Malibu Wakesetter 20 VTX Boat Test

Malibu Boats
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The Wakesetter 20 VTX is a triple-sport boat that’s easily trailerable.

Can one boat do it all? Malibu’s Wakesetter 20 VTX excels for skiing, wakeboarding and wakesurfing.

Our test boat was powered by a 360 hp Malibu Monsoon M5Di engine. Developing 400 foot-pounds of torque at 3,600 rpm, this engine delivered awesome throttle control whether ballasted down or running light and fast. I’ve visited the facility where Malibu builds these engines and came away impressed with the attention to detail in build that enables them to earn the highest efficiency rating there is, the CARB five-star rating. Key service points are easy to access and, as our chart shows, the M5Di proved quiet underway.

The feature that best bestows three-sport cred upon the 20 VTX is the Diamond Hull. Specially shaped, it helps generate respectable wakeboard and wakesurf waves, yet still allows slalom skiing. We noted a soft, readily crossable wake at slalom speeds and little spray during our test. Option up for the short wing windshield, center-mounted ski pylon and TXi Performance Tower, the mounting geometry of which allows a slalom tow line to swing across the cockpit.

Then pro rider Massimiliano Piffaretti broke out his board. We deployed the Malibu Power Wedge III—a hydrofoil delivering response equal to 1,500 pounds of ballast—and the wake grew. Then we filled the ballast tanks and adjusted Malibu’s Surf Gate (vertically mounted trim tabs that help shape waves) to Massi’s liking, and things got cool fast. Hey, the 20 VTX is no 25-footer, but it generates really respectable wakes and waves.

How to do it? The 12-inch MaliView touchscreen uses graphics, and it affords finger-tap control of the ballast, Power Wedge III, Surf Gate and navigation. After a few trips, you’ll discover how to set up presets for rider preferences, media controls and a variety of gauge displays. Really, it’s easy.

Seeking a top-of-the-line, triple-sport boat that’s easily trailerable and will even fit in many garages? Go ahead and demo a Malibu Wakesetter 20 VTX.

High Points

- Diamond Hull allows for a soft, easily crossed slalom wake and minimal spray, plus good-size wakes and waves.

- Attention to detail and styling is as good as it gets.

- Choice of towers and options, such as center-mounted ski pylon and short wing windshield.

Low Points

- We’d add a windshield wiper.

- Our test boat’s ski tower rattled somewhat at high speed.

Toughest Competitor

Shopping? Look at the Nautique Super Air Nautique GS20 (starting at $110,040 with a 355 hp PCM ZZ5 5.3L DI).

Price: $105,690 (with test power)

Available Power: V-Drive

How We Tested

Engine: 360 hp Malibu Monsoon M5Di

Drive/Prop: V-drive/15″ x 13″ 3-blade bronze

Gear Ratio: 1.50:1

Fuel Load: 19 gal.

Water on Board: 0 gal.

Crew Weight: 400 lb.

Malibu Boats - Loudon, Tennessee; 865-458-5478; malibuboats.com

LOA: 20'0" | Beam: 8'2" | Draft (max): 2'3" | Displacement (approx.): 5,843 lb. | Transom Deadrise: NA | Bridge Clearance: 3'6" (top of windshield) | Fuel Capacity: 38 gal. | Max Horsepower: 360 ·|...
 

LOA: 20'0" | Beam: 8'2" | Draft (max): 2'3" | Displacement (approx.): 5,843 lb. | Transom Deadrise: NA | Bridge Clearance: 3'6" (top of windshield) | Fuel Capacity: 38 gal. | Max Horsepower: 360 ·|Available Power: Single Malibu Monsoon M5Di or M6Di inboard to 430 hp

 

There's plush seating in the bow.

 

The 12-inch MaliView touchscreen offers finger-­tap control of the ballast, Power Wedge III, Surf Gate and navigation.

 

Skiers will want to option up for the center-mounted ski pylon.

 

Malibu Wakesetter 20 VTX Certified Test Results