takes enormous pride in its agricultural and manufacturing traditions; it’s also the home of the mighty Murray River, the enormous Hume Weir, and various surrounding lakes and mountain ranges.

This gateway to "big river" country is also the home of Malibu Boats and possibly the most advanced trailerboat (and specifically, ski boats) manufacturing plant in the country.

Malibu took line honours at last year’s Australia’s Greatest Boats Water Sports shootout (TrailerBoat #289, December 2013) with its spectacular Wakesetter 22 MXZ and it has followed up its success by producing the slightly smaller 6m boat for 2013, the Malibu Wakesetter 20 MXZ.

The model description follows the company ideology in the design: MXZ = MaX-im-iZe. True to design criteria, the 20 MXZ packs all the features of the larger craft into a compact volume that is lighter to tow and has a more attractive price tag, but is still full of the features that make Malibu Boats a world leader.

We met Malibu’s sales manager, Thorpy (aka David Thorpe), and his wakeboarding entourage at the Hume Weir Boat Club on a breezy autumn morning, where the 20 MXZ’s new green metalflake hull had immediate effect on all who saw it for the first time (me).

On seeing the new design I thought to myself: "Wow. But do I like it?" The answer came quickly: "Hell yeah."

The black undersides and deck trim work beautifully against the glistening metalflake, although it probably makes the overall appearance look smaller on the water.

To be honest, though it had been a little while since I’d driven the larger boat, the huge internal layout of the new hull felt just as comfortable and spacious. Malibu likes to describe it as having three independent zones: bowrider; cockpit; and watersports launch pad / rear sun deck.



A REAL PICKLE

Describe it as you will, but there is no doubt the pickle fork bow maximises the passenger / entertainment capacity in the bowrider zone. It’s big, wide and spacious with plush cushions that just beg you to lay back. There’s room for four, but it’s a great spot for two to stretch out and enjoy themselves with drink holders, padded backrests and stainless grab handles recessed lower than the padding height for added comfort.

I particularly liked the extra storage compartment accessed behind the hinged backrest right at the front because these craft are also marketed for saltwater use, which means they need an anchor and appropriate storage.

The "Diamond Cut" hull brings its chines and beam well forward, giving plenty of volume in the bow to carry the thrill seekers and revellers.

Walking back through the five-piece, vented safety-glass windscreen, the main party unfolds on the dance floor. Well, maybe it’s not quite a dance floor, but for a 6m boat with this much accommodation and seating, the amount of carpeted deck area will be a real crowd pleaser.

The boat’s helm is home to the usual Wakesetter magnificence and the lush, thickly-upholstered bolster seat gives the helm a luxurious yet commanding attitude. The driver controls everything through the silky smooth throttle / gear shift, keyless start, MaliView 6.5in dash display, Precision Pro speed control and Medallion instrumentation, which all team up with the leather Isotta steering wheel to give rich driving experience. The polished stainless billet gauge panel offsets beautifully with three-toned French-stitched upholstered dash and black fibreglass footwell.

Our test boat was wired for sound and optioned up to include the MXZ series Rockford Fosgate stereo with six marine speakers and a four-channel amp, Illusion G3 wake tower with two pairs of speakers, big sub-woofer in the footwell, two speakers in the walkthrough and four more in the cockpit. Yeah, this boat rocks.

The rest of the cockpit is surrounded by lounges. Starting behind the helm, they spread right across the rear and continue up the port side where they become a twin observer’s seat. As with the rest of the boat, the upholstery is top quality and the tasteful three-tone colour scheme is stylish without being outlandish. There’s also loads of storage, wet box and eski facilities under all of the seats.

The internal layout is just as suitable for a party on the banks as it is rocking the mob around with riders in tow.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s hard to believe Malibu has managed to fit all of these elements into a 6m boat. The 20 MXZ has a full-size sunlounge at the rear with twin hinged and gas-strutted hatches for engine access. Open them up and you’ll find elevated dry containers, the ideal place to keep wetsuits, ropes and tow gear, and there is plenty of storage either side of the engine bay.

There is also a full-width preparation area complete with twin padded seats and a no-skid step in the middle. This is a very welcome stage for dealing with your gear when getting in or out of the water via the (removable) fibreglass swim platform.



THE RUMBLE

Now, you can’t really have a rockin’ wake boat without the rumble of a thumping V8. In this case, Malibu has gone with the fuel-injected Indmar Monsoon 350 V8 engine with F-N-R transmission and Malibu Touch Command. The engine is rated as a saltwater-specific unit so you can safely take it down the briny waterways, and an enclosed freshwater cooling system is also available as an option.

The V8 has a lovely and deep, but not overpowering, purr, and there is more than enough grunt to carry the weight of the boat, as well as the ballast and the party animals on-board. Fill the ballast and adjust your weight and she buries the rear end to create a big, steep wake that’s totally adjustable for surfing or boarding.



THE WRAP

Malibu has certainly achieved the design brief with the Wakesetter 20 MXZ; namely to create an easily-trailered 6m boat that that has plenty of party space, is rider- and passenger-friendly and still maintains that Malibu demeanour of premium opulence.

And you can combine all of that with a look that just oozes wow-factor, with or without the brazen green metalflake. What more could you want?



ON THE PLANE...

  • Beautiful presentation
  • Stunning green metalflake
  • Comfortable upholstery and layout
  • Big volume for length
  • Preparation area
  • Ample storage



DRAGGING THE CHAIN...

  • No drop-down in bowrider seating
  • No covers in package, just the bimini



MALIBU WAKESETTER 20 MXZ

HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $96,821 plus dealer deliveries

Options fitted: Surfgate; Power Wedge; MXZ-series Rockford Fosgate stereo / stereo remote with six M2-series Rockford Fosgate boat speakers with four-channel amp and two tower speakers

Malibu Wakesetter priced from: $87,062 plus dealer deliveries

 

GENERAL

Type: Diamond Cut hull wake boat

Material: Fibreglass

Length: 6.1m

Beam: 2.54m



CAPACITIES

People: 13 (subject to state laws)

Rec. HP: 350

Max. HP: 450

Fuel: 132L



ENGINE

Make/model: Fuel-injected Indmar Monsoon 350 Marine V8 with F-N-R transmission

Type: Marinised four-stroke

Weight: 400kg (approx.)

Displacement: 5.7L

Gear ratio: 1.46:1

Propeller: 14.5x14.25in four-blade high altitude fitted to test boat



MANUFACTURED AND SUPPLIED BY

Malibu Boats

813 Hope Court

Albury

NSW 2640

Tel: (02) 6040 1174

Website www.malibuboats.com.au

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat #296, June/July 2013.

Find Malibu boats for sale.

 


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