personally, i do think the XLV is the best value around as far as new boats. a friend of mine sells them, and i've been in & behind one a few times, but i really have no motivation to start making boat payments again.
your ballast sounds sweet, i'm actually planning on switching from Simers back to an aerator system this winter in hopes of getting times, noise, and amp draws down.
my vinyl is splitting in the same place on the rear & observer seat. (96 was not wraparound style) also, i have a small patch of dark blue in the middle of the rear deck that is totally deteriorated. everything else still looks really good.
the 1-piece rear deck is probably the only thing about my boat i really dislike. i hate that stupid slow power lift, and have considered changing it to a 3-piece many times. i always end up deciding it's just more work than it's worth.