Captain's ReportTested By Capt. Bob SmithAfter chasing Ranger for some time, I finally got the call to test some of their world famous bass rigs out in Kissimmee, Florida. Since I live in Tampa, it was going to be close and more important, warm. I loaded up my fishing gear, added inland fresh water fishing to my license, filled the tank on the truck and started east to Kissimmee to meet up with Dan Benton, Sales Manager for Ranger. The first order of business was to catch some fish and to tease Dan about the big log that swam away as he trolled towards it. I think that was his first sighting of our little friends which would also be trolling the waters nearby, this one appeared to be about eight feet long.TrailerSince we were shooting aerials from a helicopter the second day, I got the chance to do a little towing with this rig. Ranger’s trailer system makes hooking up and keeping the rig behind you where it belongs on the road easy. The swing-away tongue helps the rig fit better in short garages or small parking lots. I found maneuvering in the tight parking lot with many obstacles to be simple and comfortable. Getting the rig up on the bunks the first time was a snap, and the matching colored trailer made the set look great. They even brought a green model that matched my truck! Shame they had to take it back at the end of the day.SpecsThe 185 VS is 18’5” overall in length and a beamy 92” giving her a stable feel when casting from the gunwales. You can hang up to 175-hp motors on the transom which has a 10” setback for better performance out of the hole. The inside depth is 20” and the transom height is 23”. Fishy FeaturesUp front is a standard 24V Minn Kota trolling motor fed by 6 gauge wiring with 50 amp fuse, and controlled by an easy to operate foot pedal. The rod lockers on the port and starboard provide ample room for fish fighting rigs, and the port locker storage can handle up to 7’6” rods and starboard can store up to 7’ rods. Just aft of the casting deck up front is a storage area with a small cooler further aft and center of the forward casting deck. Your fishing buddy even has a Runnin Rod Rack next to their seat on the port side and a comfortable angled deck for a foot rest. When the going gets a little rough there’s a retractable grab handle just under the seat which gives them something other than your elbow to hang on to underway. Behind the WheelThe helm console has a windscreen to help keep the mosquitoes out of your mouth, unfortunately your partner may have to swallow some. The console includes a Garmin depth/fish finder, and steering is assisted with Teleflex SeaStar giving the driver smooth control throughout the speed ranges. The livewell separates two storage boxes just behind the seats and an access panel completes the area behind the seats. The large stern casting area has a space to put a casting seat up or just keep it clear for easy movement from side to side.Performance and RideEarlier that day I had tested the 521VX, a top of the line offering, and expected to see big differences in how the 185 handled. Was I surprised! The 185 had the same characteristics of cutting fine turns and staying glued to the water as did the 521, and there was little bow rise on the hole shot and tracking was excellent, whether trolling or at cruise speed. The 185 made it out of the hole in just 2.6 seconds and north of 30 mph in 5.6 seconds. Although she was rated for up to 175 horses, we had a Mercury 150 XR-6 strapped on the transom and achieved 59.2 mph at top end. I found her best cruise to be around 3500 rpms at which she burned 7.9 gallons per hour and cruised at 36.5 miles per hour. At this rate, she can run about 167 miles on her standard 40 gallon fuel tank. If you run top speed, you will be turning 5400 rpms and burn about 18.1 gallons per hour with a range of 118 miles on the tank. The extra flotation also kept this hull stealthy with a low end reading of 64 dBa and a top end reading of 94 dBa.When I finished testing this rig, I could see why she is the most popular selling model of Ranger’s tournament boats. The 185 VS offers professional qualities at a competitive price.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Ranger Boats 185 VS is 59.2 mph (95.3 kph), burning 18.1 gallons per hour (gph) or 68.51 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Ranger Boats 185 VS is 36.5 mph (58.7 kph), and the boat gets 4.65 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.98 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 167 miles (268.76 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 150-hp Mercury XR-6.
- Time to plane for the Ranger Boats 185 VS is 2.6 sec. seconds.
- Time from 0 to 30 of the Ranger Boats 185 VS is 5.6 sec. seconds.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Lifetime (original owner)
Yes (10 years from the original delivery date)
|Lifetime (original owner) Yes (10 years from the original delivery date) http://www.rangerboats.com/pages/tradition/bbbb.cfm|
||1-3 years* http://www.rangerboats.com/pages/tradition/bbbb.cfm|