The Z520C, Ranger’s most popular tournament-ready bass boat
, is designed for the serious tournament fisherman, with vital features like a broad bow casting area, storage for 20 fishing rods as long as 8’6” (2.59 m) and a large stern livewell.She’s always been available with power up to a 250-hp outboard and the new Evinrude E-TEC G2 250 H.O. breathes new life into the Z520C with its prodigious 2-stroke torque and power.
Ranger’s Rite Track Keel keeps more hull in the water. This minimizes the effect of crosswinds and reduces lateral drift when the boat is trolling or at rest.
The Z520C’s stern has the setback for the outboard motor built into the transom structure. This is a more robust installation and it positions the motor farther aft, enhancing the influence that trim has on performance.
The Z520C’s transom is reinforced with pultruded fiberglass that results in a stronger installation for the motor.
Ranger’s patented Power Ventilated Rod Storage System (PVRS) uses a blower to circulate air throughout the bow storage lockers to keep tackle and equipment dry.
A tournament fisherman spends a lot of time on the road traveling between events. The Z520C rides on a custom-built tandem-axle Ranger Trail trailer that’s designed for the boat. It sits lower on the trailer for easier access when towing.
At the Bow
One of the most obvious benefits of a bass boat in this size range is the large fishing area in the bow. It measures 3’5” (1 m) wide forward and 6’11” (2.11 m) aft and is 7’7” (2.31 m) long. It also has padding beneath the carpet to reduce fishermen’s fatigue during a long day on the water. There are two receptacles for the fishing chair to accommodate anglers of various sizes.
Well Thought Out Standards
Most bass boat manufacturers like to boast that they designed space into a given model’s bow for optional electronics. Ranger provides the space and includes the Lowrance HDS7T Gen 3 fishfinder/chartplotter as standard equipment. The Z520C’s bow also has a Minn Kota Fortrex 80 24-volt trolling motor with a recessed foot pedal, accessory switches, a tool rack and a cup holder.
For quick trips between fishing spots
, the Z520C has retractable straps that click into place to secure reels on rod handles and a soft padded area ahead of the driver’s console where the rod tips can rest. In-deck lockers have hatches that lock, open on gas struts and close on thick rubber gaskets. The portside locker is open and finished in gelcoat and includes a soft rubber mat in the bottom to accommodate rods up to 8’6” (2.59 m) long with removable partitions. In the center locker, there are ten dedicated rod racks. To starboard, the carpeted compartment looks good for lifejackets and other gear.
The Cockpit Step
Working aft to the Z520C’s cockpit, there’s a step down
into the seating area. The hatch for the step opens to reveal an insulated draining cooler with two drain plugs. There are tool racks on each side and in the base of the cooler is a receptacle for fishing net storage.
The Z520C comes standard with two thickly padded SRS bucket seats
and a step with a storage compartment and cup holders in between. Owners can opt for a second console ahead of the port SRS bucket seat. The sole of our test boat was finished in a seagrass-like material, a flooring option Ranger calls “chainweave,” that felt good underfoot. Outboard of the passenger’s seat, there’s storage for six more fishing rods, a rugged grab handle, a storage tray and cup holder. Inboard just below the seat is a second handle that pulls out on a strap. Forward in between the angled footrest, an available plastic panel opens on hinges offering additional storage. Ranger suggests using this area for trash or a “day box” to quickly access items used frequently throughout the day.
While the port bucket seat is fixed, the driver’s seat adjusts fore and aft
and there is a similar footrest configuration with space for a tacklebox or cooler in between. The steering wheel on our test boat was a tilt model with a turn-signal style switch on the column to control the jack plate position. The helm comes standard with a Lowrance HDS7T Gen 3 fishfinder/chartplotter in the center. To the left is a speedometer with an integrated trim gauge and the fuel gauge is just below. To the right of the panel, there is a tachometer and the available Evinrude iTrim controls and screen just below. The throttle is mounted within comfortable reach on the starboard gunwale, with the livewell filler switch and a 12-volt power plug just below.
The Aft Cockpit
The step between the bucket seats leads to the aft casting deck
, which is 6’11” (2.10 m) wide and 3’8” (1.12 m) fore to aft with the same carpeting as found up front. There’s a receptacle for a fishing chair. At the leading edge of the aft deck is the aerated livewell that has a divider to keep species separated, and twin sliding acrylic hatches. Outboard to port and starboard are storage lockers and the boat comes with a toolbox in the port side aft locker. In the splashwell, there’s a plug for the shorepower and a switch that controls a remote drain plug. The livewell control is just below the throttle. The ladder is aft to port.
Abaft the livewell, a large hatch in the center of the rear deck opens to provide access to the batteries, charger and a spare propeller mount.
Power and Performance
Ranger Offers the Z520C with a Range of Outboards up to 250-hp.
We tested with an Evinrude E-TEC G2 250 H.O. 2-stroke outboard turning a Raker HO 14½“ x 26” three-blade stainless steel propeller through a 1.85:1 gear reduction. We hit a top speed of 71.7 mph at 5700 rpm and burned 22.1 gph, giving the boat a range of 131 miles at wide open. Best cruise came at 3000 rpm where we ran 32.5 mph and sipped 6.5 gph, giving the boat a range of 203 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.
2-stroke outboards are known for torque, and that translated into strong acceleration from our test boat. She planed in 3.8 seconds, ran out to 20 mph in 5.3 seconds and to 30 mph in 7.1 seconds.
Forget the idea that bass boats are one-dimensional straight-line bullets. The Z520C handled smoothly through our battery of slalom and circle turns and, when we ran it back through our own wakes, the boat felt solid.
As mentioned above, Ranger builds the Z520C with pultruded fiberglass in the transom for exceptional strength and rigidity. Knee braces extend forward to help absorb stresses on the stern. The fiberglass stringers are foam filled to help dampen vibration and water noise on the hull.
Power and Price
Base retail price is $68,000 and, as tested with the Evinrude E-TEC G2 250 H.O. 2-stroke outboard, increases to approximately $79,000.
The Z520C comes with a tandem-axle Ranger Trail trailer that is custom built for the boat. It has a swing-away tongue, aluminum wheels, a spare tire, rear Boat Buckle tie downs and LED lighting. Ranger finishes the trailer in its Road Armor paint for improved corrosion resistance.
Ranger Boats provides a Structural Hull limited warranty for the First North American retail purchaser for the period of ownership. For the second North American retail purchaser, the limited warranty period for structural hull defects is 10 years. Cosmetic gel coat warranty is one year.
Options to Consider
Ranger did their homework when rigging the Z520C as a tournament-grade bass boat. With the Evinrude E-TEC G2 250 H.O. outboard, she tops 71 mph and during a shotgun start at a tournament, the 2-stroke engine’s torque will help the boat out-accelerate the competition to get to the hot spots first.We applaud Ranger for including such accessories as the fishfinder/chartplotter at the bow and helm and the battery charger as standard equipment. Virtually every owner orders these boats with these items anyway, so Ranger just includes them for convenience and adjusts the price accordingly.Another convenience item is the standard trailer. If an owner knows he’s getting the boat pre-packaged with a motor and a trailer, it makes the buying process that much easier.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Ranger Boats Z520C (2016-) is 71.7 mph (115.4 kph), burning 22.10 gallons per hour (gph) or 83.65 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Ranger Boats Z520C (2016-) is 32.5 mph (52.3 kph), and the boat gets 5.00 miles per gallon (mpg) or 2.13 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 203 miles (326.7 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 250-hp Evinrude E-TEC G2 250 H.O..
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
(It's quick and FREE!)