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2019 21VLX vs 2018 22VLX


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Hello Crew,

This is my first post and I am thinking of ordering a 2019 21VLX or possibly buying a 2018 22VLX at my local dealers. Just a little background, I have a family of 3 (possibly expanding in the near future) with 2 dogs. We plan on wakesurfing, wakeboarding, tubing, etc. I really like the 21VLX and its price point but my only concern is the size. I know it says it can fit up to 13 people, but it really looks like it can fit 8 comfortably. Just want to make sure it can accomodate family/friends, so any input on that would be great. Also, some dealers have a couple of 2018 22VLX's priced at $94,499. Is going with the 22VLX and that extra foot worth the roughly $10K price difference over the 21VLX? If I were to order a boat, how long does it usually take from the time of order to delivery?

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2 hours ago, hethj7 said:

The 22VLX has a wider beam too, so it will fill much larger than the 21VLX  raises just the foot of extra length, just FYI


Some autocorrect there, but this is very true.  That beam difference is key!  Feels much larger inside and fits more people comfortably.  The wider boat will also displace more water for better wake/waves.  The new seat is awesome, and I'm not sure of all the motor changes for 2019, but if I were in your shoes, if I liked the colors on the leftover 22 I'd lean that way for sure.  Should be able to swing around 25% or better off sticker this time of year!

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That is a tough choice for sure. The 21 VLX is a great boat. I drove one for the Malibu Riders Experience last year and was very impressed overall with the boat. Yes, the interior wasn't quite as plush as the rest of the Malibu lineup but it was still very comfortable with good storage. We had 5 adults in it and it didn't feel cramped at all. I think @inlandlaker went out with a bigger crew later in the day, maybe he can comment on the space.

There are quite a few nice new things in 2019: New seat as you mentioned, new vinyl and foam - it is extremely nice and way better than the previous few years IMO, PWIII with integrated surf pipe - much better surf pipe design and the wedge is bigger with more optimized set points, new colors, and back to the GM block engine. We have the 6.0 Crusader Challenger 409 Monsoon. Same as Axis has been using for the past few years, and its basically a PCM engine, just a different branch in the company. It is STOUT, great performance and fuel usage. It is quieter than the Raptors and IMO is easier to service as it takes up less space in the engine compartment. The new Malibu M5DI & M6DI are supposed to be even better, I haven't been in a boat with them yet though. Depending on the build date will determine what engine you get the Crusader line, or the Malibu engines. They are implementing the Malibu engines in the line up through out 2019 and 2020. Your dealer can better answer that question. Both engines are a better option then the Raptor in my opinion.

As far as timing, it is all based on your spray date which your dealer locks in for you. That could be in a month from you finalizing your order with the dealer or a few months, depends on availability and when you guys want it to build. From the spray date the boat builds in 6-8 days or so. Then shipping takes probably a week to California? Not sure on that. Then the dealer typically wants to go through the whole boat and water test it just to make sure everything is still good after the road trip. 

That all said, the 22 VLX is a GREAT boat. I still really like that generation. And yes, it will be a bit bigger. But I don't think if you feel a crew of 8ish feels cramped in the 21 VLX that it won't feel cramped in the 22 VLX. Like I said above that I prefer the GM engines, that doesn't mean that the Raptor won't perform well in that boat, it will and has for years. Then you obviously have no wait, but you don't get to design your own boat which is VERY fun!

Is it possible for you to demo a 21 VLX and 22 VLX back to back? That will probably answer 99% of your questions. If not, we can try to help as much as possible! Good luck!!

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Here's a pic of my 2010 VLX with 9 people, size will be pretty comparable to the 21 VLX.  If I rolled with this many people in my boat regularly, I would want the 25' boat. The few times a year it happens, I can manage it but it is crowded. You have to consolidate gear and icechests before going out.


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I agree. I can’t speak for the 22 VLX but 9 people got comfortably on our 2018 21 VLX; I had it loaded all summer with kids, adults, gear, etc. Getting boards in the racks and in the Bimini helps...but 3 kids easily fit in the bow and there is tons of storage space on that boat - even with plug n play installed and active. With 9 people on the boat there would be no real reason to fill the PnP in my opinion anyway...tons of space in the rear for whatever.

We can do it all in the VLX...I likely will only ever upgrade to the same model (21 footer).

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1 hour ago, inlandlaker said:

We had 8 in the 21 VLX. It was pretty full.  I would feel cramped if it was a full day with 8 on board.  I have no reference to the 22 though.

Small boats 20-21 feel best with about 4 or 5 tops and if no one is in bow or riding on sunpad even that feels cramped and lord help you when you start moving lead around and they all need to stand up and get out of the way 

If you want eight to be comfortable I’d go with a T23 new duded out for same price or a lot less or a used 23lsv

eight is a lot !

Edited by granddaddy55
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I had a 17VLX (Same Boat as the ‘19).  8 is about the max I would want in the boat for a full day on the water.  I had 12 a few times, but they was when houseboating and we were not spending the entire day on the water with that many.  If you plan to regularly have another family, plus your two dogs, I’d recommend going bigger.  

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 "Then you obviously have no wait, but you don't get to design your own boat which is VERY fun!"

Designing a boat is fun, but we went radical on the interior colors and are a little nervous of the outcome. :rockon:

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Only thing that drove me to a 20 foot rig was cost and storage 

now for slalom that’s another reason for the vtx and small but a small boat that doesn’t slalom well or fit all desired better be a budget boat

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If interior space is one of your primary decision criteria then I suggest you try a test similar to what we did at the boat show in 2017.    I was down to the 20VTX, 21VLX, and the 22VLX.   I wanted a primarily surfing, and skiing (free slalom).   I expected crews of 6+ regularly.     The 20VTX was probably the best crossover (center pylon), the 21VLX was the most attractive price point,  The 22VLX was CLEARLY the biggest (Beam width was everything).   

So we recruited 6 people from the show floor, and got into all three boats, in the main cabin (no one in the bow),  The difference with the wide beam was startling.   You really would not think 4" would amount to much, but the interior felt MUCH more spacious - allowing crew to move around MUCH more freely, and felt like a lot more storage as well.  We decided to compromise on the slalom skiing capability for more space, and a better surf wave. 

For us, in retrospect, it was clearly the right decision.   We often are out with crew of 8 or more (max so far was 13, and even didn't feel overcrowded as long as gear was stowed.  A crew of 8 is very comfortable, and what we have learned over time is that our surf wave REALLY gets good with a crew that size or more.   So now I actively TRY to get fairly large crews... which I think would feel a lot more crowded in a narrow beam boat. 

The consequence is that the slalom wave is not as desirable.   It is skiiable, but I would not want to run a course with it - but in practical reality, Im too old and too fat to do that anyway.   I have become more and more of a surf guy, as has all of my crew.   I often do not even bother to load the ski, or a wakeboard for most outings - nobody uses them.

Your own experience may be different, but thought I would share ours...

Edited by JeffC
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I had my 21 VLX for the entire summer.  We logged about 80 hrs.  Great boat, can't complain at all about the performance.  But, with our family of four (four yr old and six yr old), and another family of five (all kids under six) - the boat is cramped.  That's in storage, board racks as well as seating.  Plus, the 21' will ride a bit rougher in the chop if you are on a big lake vs a bigger boat.  That said, the smaller 21' surfed better than my buddies (family of five) 22NXT so we tended to surf the VLX more often.

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I’m in a similar position as the OP right now.  Looking at 22 and 21 VLX so we can surf and the kids can wakeboard.  My RLXI is no longer good enough for our oldest to board behind and the S.O. And I enjoy surfing.  


After surfing the 21VLX, I left impressed by its ability for a 21.  It’s a great boat.  However after having been in a 22, I can’t say I’d be interested in the 21.  As stated, the additional 4” in width plus the additional 10” in length is remarkable.  With my family of 6 and a couple friends, even the 22 will be cramped.  Fortunately we have a 28’ double decker pontoon too.  

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