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UWSkier

Observations from a window shopper

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UWSkier

I've been debating whether or not I want to post this for a few days, but decided to go ahead with it... This isn't TMC after all... :)

Has anyone else felt lately like Malibu is getting further and further away from feeling like a premium boat manufacturer? When we brought our boat in on Friday, my dad and I spent about an hour and a half sitting in and checking out the '06 floor models at our dealership, and we both left feeling like our '01 was a much much nicer boat than anything they had available for '06. This is based purely on feel, not on actual knowledge of the product. I know that the electronics are all way better in the newer ones. I know the carpet is more plush. I know the vinyl is thicker and less prone to tearing and staining. I know the paddlewheel pickup is far superior to our old pitots. I know the drip molded decals are better than the old vinyl decals of '01 and previous years. I know the new Monsoon makes more power than ours. I know the post-less windshield looks better. I know the Gorilla fins improve the V drive experience.

That said, aside from the RLXi, sitting in the newer models just doesn't give you that luxury-car-like feeling the older models used to exude. Across the entire model line, rear seatback angles are way too upright and provide no lumbar support at all, especially in the Sunsetter LXi (which we now know is dead). The vinyl, while thicker, has a texture that feels less appealing than the older, smoother stuff, and it doesn't shine like the old stuff. Seat foam in the bases felt thinner, as I could feel my butt against plastic, something I never feel on the '01. Jumping from boat to boat showed a large inconsistency in the thickness of the flip-up bolster portion of the seat. Some seats were fairly comfy, others were downright unpleasant to sit in. None were close to as comfortable as the old one-piece base. In every boat I sat in, the dash was not level. The speedometer was lower than the tach on every boat, and on half of them, the seam stitching along the top of the dash was uneven. The chrome bezel in place of the old charcoal vinyl gauge surround looks gaudy, whereas the old dash, especially with the gold gauge bezels, looked remarkably classy for a watersports boat. On every model except the RLXi, the armrest was too far away from the seat to be comfortable, and at 6'5", I have long arms. I'd imagine the armrest is useless for shorter individuals. I had some time to play with the power wedge too. I hit the switch expecting a nice smooth sound like you get out of the power trim system on an outboard. Instead I was greeted with a loud mechanical rattly grinding sound. Not really what I expected.

Appearance-wise, the new boats look big and swoopy, with gaudy graphics. The lines and color schemes of the new models make our 21' V drive Sunsetter VLX look like a sleek sexy classic slalom rig in a world of wally boats... and the VLX is already a pretty big boat. The 21LSV that replaced it absolutely dwarfs it. The above-the-rubrail treatment looks IMO too big and bubbly on the 21' and larger boats. Too much glass above the rail.

We do plan on taking a good hard look at the new 20LSV when it comes out, but with the dorky new windshield, and judging from some of the interior and paint scheme pics I've seen, I doubt there will be one on our lift in '07. Maybe it's just because the '01 feels like an old comfortable shoe, or maybe it's that minimalist, conservative, classic slalom boat junky in me... but there's nothing on the market currently from any MFR that would get us out of it... They're charging more and more for boats that feel less and less like the premium products they claim to be.

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Well said. I feel like the boat manufacturers are targeting a different market. I think the wakeboard market has had a big influence on that relative to style and graphics. I agree with most of the comments I have seen on this site that the 03-06 RLXi hit the mark balancing those clean lines with top marks for fit and finish. After seeing the new RLXi, I will not be buying a new one any time soon. My more conservative tastes would force me to MC or SN. I think the 197 and 196 are holding true to the look and style I prefer.

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GoldschlagerVT

Few comments in response.

Maybe it is because I come from a much older boat, but when we got our new Malibu this year, we compared the feel of riding in it, driving it, the look of the interior, to my dad's brand new Audi A6 Sport. It felt like a sports car on water to us. It drives better than any of the other brands we've been around. It was just nice. I do agree with you in the rear of the LXI, it is too straight up and down, and it should have a solid seat across the bottom instead of the 3 pieces, but that is due to them adding the cooler.

The wedge made a griding noise with you? The power wedge on our boat, when we run it, you really can't even tell. I can hear it a little bit if I'm in the water, but that's it. How were you getting it to run in the store?

About the Graphics. We got our boat with just the simply malibu in the back corner. that's it on the side. But others want more. They put those big graphics on the side of the boat because that's what people want. Any of the other brands are doing almost the same thing. The only brand that I've seen get away from that is Mastercraft with their new style (Which I really like btw).

The one thing about there being a lot of glass above the rubrail. That's the way the boats are going nowadays. If you want a boat that you can put a few thousand in ballast in, drive it around, and not easily swamp it, that's needed. I hear people talking on here that you need to drive some of the boats carefully as to not take water over the side when doing stuff like surfing. And that's with the high walls.

The one complaint about the RLXI that I've heard is that it's very easy to take water on. Any of the older bu's, same thing. They're fixing this, and thus, putting higher walls on the boats.

As for your observations about the finishing touches (stiching.. etc.) You may be correct. I haven't noticed anything bad on our Bu', but if you are noticing stuff like that, Malibu needs to fix that ASAP before they get a bad reputation because of it.

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Tom Sawyer

I do have to disagree with you on the vinyl Matt. The vinyl in my 05 Rxi feels much more durable than the vinyl in my 01 Rlx which IMHO, is a good thing. Especially when you have to step on it over and over as is the case in the Rlx.

It's amazing how fast things can change...IIRC in 1998 (just 8 yrs ago) the largest boat in the line up was the Slxi and the Rlx was pulling the wakeboard event at the Malibu Open. Where things will be 10 years from now is anybody's guess.

Edited by Tom Sawyer

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Jimmy Buffett

I tend to agree with UWSkier. I think they hit a sweet spot with my 01 SLXi and nothing since then has made me feel the need to switch (especially considering the price increases).

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UWSkier
The vinyl in my 05 Rxi feels much more durable than the vinyl in my 01 Rlx which IMHO, is a good thing. Especially when you have to step on it over and over as is the case in the Rlx.

Durable, yeah. I don't think it looks or feels as nice though. Personal preference I guess.

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RTS
Where things will be 10 years from now is anybody's guess.

The boats are getting so much bigger, by that time the entire Malibu lineup may be twin engine models. But that's what people are buying, and paying top dollar for, so that's where the boats are heading.

I suspect in 10 years if you really want a good family slalom boat, you'll be buying it from a company that doesn't exist right now, but will form in the next few years to fill the void left by the current manufacturers.

I see an engine swap and some new vinyl in my '02 SLXi's future, it becomes more valuable to me every year. I can't believe I was able to get that boat from the dealer for just over $30K just a couple years ago.

As for the current state of Malibus quality, I see the new boats at the boat show, and they look great to me. I like some of the new stuff (dash, etc) and could do without other stuff.

But the bottom line is the new boats are not a 'quantum leap' ahead of mine, but that may not be too bad considering mines only a few years old.

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Tom Sawyer

Where things will be 10 years from now is anybody's guess.

The boats are getting so much bigger, by that time the entire Malibu lineup may be twin engine models. But that's what people are buying, and paying top dollar for, so that's where the boats are heading.

I suspect in 10 years if you really want a good family slalom boat, you'll be buying it from a company that doesn't exist right now, but will form in the next few years to fill the void left by the current manufacturers.

My thoughts exactly.

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UWSkier
The wedge made a griding noise with you? The power wedge on our boat, when we run it, you really can't even tell. I can hear it a little bit if I'm in the water, but that's it. How were you getting it to run in the store?

All the boats in the store had keys in them and fully charged batteries. Crazy.gif I didn't play with it on all the boats. Just one on the RLXi they had sitting there. Maybe that one was just defective. I know it made quite a racket when it hit the switch, so I didn't touch it on any of the other models. :)

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mrothwell

While I'm not overly fond of the new gel scheme of the 07's, every 05 or 06 Bu I've been in was sooooo much nicer than my 99, and better than my buddies 03. Many people are complaining about the windshield on the new boats, but the postless windshield had such bad distortion, that a post would have been better. I haven't been in an 07 yet, but the pix I've seen, I dont mind the windshield. And, I think with the right colors, the gel pattern would be OK too. Still not as sexy as my 97 Echelon, but nothing is.

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Madmanacrossthewater

Spend some time in the other boats at a show, and I doubt you still feel they have lost that "touch". There's alot more to it, than just sitting in an '06 at a dealer.

I feel the same way about the 1991 LeSabre I drive to work. I would love a brand new car to drive to work, but financially it makes non sense. It runs as good (mabey better than some) as a new car, is as comfortable, reliable, etc. But when I look closely at a new Buick, I see where the new Buicks set themselves apart from a '91. but my mind tells me a new one is a waste of money. The reality is that the new Buick is far superior in many ways. Technology being the biggie. But my '91 has been paid for since '93, and it makes me money everytime I hit the key. I just turned 158,000 and it runs like a top. I would like a new work car, but I don't necessarily want one.

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Mike00LXI
Spend some time in the other boats at a show, and I doubt you still feel they have lost that "touch". There's alot more to it, than just sitting in an '06 at a dealer.

I feel the same way about the 1991 LeSabre I drive to work. I would love a brand new car to drive to work, but financially it makes non sense. It runs as good (mabey better than some) as a new car, is as comfortable, reliable, etc. But when I look closely at a new Buick, I see where the new Buicks set themselves apart from a '91. but my mind tells me a new one is a waste of money. The reality is that the new Buick is far superior in many ways. Technology being the biggie. But my '91 has been paid for since '93, and it makes me money everytime I hit the key. I just turned 158,000 and it runs like a top. I would like a new work car, but I don't necessarily want one.

They still make Buicks??? Shocking.gif

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tgaugh

thought they were dropped.

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Tom Sawyer

No..it was Oldsmobile.

Buick

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Malibudude
I tend to agree with UWSkier. I think they hit a sweet spot with my 01 SLXi and nothing since then has made me feel the need to switch (especially considering the price increases).

Amen brother!!

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Mike00LXI
No..it was Oldsmobile.

Buick

Dang it, I can't access your link. It says I have to be over 55 years old in order to view the website. ROFL.gif

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Madmanacrossthewater

Spend some time in the other boats at a show, and I doubt you still feel they have lost that "touch". There's alot more to it, than just sitting in an '06 at a dealer.

I feel the same way about the 1991 LeSabre I drive to work. I would love a brand new car to drive to work, but financially it makes non sense. It runs as good (mabey better than some) as a new car, is as comfortable, reliable, etc. But when I look closely at a new Buick, I see where the new Buicks set themselves apart from a '91. but my mind tells me a new one is a waste of money. The reality is that the new Buick is far superior in many ways. Technology being the biggie. But my '91 has been paid for since '93, and it makes me money everytime I hit the key. I just turned 158,000 and it runs like a top. I would like a new work car, but I don't necessarily want one.

They still make Buicks??? Shocking.gif

Yeah, and I still drive "Your Father's Buick".

ROFL.gif

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jayjoans

I tend to agree with UWSkier. I think they hit a sweet spot with my 01 SLXi and nothing since then has made me feel the need to switch (especially considering the price increases).

Amen brother!!

Can I get a Hallelujah here!

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Mike00LXI

I tend to agree with UWSkier. I think they hit a sweet spot with my 01 SLXi and nothing since then has made me feel the need to switch (especially considering the price increases).

Amen brother!!

Can I get a Hallelujah here!

Actually, I think it peaked with the 2000 Sunsetter LXI Tongue.gif

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GoldschlagerVT

The wedge made a griding noise with you? The power wedge on our boat, when we run it, you really can't even tell. I can hear it a little bit if I'm in the water, but that's it. How were you getting it to run in the store?

All the boats in the store had keys in them and fully charged batteries. Crazy.gif I didn't play with it on all the boats. Just one on the RLXi they had sitting there. Maybe that one was just defective. I know it made quite a racket when it hit the switch, so I didn't touch it on any of the other models. :)

Hmm.. interesting. Wasn't it just a few months ago that we were discussing on here that the wedge wouldn't work unless you had the boat moving (and the speedometer going). Or is that just it won't go back up?

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JeffK

The wedge made a griding noise with you? The power wedge on our boat, when we run it, you really can't even tell. I can hear it a little bit if I'm in the water, but that's it. How were you getting it to run in the store?

All the boats in the store had keys in them and fully charged batteries. Crazy.gif I didn't play with it on all the boats. Just one on the RLXi they had sitting there. Maybe that one was just defective. I know it made quite a racket when it hit the switch, so I didn't touch it on any of the other models. :)

Hmm.. interesting. Wasn't it just a few months ago that we were discussing on here that the wedge wouldn't work unless you had the boat moving (and the speedometer going). Or is that just it won't go back up?

Okay... To clear up a couple things. The wedge will go down sitting still, but the paddlewheel must show speed to return to the "up" position. It will seem a little noisy out of water, but it can barely be heard while you are in the water with the engine running. And unless you want to leave it down or are okay laying on the ground spinning the paddlewheel, I wouldn't put it down while on the trailer.

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RTS

So there's gonna be a lot of dealers at boat shows on their backs spinning the paddlewheel to get the power wedge back up after someone playing with the switches in the boat puts it down...

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JeffK

Not necessarily. There are multiple ways around it. For instance....I took an old paddlewheel, built a stand for it and put a small 12v motor with a variable resistor inline to spin the paddlewheel for me. Not really practical for the person who accidentally drops the wedge once or twice, but great for a boat show.

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krakdaddie
So there's gonna be a lot of dealers at boat shows on their backs spinning the paddlewheel to get the power wedge back up after someone playing with the switches in the boat puts it down...

and they can charge extra admission to their boths if they pick the right personel for the job ;)

-krak

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JeffK

Well, I'm in negotiations with Jessica Alba for the week. She may be too expensive, so all wedge demonstrations will be on Saturday and Sunday this year.

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