Following the rollout of Tigé’s RZX last year is a 22-foot version that will surprise you.
Last year Tigé blew us away with a new flagship. Called the RZX, now known as the RZX3, it has a new baby bro called the RZX2, a 22-footer that’s ready for any watersport and is loaded with standard features.
Some companies offer ski boats with a low MSRP, but often it’s an unrealistic price. After all, who would buy a wake/surf boat without a tower, ballast or a stereo? That’s not going to be an issue with the Tigé RZX2. For an MSRP of $114,521, the builder didn’t just do the least it could do. For example, electronically actuated towers are usually five-figure wow-factor options, but the Alpha E2 tower with swiveling board racks is standard and lowers to near windshield height with the push of a button.
No one buys a watersports boat without a stereo, but often it’s an option. Tigé gets buyers off to a great start with an ICE Power Premium Bluetooth stereo. The brand is obscure, but it’s a high-end subsidiary of Bang & Olufsen, one of the most prestigious names in audio equipment. Paired with six REV 8 Wet Sounds speakers and a subwoofer, it’s a jammin’ system.
Another impressive standard on this boat is the Clear User Experience touchscreen display. It’s a whopping 10.4 inches tall and is presented in an unusual vertical orientation, which allows it to be in-dash mounted rather than above the dash where it can interfere with a driver’s forward field of vision. On a single screen, the driver can control virtually every system on the boat, from ballast to wake settings and skier preferences, and from standard Zero Off cruise control to stereo parameters. And instead of tiny touchscreen targets that can be hard to hit on a moving boat, functions fill the screen when selected. The driver can watch the show, too, thanks to a standard tower-mounted RearView camera, which is great for documenting awesome moves or for monitoring skiers.
A few years ago, Tigé switched to the Ford-based Raptor series 6.2L motors by Indmar. The reliable powerplants are torque monsters that are ideal for pushing heavy loads. Our test RZX2 had the optional Raptor 440 version, whose number refers to its torque rating, not the 400 horses it possesses. It’s a $6,667 upcharge over the standard Raptor 400, which has 350 hp, according to California Air Resources Board test info. The engines are identical except for different software in their respective ECU computer brain. The good news is both engines have the same everything as the monster Raptor 575, except for an intercooled supercharger that gives it a whopping 530 hp with a stump-pulling 575 pound-feet of torque. The 575, like the other models, comes with a five-year warranty, which implies the lower horsepower versions are, relatively speaking, overbuilt for their power ratings. It comes at a pretty steep $20,000 bump over the standard 400 but in certain situations makes sense.
The Raptor 440 is a good match for this stout 5,600-pound boat with the patented Convex-V Hull, which is built to plow up a wake organically before loading it with ballast. Its time to plane was 3.8 seconds with surprisingly little bowrise. Its time to 25 mph was seven seconds flat, and the GPS-based speedometer peaked at 37 mph, which indicates it was propped for surfing.
I liked the way the Z-Cline captain’s chair felt on my back. It had a bit of a faux headrest, but at the bottom it was flush with the seatback and angled slowly, so it didn’t jab me. Something I couldn’t help but notice was a new innovation called the Smart Wheel, which Tigé offers as a $963 option. Taking a cue from automotive design, it gives the driver a control panel right at his fingertips that allows him to interface with the Clear User Experience to control the surf wake’s direction, the boat’s speed, the stereo, the camera and the TAPS 3 system. The interface doesn’t spin with the wheel, so the driver doesn’t have to hit a moving target to make changes.
The RZX2 is an easy boat to drive. At surf speeds — the best is around 11.5 mph — the driver doesn’t need to heel it over more than five degrees, and it holds its line well. Thanks to the tracking fins it really hooks up nicely during hard turns with moderate lean-in. High gunwales give passengers a secure feeling, especially up front.
Although the Tigé RZX2 is touted as a crossover boat, which sometimes can create a master-of-none situation, it really excels at wakesurfing and wakeboarding. Last year, the TAPS 3 system was unveiled. Built to deliver total control of the surf wake, it consists of three tabs that work together to shape and set the RZX2’s Convex V hull to list at the perfect angle, which drivers can verify on the onboard inclinometer. The center tab controls the running angle of the boat much like the trim on a sterndrive boat, and the two outer tabs control the boat’s list, making it simple to evenly weight the boat and switch sides in just less than three seconds. The TAPS 3 system also induces the hull to yaw slightly (think of an airplane crabbing to make a crosswind landing) to further help create and shape the wave. The surfer can use a Surf Link remote control to tweak the wave and control the switchover. One thing observers will notice right off the bat is how long the wave is. A boat owner can’t make a great wave without ballast, and the RZX2 has the Surf + Wake XL system, which provides four underdeck ballast tanks that total 3,000 pounds and is standard.
During our test, we went through various rpm ranges with zero ballast to log speed and sound levels, and just before it reached 3500 rpm and 22.6 mph, I looked back to notice it was already producing a well-formed mini-wakeboard wake. So it was no great surprise when we filled the tanks and checked out the crisp pair of launching ramps trailing behind. After dumping the ballast, which took longer than I’d hoped, I took it up to 32 mph to see how flat the wake would get for slalom skiing. Frankly, slaloming is the weak link of its watersports prowess — the wake still had a bit of lump out back. Putting the center TAPS tab down helped, so long-line cruising and slashing are certainly doable.
The off-the-rack RZX2 comes so well-equipped only a few options are needed. One of the best features of this and other Tigé boats is the seating, with different textures and diamond stitching. The pickle-fork bow is roomy and has great recliner seats, and the center is filled in with a cushion. The entire cockpit is ringed with seating, and to port is a standard Transform Seat, which has a flip-up backrest, to add a rear-facing recliner. Good additions would be a companion starboard-side Transform Seat ($519) and a reversible stern lounger for facing aft ($2,926). A dual heating system is available ($1,741), but Tigé offers a single with three vents and two hoses ($852) that’s well worth it. Surprisingly, the lake-temperature shower is an option ($481). There are numerous upgrades available for the stereo. The only really big decision is the engine, and short of always having the boat full of passengers, the standard 350 hp Raptor 400 will get the job done.