Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV Review

Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV Boat Review

Reviewed: April 2009

Modern Boating Magazine


Top Aussie boats continue to push the envelope and Malibu sets the standard with the Wakesetter 23 LSV.

Main Features:

A frameless-vented windscreen, new rider presets make switching from pro to beginner level almost effortless, 1GB-hard drive sound system, an exclusive adjustable rudder for a perfect tow and STE exhaust tips that reduce engine noise, not performance.

If there are any boaties left in Australia who still think the local industry can’t mix it with the imports, they must have been hiding under a rock. The quality of most vessels being built here is world class and worthy of praise.

But a recent trip to the Malibu factory in Albury, to test the latest Wakesetter 23 LSV, simply blew me away. The build quality, layout, performance and handling of this racy wakeboarder make her a world leader.

Malibu boats – made in Australia ?

I can hear some readers asking, “but aren’t Malibus American boats?” The answer is yes. And no. American Malibus are made in the US, but Malibu Boats Pty Ltd builds every model in the line in Australia (except the monstrous 247), in this NSW country town.

Sure, the moulds are sent over from that States, as are fitments such as gauges, fuel tanks, windscreens and the likes — so boats built here retain the same build quality of their US counterparts — but every facet of building an ‘Aussie’ Malibu happens here.

Malibu is well known for its innovative hull designs and the new 23 LSV is a cracker. Like many boats in this field, it has heavily defined chines, but instead of the chines extending well forward just above the waterline to the bow, they curve upwards from a point directly under the driver’s seat. The result is a hull that retains excellent lateral stability, but she slices and carves more like a Pickle Fork design than a mono. There’s no banging, or amidship’s hull slap and she delivers a ride that has to be experienced to be truly appreciated. It glides over wind chop and other boats’ wakes with hardly a tremor.

Proven Wakesetter features

This new hull also incorporates well-proven Malibu features such as heavily defined 90-degrees strakes for straight tracking, twin Gorilla Fins to control tail slip for effortless, high-speed turns, an exclusive adjustable rudder for a perfect tow and STE exhaust tips that reduce engine noise, not performance.

From a wakeboarder’s persective it’s all in the name — Wakesetter. The LSV is fitted with Malibu’s patented electric Power Wedge (now with a wedge gauge, so you know the position of the wedge instantly) and up to four individual underfloor ballast tanks, all with a Ballast Monitoring System. These features coupled with the latest hull design and Illusion XS tower ensure riders at all levels can achieve their optimum ride.

The Illusion XS wakeboarding tower makes the Wakesetter LSV easily identifiable and is designed with sharp lines to compliment the hull and deck with its forward swept pitch, cast aluminium construction and a signature serrated back edge. It’s available with as many as four optional tower speakers, board racks, lights and a bimini.

The Malibu LSV also features a frameless-vented windscreen, aggressive dash shape, gauges and an LCD-embedded switch panel — new rider presets make switching from pro to beginner level almost effortless. But wait…when we are talking about switch panels… there’s more. Malibu’s new LCD panels allow you to control everything from the new 1GB-hard drive sound system with Rockford Fosgate speakers to the ballast system, cockpit lighting and all the dash-incorporated accessories with a single touch.

The interior layout is sensational and storage areas and lockers have been even further optimised on this model. The LSV has luxurious sport seating (made from heavy duty 38oz upholstery) throughout, a bigger bowrider to relax in after your ride and a new transom staging seat that gives riders a comfortable place to prepare before their next run. Coupled with the latest engineered fibreglass swim step with non-slip decking and built-in rocker, Malibu has taken the hassle out of ride preparation.

Engine power

Power comes from a Monsoon 340hp, 5.7lt, EFI-MPI V8, V-drive, which propels this big bowrider to just over 40mph and generates ample out-of-the-hole torque. With the engine weight situated right at the transom (thanks to the V-drive set-up), wakes are further enhanced, while the fly-by-wire throttle and gear controls add to the engine’s silky smooth operation.

A bigger engine option is available in the Hammerhead 383, which is 6.2lt 400hp EFI-MPI V8.

Malibu Wakesetter extras

I’ve mentioned many of the Wakesetter 23 LSV’s obvious features, but there are also many other not so obvious ones that add to this boat’s appeal such as: pop-up cleats; more stainless drink holders than you can poke a stick at; super strong wakeboard racks; swim platform lights; pop-up bow light; LED-docking lights and the list goes on and on. You can even get custom-made carpet savers and seat heaters, if you wish to extend your boating season.

By American standards the boat is rated to carry 14 people, but I reckon that may be a bit ambitious. Ten passengers will pull her up if you want to go boating in comfort.

Great news

But here’s the really good news, you can park one of these beauties on a trailer in your driveway for around $84,000 (plus dealer delivery and on road costs). Even better news is that Malibu boats hold their value extremely well, so if you look after her you should get almost what you paid for her five years down the track.


Boat Specifications

Boat Engine

A Monsoon 340hp, 5.7lt, EFI-MPI V8, V-drive powers the Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV

Boat Performance


2500 : 15
3500 : 26
4000 : 36
4500 : 41
5300 : 46

Hull length : 23 feet
Beam : 102 inches
Draft  : 27 inches
Capacity : 14 people
Fuel  : 208 ltrs
Price : $84,021