There are a handful of premium bass-boat brands at the apex of tournament fishing. Ranger has always been one of them. People were hand-wringing after it was acquired by White River Marine, the parent company of Johnny Morris’ Tracker Marine, but the acquisition broadened Ranger’s dealer network and expanded access to service, and the company continues to hand-build gorgeous, rugged, beautiful bass boats. The new Z520R is a perfect example.
Ranger aims for comfortable fishability with reliable, competitive performance. Our test rig, fitted with a Mercury 250 Pro XS, freight-trained over 12-inch chop and larger boat wakes at 68.4 mph while fully equipped with trolling-motor batteries, a full tank of fuel and two test drivers. It’s pretty frugal for its size, making 3.9 mpg at 40 mph. Handling was pure Ranger legacy—smooth at all speeds, easy in turns, and never a threat of chine walking at top-end. The 18-degree deadrise, multistrake padded V-hull gives a solid, secure feel, even in rough chop. It features a tilt helm with hydraulic SeaStar steering system.
The console is extra tall and wide to accommodate dual side-by-side 12-inch Lowrance HDS graphs plus the Ranger RIDE digital-switching screen just below and to starboard. The cockpit seating is plush, deep and wide. Between the seats is a dry-storage box with phone charger and key tray. The optional passenger console is removable and has a large glove box.
Our tester had a Lowrance HDS 12, with room to spare. The HDS graph works together with the Ghost trolling motor to navigate and control with better accuracy for angling. Ranger’s rod-storage systems with tip protectors and room for dozens of utility boxes is unsurpassed. Tons of dry storage is available, including compact compartments such as the cooler step forward and the glove box under the aft center step.
Twin livewells are amply aerated and recirculated to keep the catch healthy.
The full-beam bilge hatch gives generous access to batteries, pumps, breakers and a charger. A Slidemaster manual jack plate is fitted and has optional dual Power-Poles.
How We Tested
- Engine: Mercury 250 Pro XS FourStroke
- Drive/Prop: Outboard/Mercury Fury 14″ x 23″ 3-blade stainless steel
- Gear Ratio: 1.75:1 Fuel Load: 46 gal. Crew Weight: 500 lb.
- Tracker lithium batteries and charger are standard.
- Gelcoated storage lockers have a protective Ranger-logo mat.
- Forward casting deck is padded beneath plush carpet to reduce angler fatigue.
Pricing and Specs
|Price:||$98,030 (as tested)|
|Dry Weight:||1,850 lb.|
|Seat/Weight Capacity:||5/1,650 lb.|
|Fuel Capacity:||54 gal.|
|Livewell Capacity:||31 gal.|
Speed, Efficiency, Operation
Ranger Boats – Flippin, Arkansas; rangerboats.com