The Nitro Z20 is aimed at the price-conscious bass boat buyer who wants a 20’ (6.09 m) boat that can top 70-mph and do some serious fishing.For the Z20, Nitro uses the NVT (NITRO VORTEX TECHNOLOGY). She has a 16-degree deadrise at the transom and the Rapid Planing System helps with quicker holeshots and better handling. She’s also designed with more bow flare and a lower profile. That combination helps knock down spray while improving aerodynamic efficiency.To appeal to buyers who want a turn-key package, the Z20 comes with a trolling motor, a fishfinder, fore and aft livewells and a tandem-axle trailer.
Top Speed 71.2 MPH.
The Nitro Z20 is a bass boat and one of the first things people want to know about a bass boat is her top speed. We tested the boat with a 250-hp Mercury 250 OptiMax Pro XS 2-stroke outboard, turning a 14 5/8 x 25 Fury three-blade stainless-steel propeller and hit a top speed of 71.2 mph at 5800 rpm, while burning 22.2 gph. This gave the Z20 a range of 159 miles at wide open. Best cruise came at 5000 rpm where we ran 57.3 mph and burned 12.4 gph, giving the boat a range of 229 statute miles with a 10% reserve.
During development of the new model, Nitro worked on improving holeshot and overall performance with what the manufacturer calls its Rapid Planing System. When we stomped on the optional foot throttle, the boat planed in 4.1 seconds and darted to 20 mph in 5.9 seconds before continuing to 30 mph in 8.5 seconds. The new hull was also designed to reduce backwash over the transom when the boat decelerates quickly and when we came to a sudden stop, no water made it past the splashwell.
Bass boats have long been thought of as being one dimensional, as in they’re only good at going fast in a straight line. With the Z20’s bottom, Nitro wanted to dispel that notion and when we put her through slalom and circle turns she completed every maneuver with ease.
The tandem-axle trailer is custom made for the Z20 and has a swing-away tongue, jack, a spare tire and mount. There’s a step at the bow plus one on each side behind the fenders so it’s easy to climb into the boat from either end when she’s on land. It’s finished in the manufacturer’s Galvashield finish for corrosion resistance and comes with custom-aluminum rims.
The aft casting deck has a receptacle for a portable fishing seat and with that seat removed, there’s space for an angler to do his thing. In the aft port corner, there’s a folding ladder that clips in place.
There are a total of four in-deck hatches. The outboard locker to port has a removable bin about 6” deep and beneath it is a spare propeller mount. The locker to starboard also has a removable tub that has slots for seven Plano 3700 Series tackle boxes. The large center hatch in the stern accesses the batteries, charger and oil injection tank. Forward, two hatches open the 19-gallon (71.92 L) Guardian livewells.
Bass Pro Shops, Nitro’s parent company, sponsors a team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and not surprisingly the boat manufacturer got some input from the car racers to improve the seats in the Z20. The boat comes standard with a third fold-down seat or buyers can order the boat with a carpeted step between the two buckets.
The port console on our test boat is an upgrade that installs with three thumbscrew-style plastic fasteners. It has a locking glovebox that’s lined with carpet and there’s more locking storage in the angled footrest.
To starboard, the helm console is finished in glare-killing black and has a removable acrylic windscreen. The instruments are easy to see as is the centrally positioned with blue blacklighting Lowrance Mark-5x Pro fishfinder and there is space for the optional 12'' fishfinder. The optional turn-signal style trim switch and foot throttle are worth considering because they allow a captain to keep two hands on the wheel at high speed. To starboard of the wheel, the boat has a touchpad-style accessory switch panel that includes a Master Power switch. It shuts down the DC power so an accessory can’t be left on accidentally.
The business end of the Z20 has a 38-sq.-ft. (11.6-sq. m) bow casting deck that has a trolling motor and a forward electronics panel with space for a 12” fishfinder. There are two receptacles for the fishing seat to accommodate anglers with long and short legs.Beneath the step to the bow area is an insulated cooler with a snap-in tray that keeps sandwiches from getting soaked in the melting ice. In the forepeak, the boat comes with switches for trimming the outboard motor and the navigation lights and a panel that will accept a 12” screen.
In the center of the bow casting deck, a large hatch opens to reveal a locker that has removable dividers so owners can decide how to use the space to store gear. Outboard to port is a large rod locker and to starboard is a large open space that is home to the fire extinguisher.
$39,595 with a Mercury 200 L OptiMax Pro XS 2-stroke outboard and tandem-axle trailer.
Options to Consider
The Nitro Z20 is for the bass fisherman who wants a 20’ (6.09 m) boat that can run 70 mph on conservative power and still do some serious fishing.With the new model, Nitro has improved fishermen's comfort with padding beneath the casting deck and the new bucket seats in the cockpit. The manufacturer also improved the insulation for the in-deck cooler.It’s important to know that Tracker Marine Group has switched its emphasis from low price to high quality. And while the quality is competitive with any brand bass boat, its price is usually considerable less.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Nitro Z20 (2016-) is 71.2 mph (114.6 kph), burning 22.20 gallons per hour (gph) or 84.03 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Nitro Z20 (2016-) is 28.1 mph (45.2 kph), and the boat gets 4.35 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.85 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 215 miles (346.01 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 250-hp Mercury OptiMax Pro XS.
- Time to plane for the Nitro Z20 (2016-) is 4.1 sec. seconds.
- Time from 0 to 30 of the Nitro Z20 (2016-) is 8.5 sec. seconds.
Standard and Optional Features
|CD Stereo||Optional Bluetooth-capable|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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