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2020 or 2021 21 MLX


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Looking for our first boat ever. We have a small crew (2 adults 2 young kids) and a small budget, trying to stay close to 100k (which sounds crazy that, thats  a small budget for a boat to us). Wake surfing and chillin will be most of our use. We like the overall look and the name of the Malibu over the Axis but will we be happy with the wake on a small, “budget” boat? Or do we need to wait a year or two and save a bigger deposit for a bigger nicer boat? Any thoughts on the 21 MLX


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First off, welcome!   2 adults and 2 kids will turn quickly into having another family out and ultimately the 21MLX may feel cramped.   The thing I don't like about the MLX is the narrower beam.    I think you'll be happy with the wake - I haven't ridden that model, but I do trust Malibu to put out a nice wake/wave across the lineup.   However, if I had a $100K budget in your shoes, I'd probably be looking hard at a used 23LSV.    You certainly won't be disappointed in the performance and it will give a little room to stretch out as you invite other friends out.   If you can, go crawl around both a 21MLX and then something larger and see what you think.   Will you be trailering normally?  Got any garage/storage considerations?  Tow vehicle?  

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Thanks. Trailering and garage are not an issue. I have looked a little at the used market and it seems to me really close to buying new right now and I’m nervous of a boat with lots of hours. I don’t even really know what a lot of hours is. There is a 17’ 22 mxz that looks pretty sweet with 175 hours,  close to me that I was going to check out but everything else with under 200 hours are over 125k. 

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@hethj7 has a great point.  The 21VLX and MLX are price point boats.  They perform relatively well, too.  Another thing to consider, and it seems nominal, but the 22' boats and up are 4" wider.  That makes a tremendous difference in the actual and perceived interior space.  I was surprised at how much bigger my '17 22VLX feels compared to the 21.  Most of that has to do with the width.  It's surprising.  

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@RodePC Malibu started 5 year warranties in 2016 so if you buy a used 2017, 2018, etc you can transfer the warranty for a few more years for peace of mind.  FYI - That is probably a $1-2K process so budget for it or make it part of any used deal.  

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Along the same lines as RodePC - this is my first new boat purchase.  However replacing my in-laws 21 ft 1990 sea ray.

I have  3 kids but I am restricted by a 24' slip and can't hang out much (no lifts allowed) as I am at a T on the pier.  Looking at VLX and MLX  both at 23' all in should work.   It seems that there are more pre-owned boats in the 22-23 range but just not an option.  Also considering a sterndrive boat options - not sure if I want to admit on this forum but really searching for what makes sense. 

With all that, I am interested if the wake of the VLX and MXZ will suffice or if I should look at other options for pier/slip to get into wake surfing? 


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We started with a 2017 VLX for a family of four as our first boat (after taking a break for ~5 yrs).  It was great, but we quickly realized it was small, and we needed more room if we were going to take anyone else out with us.  The VLX / MLX out surfed many of the other boats in the same price point from other brands.  We were very happy with it.

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