Boat Review by: Richard Crowder
Malibu was born in California in 1982 and for 2015, offers four models of Wakesetter traditional V-bow wake boats from twenty to twenty-four feet plus three models of Wakesetter pickle-fork bow design wake boats in the same size range plus two twenty foot Response series inboard ski boats.
At twenty-one feet, ten inches length overall on a full eight foot, six inch beam, Malibu’s 22 VLX is a brand new model for 2015, replacing its slightly shorter and narrower 21 VLX model. Not only is the size of this traditional V-bow design wake boat bigger for 2015, but it also features Malibu’s new Wake Plus hull, “designed to deliver that massive, perfect wake for both wakeboarding and wakesurfing.”
If you are looking for “pro-level” wakes, then stick with this standard Wake Plus hull, but if you want more of a “multisport” wake, then go for Malibu’s optional Diamond hull design. With this new model, the weight of the boat increases by 250 pounds, the draft increases by three inches to twenty-seven, and the carrying capacity increases from thirteen to fourteen persons over the 21 VLX. Malibu says that “The 22 VLX easily generates the biggest wake in the industry, and you can fine-tune it for every skill level.”
Standard on the 22 VLX is Malibu’s new Bluetooth compatible dual-touchscreen Command Center which provides a front-and-centre MaliView 12-inch touchscreen showing analog-looking engine function displays including speedometer, tachometer, engine temperature and oil pressure plus a fuel gauge and voltmeter plus it gives access to customizable rider presets, media controls, etc. A “GO HOME” feature releases all ballast, disengages the optional Surf Gate and Power Wedge II, and sets the speed control at 20 mph. Also included is a depth finder plus Precision Pro Speed Control with Zero Off GPS.
This large touchscreen adds and joins to the smaller seven-inch MTC (Malibu Touch Command) screen to the right of the new for 2015 steering wheel. This MTC touchscreen provides systems control of features such as ballast, optional Power Wedge II and Surf Gate, navigation, blower, pumps, lights, etc. and includes keyless start. You can also option into this MTC screen a Rockford Fosgate stereo system. Both screens offer a wide 170-degree viewing angle.
You can go all out and choose the optional new Sport Dash which includes Malibu’s new analog systems control dial plus expandable smartphone cradle and a dry-storage box with USB charger all located to the left of the steering wheel.
The interior of the 22 VLX provides full surround sectioned bench seating from the upholstered padding on the passenger helm acting as a spotter’s backrest extending aft along the port side, across the transom and forward on the starboard side right to the back of the driver’s adjustable and swivel bucket seat with flip-up forward bolster and optional seat heating.
Storage is found below all of the seat cushions and a drop in Igloo cooler is standard. A double-wide transom sunpad leads to a full-width, rear-facing upholstered transom seat with a centre step pad for easier access to the water-level mounted swim platform. Bow seating is fully padded throughout with full surrounding back and side bolsters and storage beneath the seat cushions.
Malibu’s new for 2015 G3.2 latching tower in black and complete with a pair of spinner comb-fork racks is standard. This tower may be upgraded with a huge selection of options including different colours, racks, lights, Wet Sounds G-Force speakers, a PTM Panoramic 140-degree billet mirror, and a HD Flo-Cam camera. You can also upgrade to Malibu’s even fancier G4 tower.
Standard ballast on the 22 VLX includes Hi Flo mid-ship and aft hard tanks. This may be upgraded with a bow tank and/or aft Plug ‘N’ Play plumbing. The aforementioned optional hydraulically operated Power Wedge II equates to an additional 300 pounds of simulated ballast and a new upward angle was created to increase lift to allow the driver to get a fully loaded boat on plane faster. Equipped with this and the optional Surf Gate, the driver can shift the lip of the wake from side to side producing a customized wave on either side.
Other notable optional equipment includes three Monsoon V-drive engine choices in 350, 450, or 555 horsepower along with several engine-based options including a hot water shower and heater outlets, several stereo options including Sirius satellite radio and a transom remote, a PTM Panoramic windshield mirror, non-skid Deck Trac, WakeView seating, docking lights, underwater lighting, undermount swimstep, battery charger, automatic fire extinguisher, various bimini and covering options, plus a Boatmate tandem axle trailer. Of course, many, many choices of solid and metallic gelcoat colours are also available.
Malibu refers to its new 22 VLX as “The radical reinvention.”
|Length:||21' 10"||6.65 m|
|Beam:||8' 6"||2.59 m|
|Dry weight:||11,340 lbs||5,143 kg|
|Draft:||2' 3"||69 cm|
|Fuel Capacity:||48 US gals||182 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Monsoon V-Drive Inboard|