Captain's ReportRanger 208VX
By Capt. Rob Smith
Ranger stays tuned to the market and hears many in the fishing community talking about the downturn in the economy and how they really would like to upgrade their rigs. Many weekend warriors lusted for a 520VX but it was out of reach or out of the question with family obligations. Ranger now has an answer that should help you make that move. It’s not the 520VX Lite, it is the all-new 208VX which is built on the same hull and sports many of the same fishing features, ride and comfort of the 520VX. What it doesn’t carry over is the hefty payments.In the Details
The 208VX has a sharp deadrise at the bow to slice through chop and improve handling and tracking. She has good on-pad performance like her big sister the 520. Topside, she has her own new layout focused on fishing in competition. Boxes are gel coated to make clean up much easier. Compartments are designed to organize your tackle and keep it at your fingertips without having to rummage through tons of stuff just when the fish start hitting. With every void in the hull filled with flotation foam, the boxes are also well insulated. The broad bow deck has a recessed foot well for the Minn Kota 24 Volt trolling motor and a panel in the bow where you can add another LCD panel. Running rod straps are on both sides.
Moving back to the cockpit, I was very impressed with the comfort in both the buddy seat and the driver’s seat. Not only does the Soft Ride Seating deliver on comfort, but Ranger has leg room I rarely see in a bass rig. The buddy seat has spots to brace your feet in choppy conditions as well as a grab handle on a reel. A running rod rack is along the port side of the buddy seat. The driver’s leg room was more than my six foot frame could reach! The dash is up a little higher and looks more like a racing helm than a cruiser’s dashboard. Five inch gauges are separated by the Humminbird 767 or Lowrance X-135 display in the center. 3” gauges are below and slightly obscured with the sport wheel at times.
Just behind the seats and within easy reach of either person in the cockpit is a large cooler compartment where you can keep drinks and sandwiches ready or stuff the catch in ice until you clean them for dinner. Just aft that is the divided livewell where you can keep the catch lively until you weigh them in and release them to challenge someone else another day. Large dry boxes are to port and starboard for more gear, life jackets and throw cushions. I like how Ranger has gasketed the equipment locker hatch and added a raised lip to prevent water from cascading down onto the charger and batteries inside. The hatch also opens toward the bow which is easy to work with on the water but may be more of a challenge in the parking lot.
Ranger builds all their trailers and custom matches each to the boat. Color schemes for the boat and trailer can be customized and matched to just about anything you desire. For the 208VX, the trailer is a tandem axle trailer with aluminum wheels and matching spare. Brakes are hydraulic surge disc brakes and lighting is LED which should last a lifetime. Fiberglass fenders are color matched and have a step. The hubs have Ranger’s COOL Hub system to maintain lubrication. This trailer also has the space saving swing away tongue that opens up about 2 feet more space when folded back. The trailer itself has Ranger’s Road Armor finish that is nearly impervious to damage from road debris and rocks bouncing off it.Critical Measurements
The 208VX measures 20’9” length overall with a beam of 92 ½ inches. On the matched trailer with swing-away tongue, she stretches to 23’2” with a spread of 97”. She tips the scales at 1750 lbs. with dual console and 25 lbs. less with a single console. She can handle up to 1500 lbs. total in people and gear and has a fuel capacity of 52 gallons in two separate 26 gallon tanks. This model is rated for 225hp outboards and has an inside maximum depth of 23”. Rod storage on port is up to 8’ rods and on starboard up to 7’.Running the Numbers
I tested the 208VX on Bull Shoals Lake near the Ranger plant in Flippin, Arkansas. They had powered this one with the Yamaha 225 HPDI and the combination seemed to be well matched. Handling was sweet with nearly flat turns at 40 mph and the ride was smooth enough in straight runs, I looked over and found my cameraman standing and shooting video at 60 mph (I don’t recommend you do that!). Hole shots were satisfyingly fast and time to 30 mph was quite acceptable. The Soft Ride Seating cushioned the chop nicely and I felt like I had only been out minutes when I returned to the docks 90 minutes later.
The 208VX registered a time to plane of 2.8 seconds and a time to 30 mph of 6.1 seconds. The 208’s most economical cruising speed was at 3000 rpm and 32 mph for a full tank range of 204 miles. In choppy conditions, I reached just under 69 mph, so in perfect conditions I imagine you may see over 70 mph.Conclusion
Now you can reward yourself with a rig that can match your tow vehicle and make your personal statement in local lakes, rivers and tournaments. You can still afford to load her up with the perfect lures and baits and you can still hang in there with the best when racing back to weigh-in. The 208VX from Ranger appears to be headed for a lot of lakes in the coming years. As I have heard Ranger owners say before, a Ranger may cost more to buy, but it costs less to own because there is less to maintain and repair on a Ranger.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Ranger Boats 208 VX (2009-) is 68.8 mph (110.7 kph), burning 20.5 gallons per hour (gph) or 77.59 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Ranger Boats 208 VX (2009-) is 32.0 mph (51.5 kph), and the boat gets 4.36 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.85 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 204 miles (328.31 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 225-hp Yamaha HPDI.
- Time to plane for the Ranger Boats 208 VX (2009-) is 2.8 sec. seconds.
- Time from 0 to 30 of the Ranger Boats 208 VX (2009-) is 6.1 sec. seconds.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|