Help Me Choose A Boat - Mastercraft XT20 v Malibu 20 VTX

Guppy73Guppy73 Posts: 12 Baller
edited February 2017 in Boat Talk
Newbie to the forum and trying to decide on a boat…. I grew up slalom skiing 20’ outboards in salt water, but now live right next to a beautiful fresh water lake so I want to get an inboard. My daughter is 4 and I want to get her into water sports. We are looking for a ‘cross-over’ boat that is family and kid friendly that we can slalom ski recreationally, tube, wake board, and learn how to wake surf with. Need to stay with the 20’ models due to size restrictions. I am torn between the new Mastercraft XT20 Crossover and Malibu’s 20 VTX Crossover. Both boats as I spec'd them out come in with very close MSRP's... Any insight or advice would be greatly appreciated!


  • StejcraftbenStejcraftben Posts: 59 Baller
    The vtx you can get with the diamond hull so it will probably be better for slalom.
  • swc5150swc5150 Posts: 2,565 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I would agree the Bu should ski better. The MC bow is huge, if the extra space is of value to you? MC's bling factor, materials and fit and finish tend to be a notch above Bu. The best advice would be to test both out as you plan to use them.
    Scott Calderwood
  • unksskisunksskis Posts: 627 Crazy Baller
    edited February 2017
    Demo them both. If that isn't an option nearby, visit a place like Dallas, the dealers are right next to each other on a lake, and you could make your decision based on your experience.
  • unksskisunksskis Posts: 627 Crazy Baller
    edited February 2017
    I have to ask how many of those commenting to go with a VTX know about the XT20, as it just came out?

    I would add the Nautique GS20 and even Sport 200(obsoleted) in there, too.
  • swc5150swc5150 Posts: 2,565 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Good point. If you prioritize slalom, there are new some Sport 200's left.

    Isn't the XT20 the same hull as the NXT20? I've ridden in an NXT20, and the wake did not look slalom friendly.
    Scott Calderwood
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,890 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    You looking at current model year or used? I think most folks agree that the 2015 and older VTX is a better ski machine than the 2016 +, which was tweaked more in favor of surfing.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • bigskieridahobigskieridaho Posts: 944 Crazy Baller
    If you are looking new go demo for sure.
  • Guppy73Guppy73 Posts: 12 Baller
    Looking new. The new xt20 from MC is a different hull than the NXT which has been out for a couple years. I did check Nautique GS20 but hated the small seats and the tons of sea deck trim everywhere just waiting to be an issue down the road. Seems like everyone thinks the Bu will ski better. How about quality - seems like a lot more plastic in the Bu and MC finish a notch above. Thx for all comments so far - keep em coming. Will def try to demo both!
  • jjackkrashjjackkrash Posts: 1,040 Mega Baller
    edited February 2017
    There are conflicting reports on the Malibucrew about the new VTX for slalom; some saying the wake is not bad, while others saying it was really a step back for slalom with some speeds and line lengths having an "ankle-breaker" hard wake. Like others said, make sure to test for yourself and the speed at the speed and line lengths you ski.
  • pudgyskierpudgyskier Posts: 29 Baller
    My .02 cents worth….. We have a 2013 vtx that we use for weekend outings. 1/2 tank of fuel or less, bow tank 1/2 full, ( which makes it ride flatter, puts you in front of the "hump" at -22, -28 ) open water slalom is great. It also full-fills all the Teenage requirements for a great afternoon, ( surf wake, fits 9 people,tower speakers) That being said,
    I would highly recommend looking at a 2011-2014 Diamond Hull. Most people who have these use them very little ( low hours~ 130-240) compared to the average slalom boat, and you are looking at $30,000 savings over a new one…..
    No, we did not test a sport nautique or master craft, so I cannot make a comparison. After talking to a lot of people, skiing behind the VTX, and the price for a used one, we were sold.

    * Side Notes*
    The people we bought it from were buying a bigger surf boat, AND a 90's slalom boat.
    Their thoughts were the VTX could do it all, no complaints on the ski wake, but afternoon surf sessions turned into all the neighbor kids and adults coming along…..

    We still have our very used 196 for M-F buoy chasing.

    Pudgy Baller
  • Guppy73Guppy73 Posts: 12 Baller
    Found this video of the NEW xt20 running the course. What do you guys think???
  • natec_waterskinatec_waterski Posts: 2 Baller
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,890 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    GS20 looked nice at the boat show, but the walkway over the engine flexed like crazy with 180 lbs on it.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,826 Mega Baller
    edited February 2017
    Is a direct-drive completely out of the picture? Reason I ask is the 4 year old. If you have suspicion you'll be a slalom-first family, consider that there's not a v-drive on the planet that will make a wake that's not massive at speeds below 30 MPH. I regularly ski behind what's regarded as one of the best slalom V-drives ever in the '01-04 Malibu 21' Diamond hull, and it's pretty incredible at 32 MPH+ for a V, but below 30, the wake is just too big to really progress as a young, female slalom skier.
    boats are like girlfriends you love them however there is another one around the corner - bananaron, July 21, 2020
  • swc5150swc5150 Posts: 2,565 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Sorry, that wake looks terrifying, and I can only imagine how big it is at slow speeds for kids/wives. Obviously crossover boats need to sacrifice something, and in today's boats it's the slalom wake (which makes sense). If you want to buy new, and at all prioritize skiing, you really should test drive a new (non-current of course) SN200V.
    Scott Calderwood
  • Guppy73Guppy73 Posts: 12 Baller
    Some add'l great points - I didn't like the look of the GS20 with all that sea deck finish & found the seats smaller (more narrow). Really like the v-drive style vs dd for the open center deck and all the extra wrap around seating + pickle bow for room/space. The new MC xt20 really has a cool flip fwd rear bench. Hence why I think the DD is out. Great point @UWSkier about the slower speed 'learning wakes'. As she is so young not sure how'll she progress - I know she like the tube now and watching me ski. I would hope she'd ski 100% but imagine she'll follow the young crowd and get into wake boarding and surfing especially as I get into those as well in addition to still doing slalom. Hence why I was really leaning towards the crossover.
    Wife wants me to slow down - maybe hold off buying for a year till she is 5 and better physically developed for more water sports beyond the tube. Based on the notes so far I am scared of the new VTX hull so a late model '13-'15 BU VTX might be the best or the MC XT20. I really need to drive these in a couple months at all the speeds we'd use - like from 10mph for her trainer skis all the way to 32/34 for my slalom............... Appreciate all the advice - it does help and will make for good points to consider when I get a chance to drive some of these....

  • h2onhkh2onhk Posts: 355 Crazy Baller
    @guppy73 ... I can relate to your situation. My wife and I started with a 97 Malibu Sunsetter V-Drive as our first boat before kids. It was a decent slalom free skiing wake and we could wakeboard and surf behind it as well. We then moved into a 05 Mastercraft X2 that was great for wakeboarding but the slalom wake suffered. Then our first daughter was born. It was clear this boat was not the boat to teach a little one how to ski. The bow rise was very high and the wake wash was terrible at slow speeds. 2 more kids later we switched to a Malibu FXi crossover direct drive and had more success. We could run the course, wakeboard and surf, but the entry level wake was still pretty scary for a 6 yr old who was learning to slalom and cross the wake. And 4 yr old was just learning on trainers. My kids grew more interested in slalom and trick skiing the last couple years so we changed our Nautique 196. Best boat purchase we made so far. Fits our watersport needs which is the key. Finding a boat, new or used, that fits your needs and water lifestyle. Keeping in mind that you influence your kids and your kids will influence you on how your family enjoys the water!
  • tomme12tomme12 Posts: 4 Baller
    Im in the same boat (no pun intended).. I have 2005 SANTE and its a great family boat for the day on the lake with room for others. My kids were 4 and 5 when I got the boat and now 3 years later its not the right boat for us. I got the v drive boom and taught my kids how to ski on it and many other kids (pass the handle!) We moved to long line and they both ski on two skis behind the boat and love it.. except for the wake. Its massive even on empty tanks, no people in the boat. The wash on the tip they cant handle even at 17-19 mph. They are almost ready for more speed, but its tough. Now my youngest learned to slalom at 6 years old off the boom, then long line dropping and then deep up. (she is crazy). Im expecting more of the same this season.
    I have had (2) other nautiques both direct drives and loved them dearly. But with kids and friends and all the crap we need when we head out on the water... the V-drive makes sense. Just the skiing is not optimal for the kids. For me, I can barefoot behind it, slalom is nothing to write home about, but Im not running the course. if I do the course, its behind a hydrodyne outboard or DD.

    I have seriously looked at the Nautique 200v or Sport Nautique 200. While is no longer sold, some of the prices are coming down.
    The chin spray on some of these new boats i see on the videos is crazy for boom time. The GS20 shoots out as does the XT20.
    Not really in the market for a brand new boat, I cant fathom spending $100k on a boat
    I used to wakeboard, but it no longer really interest me. Wakeskating is a nice break and the new Slingshot looks alot of fun on rough days. Personally rather take a slalom run, barefoot run and then a nice cruise with friends and family. But still be able to have fun on the boom.

    Im still looking for a 200V, hopefully with the 409.. you know... for fun... ha. I also thought about the MC 14V, but heard mixed on this boat.

    So for the original poster.... its a pickle. But any boat with a boom is awesome for the kids and watersports. I got them small barefoot suits and they hang on the boom with a handle, spin around... getting them used to it and have FUN! and teaching them or other kids on the boom is the key. Without it, you need a decent beach and lots of help in the water and out.

    Great thread!
  • HortonHorton Posts: 31,533 Administrator
    It's tempting for me to make a rule against any discussions of V drives in this forum : )

    Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

    Connelly ★ DBSkis ★ Denali ★ Follow ★ Goode ★ GiveGo ★ HO Syndicate ★ MasterCraft

    Masterline ★ Performance Ski and Surf★ Reflex★ Radar★ Rodics OffCourse ★ Stokes


  • Guppy73Guppy73 Posts: 12 Baller
    @tomme12. Great story line. I am leaning towards a boom for starting off just so she's right next to me. Can't wait to demo both these boats to see wakes first hand as that's my fear - they'll just be too big in high teens for kiddos.
    To keep Horton happy, MC made that x14 in both a v& DD models! Best / biggest seating available for a family in either boat. Not a bad option - definitely worth considering and testing out maybe. So now we've included DD's!
    Just need two boats - one for skiing & one for cruising and other sports! Problem solved....
  • swc5150swc5150 Posts: 2,565 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @escmanaze Bravo!! I quoted from Caddy Shack (sort of) to my wife and daughter when buying our boat..."you'll get a Prostar, and like it!".
    Scott Calderwood
  • bigskieridahobigskieridaho Posts: 944 Crazy Baller
    We are skiers, but my wife loves surfing. My old direct drive surfed just fine, and my new response will surf even better with a wedge. Buy a direct drive and then build a surf gate or buy one. Problem solved.
  • escmanazeescmanaze Posts: 922 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @bigskieridaho It's one thing to tell the kids to go dig a ditch. It's a separate item to tell the wife that. It doesn't go over as well. What is your direct drive you are surfing now? please post some video of you surfing your new response as well as letting everybody know what your setup is. That could be very relevant to lots of guys in the world who don't want to give up their great slalom wakes.
  • escmanazeescmanaze Posts: 922 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Also @Guppy73 I would think twice before immediately buying into the seating concept of the V-drives. Definitely try it out first with roughly the number of people you plan to take because I have heard many people say that it all seems fine on paper looking at a bunch of conversational wrap-around seating and then it's a different story when you actually sit in there and a bunch of people are all sharing one little pot of legroom.

    I always put my feet up on the motorbox when I'm riding in the passenger seat of my boat and I do the same thing when I'm sitting in the back seat of the boat. The best part is that those two positions sitting like that aren't sitting there rubbing feet the whole time because there is enough distance between them.
  • Guppy73Guppy73 Posts: 12 Baller
    edited March 2017

    Good advice @escmanaze. Anyone out there been on Mastercraft's X14 - the direct drive version. They don't make it anymore, but it has the closest seating layout to current model v-drives in terms of being family friendly from what I can see.
  • bigskieridahobigskieridaho Posts: 944 Crazy Baller
    @escmanaze I will post some pics and video if I can and @horton doesn't yell at me. I have to wait until I go to the open water. Most of the time will be spent on the private lake for a while until it warms up. If anything I will PM you. @Guppy73 yes the X-14 would be a great boat, slalom wake not so much, but better than a V drive!
  • escmanazeescmanaze Posts: 922 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Oh just let @Horton yell. That guy acts like he owns the place sometimes. ;)
Sign In or Register to comment.