So all Malibu has done for 2018 is take the all-time best-selling tow boat and make it better. The 23 LSV’s makeover starts with three more inches of freeboard, which enhances passenger safety and adds storage capacity. A new runway over the stern sunpad should keep passengers from stepping on the upholstery when they board from the swim platform, and a flip-down pad serves the same purpose during side boarding. The stern jump seats have been made larger, and extensive use of Soft Grip matting has softened many previously hard edges, such as the kick plates. For watching the ski show, the port and starboard benches have Chill Axe flip-up seatbacks, and there’s an option for a WakeView bench seat, which transforms the stern bench into a rear-facing seat for two.
Boat Test Video
The 23 LSV employs Malibu’s Integrated Surf Platform (ISP), which starts with the hull choice. Our test boat featured the Wake Plus Hull, the preferred hull if surfing and wakeboarding are the primary activities. The Diamond Multisport Hull adds slalom skiing to the mix. This year the stern has L-shaped ballast tanks that can hold more water; in addition, they can connect and interface with plug-and-play sacks, so the driver can monitor their state of fill from the helm. Surf Gate is one of the key elements of the ISP system, using vertical tabs to control the water flow and deliver a clean wave for surfing. The rider can switch sides in seconds using the Malibu Surf Band, which now controls the stereo’s volume too. The Power Wedge II simulates up to 1,500 pounds of ballast and allows the driver to tweak the size and shape of the wave.
At the helm, the 12-inch MaliView screen, optional Sport Dash Rotary Dial and Malibu Command Wheel give the driver total control of the boat’s systems and ballast. The max power for the 23 LSV is 450 hp and would be a good choice for hauling the maximum 15-passenger load, but our test boat proved the standard Indmar 6.2L 410 hp engine gets the job done. On plane in 2.8 seconds, it reached 25 mph in 8.2 seconds and achieved a top speed of 36.4 mph.
Time to Plane: 2.8 sec.
0-25 mph: 8.2 sec.
Peak: 36.4mph/5500 rpm/94 dBA
Cruise: 21.9 mph/4000 rpm/91 dBA