Ranger has replaced the Z521 which we have tested with the new Z521C, but both boats were designed to handle a 250-outboard, so our test data for the old model should still be relevant for the new model. The Ranger Z521C Comanche was designed to bring a pro level bass boat to the masses, and Ranger outfitted this boat with virtually everything needed to compete on that level. During our test we recorded a top speed of 75.1 mph with the 250 OptiMax Pro XS outboard.
Removable navigation lights
Recirculating aerated livewell with divider, pump out and Venturi Air
Carpeted deck step with storage
Custom color package
Molded-in driver and passenger footrests
Insulated cooler with gel-coat liner and drain
Trailer with aluminum wheels and matching spare tire/wheel
Ranger Boats Z521 Comanche (2013-) Specifications
21' 3'' 6.5 m
1,900 lbs. 862 kg
95'' 2.4 m
2,969 lbs. 1,347 kg
(2) 24 gal. (2) 91 L
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.
We tested the Ranger Z521 Comanche with a Mercury OptiMax 250-hp Pro XS. Ranger has discontinued this model and has replaced it with the new Z521C.
Both the now replaced Ranger Z521 Comanche and the new version, the Z521C, were designed to bring a pro level bass boat to a wide audience, but Ranger outfits this boat with virtually everything needed to compete on a pro level.
Caveat: The descriptions below are for the Z521 and may be different on its replacement, the Z521C.
The trailer comes with aluminum wheels with a matching spare, a swim-away tongue, surge brakes, LED lighting, and a Road Armor finish.
Distinguishing Features of the Z521
●250-hp Rating and Sea Star Hydraulic Steering. The engine delivered a speed of over 75 mph. The Sea Star hydraulic steering provides the ability of being able to add quick responses to the steering, allowing more controllability, especially when crossing wakes or light chop.
●More Useable Storage. Storage is seemingly everywhere and this boat has among the most of any boat in class. This allows more gear to be brought onboard without creating clutter. There’s a place for everything and everything in its place. The design also includes a built-in cooler. Rod storage can accommodate length from 6’6” (1.98m) to 8’ (2.45m).
●Full Instrumentation and Electronics. Here’s an area where it’s easy to cut back, but thanks to SmartCraft technology, we can even select a readout for water pressure. Standard electronics include a Lowrance HDS 7 GPS fishfinder at the helm and an HDS 5 at the bow. Of course it’s all connected with a single master power switch.
●Available in 8 Color Packages. All with seats, carpet, and hull color matched.
Flip-up cleats are essential on any bass boat to eliminate snags. While these are small, this is a boat that spends it’s life either running or on the trailer, so short tie-ups at the gas dock are all they’re needed for.
With a taller console there is more protection from the elements and room for larger electronics.
The Ranger Z521 that we tested had an empty weight of 1,900 lbs. (862 kg). With full fuel, two people and the 505 lb. (229 kg) engine we had a test weight of 2,969 lbs (1,347 kg).
With a Mercury OptiMax 250 Pro XS 2-stroke outboard turning a 14 x 25 three blade stainless steel Fury propeller with 12 mm vent plugs we reached a top speed at 5800 RPM of 75.1 mph. At that speed the 250 Pro XS was burning 22.8 GPH giving the Z521 a range of 71 miles.
Our test boat was fitted with the Pro XS version of the 250 OptiMax.
12 mm vent plugs in the Fury propeller allow the prop to spin up to speed earlier, giving quicker hole shots.
Best cruise came in at 3000 rpm and 30.5 mph. That speed reduced the fuel burn to 6.2 GPH giving us a range of 106 miles and an endurance of 3 hours and 30 minutes while still maintaining a 10% reserve.
She comes out of the hole quickly and exhibits only a 10-degree bow rise before coming on plane. We had a time to plane of 6 seconds, reached 20 mph in 8.5 seconds, 30 in 10.3 seconds, 40 in 12.6 seconds, and continued accelerating through 50 mph in 15.6 seconds.
Here at 50 mph it can easily be seen how the Z521 stays in the water more, giving that softer ride.
The 250 OptiMax had an impressive mid-range acceleration. Once that throttle is advanced things get fast in short order.
Ranger includes a jackplate as standard equipment, 10” (25.4 cm) for OptiMax and 6” (15.24 cm) for Verado installations.
The storage capabilities of the Z521 were among the highest in class.
Bow and Storage on the Z521
Caveat: The descriptions below are for the Z521 and may be different on its replacement, the Z521C.
The forward deck measures 6'4" by 5'1", and without a doubt, there’s more storage in this boat than in nearly any big bass boat in class. To port is a cooler and the big 8’ (2.44 m) long rod storage locker that can accommodate 10-15 rods easily, and of course Ranger thoughtfully ensured that it was lockable.
The center locker also accommodates rods but with the removable rod tree the compartment can easily swallow up dozens of Plano tackle boxes while still leaving room to spare. To starboard is the oversized storage locker for the bulk items like life jackets, lines, etc.
Space Usage. Yet another bulk storage locker is just behind. With all this space, it’s really easy to keep things organized, and that’s a big factor playing against most competing bass boats. In the step, Ranger incorporated yet another storage compartment that serves as a convenient day box. This allows quick and easy access to stuff that gets used everyday … scales, pliers, etc. It also represents a great use of space.
The standard electronics package includes a 5” (12.7 cm) display fishfinder/GPS at the bow.
The two decks provide ample room for walking back and forth while the Z521 remains stable and level.
Retractable straps at the bow allow for quick secures of the gear when it’s time to zip to another fishing spot.
Between the two cockpit seats is a third seat that flips down to form a non-skid step to the aft casting deck. Here we have the usual storage compartments, and in between is a center mounted livewell. A center baffle compartmentalizes the two halves of the livewell to separate different bait or bait from fish. To the stern, a large rectangular compartment houses the batteries, battery charger, and other mechanical components. With all hatches closed we have a casting deck measuring 3'7" (1.09 m) by 6'10" (2.08 m).
Notice the livewell has a divided interior to separate bait, or even fish.
The mechanical compartment is also the home for the battery switch to the left. The dual-pro charger is in the center. Notice the remote oil tank just to the left.
As mentioned, the consoles are taller now, allowing for more protection from wind and spray while not hampering the forward view. The port console consists of three carbon fiber panels, with a deep glove compartment to the center. A plexi windscreen does a great job of deflecting the wind over the head.
An open cubby to the left makes a natural place to store cell phones and it’s thankfully angled down so the contents won't come flying out when the throttle is hit. A stainless grab handle is in the center but it seemed more comfortable to gravitate to the handle mounted to the left side bulkhead. To the side of the seat is a strap to hold gear down during the quick trips from one spot to the next, a theme repeated at the bow.
Storage under the step between the consoles provides a convenient access to everyday items and a great use of space.
As with the port console, the helm console has also been made larger for this model and that, in addition to the obvious protection it provides, allows the panel to accommodate larger screen sizes. Ranger went with a 7” (17.8 cm) display as standard. Gauges are minimalist but information flow is mostly fed from a SmartCraft gauge to the right of the helm.
The entire panel is non glare with more of the carbon fiber texture, and switches to the right are all flush mounted and waterproof. The helm was also equipped with Mercury’s digital engine controls providing instantaneous response, and they were flush-mounted to the starboard bulkhead.
At the helm, the taller console allowed Ranger to go with a 7” (17.78 cm) display.
Waterproof switches have small lights that indicate when each switch is activated.
Standard Mercury Jackplate
The Z521 Comanche is also equipped with a standard 10” (25.4 cm) jackplate which allows for raising the engine for shallow water operation while still being able to maintain the current trim. The jackplate is controlled by a small lever to the left of the wheel, much like the turn indicator on a car, and it can be operated without removing hands from the wheel. A 6” (15.24 cm) jackplate is provided for Verado outboards.
Three across seating can be created by simply lifting the center seatback. Lower it to form a step to the aft casting deck.
Caveat: The observations below apply strictly to the tested Ranger Z521. We have not tested its replacement, the Z521C.
The Ranger Z521 was designed to give keen anglers more of what they're looking for, and also more of what they'll need. In that sense, in our opinion, Ranger met its goal. It also seems to be a very good match for the Mercury OptiMax 250 Pro XS outboard.
Ranger Boats Z521 Comanche (2013-) Test Result Highlights
Top speed for the Ranger Boats Z521 Comanche (2013-) is 75.1 mph (120.9 kph), burning 22.80 gallons per hour (gph) or 86.3 liters per hour (lph).
Best cruise for the Ranger Boats Z521 Comanche (2013-) is 30.5 mph (49.1 kph), and the boat gets 4.91 miles per gallon (mpg) or 2.09 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 106 miles (170.59 kilometers).
Tested power is 1 x 250-hp Mercury OptiMax Pro XS.
Time to plane for the Ranger Boats Z521 Comanche (2013-) is 6.0 sec. seconds.
Time from 0 to 30 of the Ranger Boats Z521 Comanche (2013-) is 10.3 sec. seconds.
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels go to our Test Results section.
Standard and Optional Equipment
Ranger Boats Z521 Comanche (2013-) Standard and Optional Equipment
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc
= Standard = Optional
Ranger Boats Z521 Comanche (2013-) Warranty
Ranger Boats Z521 Comanche (2013-) Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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