Boat Test Videos
Content courtesy ofAt 18'8" (5.68 m) the Z-7 is a scaled down version of Nitro’s premium bass boat, the Z-9, and designed to meet the needs of bass anglers who don’t need the size or the higher price tag a bigger boat brings to the table. The Z-7 is 25'' shorter and carries two inches less beam than the larger Z. The major compromises most anglers might note between the two Nitros end there. In fact, the Z with the lucky “7” designation is both more frugal with fuel and more nimble on the water than her larger kin. Take a look at our test and you'll see what an affordable bass boat can give you.
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.
by Capt. Dan Armitage
At the other end of the speed spectrum, the Nitro’s hull was equally responsive to the helm when the full power of the standard 150-hp Mercury Optimax is put into play. After reaching planing speed in an average of 3.8 seconds, we averaged 59.4 mph WOT speed, peaking at 5450 rpm. During our testing we didn’t note a hint of pounding with the 16-degree, variable-deadrise hull crossing a reasonable chop at planing speed. Best cruise came at 3000 rpm where we were running at 31.4 mph and were getting 5.98 mpg. We found the 18’ 8” Z-7 to be very responsive to the standard Minn Kota Maxxum 70-pound-thrust bow-mounted trolling motor. The bow deck features a recess for the motor’s foot control.
We would exercise the Hot Foot option that Nitro makes available if we were ordering for the Z-7. A standard bicycle bow seat and the folding pedestal seat stow inside the forward locker. The rig has a 32-gallon divided livewell aft with aeration and timer standard. There is a second mounting base for the rear fishing pedestal located a bit farther forward on the aft deck.
A standard flush-mounted Lowrance Mark 5x fishfinder centers a dash that features tachometer and speedometer gauges placed up high above the wheel for easy viewing. Trim and battery level gauges, located adjacent to the steering column and obstructed the wheel, are less visible.
Removable Port Console
Both the helm and passenger consoles offer reasonable protection for fishermen while the Nitro is underway. The companion console to port is removable for solitary fishing use or to gain more deck space no matter how many anglers are aboard. The console is attached with three fasteners, fitted with thumbscrews, so no tools are required to remove or install the convertible unit.
We were impressed with the comfort and the design of the seating we found in the Z-7’s cockpit, noting the all three seats are open at the back to keep the air flowing and occupants comfortable. The bottom sections of the outboard pair to port and starboard flip up to reveal storage compartments; the middle seat hides the access to the boat’s 45 gallon center-balanced fuel tank.
We appreciate the Nitro’s easy-to-stow-and-deploy “re-boarding” ladder. It’s positioned correctly, with a hand grip and foot step where you need them.
We like this mid-size bass boat from Nitro. It looks great, is well-built, handles like a champ at speeds high and low and is priced right at $26,995 including a 150-hp Mercury Optimax outboard and custom trailer. Unless you absolutely need the storage capacity and open-water performance attributes of a 20-foot-plus rig, we see no reason why an avid bass angler should not consider the Z-7.
Test Result Highlights
Pricing Range: $26,995.00Prices, 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.
Test Results - Change Measurement Unit
All fuel consumption numbers are the total for all engines in the boat. Speeds are measured with Stalker ProSports radar gun or GPS. Fuel consumption (gallons per hour) measured with Floscan digital fuel-flow meter or by on-board factory-installed diagnostic instruments. Range is based on 90% of published fuel capacity. Sound levels determined using Radio Shack digital decibel meter on A scale. 68 dBA is the level of normal conversation. Time to plane is measured from start of acceleration to formation of rooster tail behind boat.