A New Generation of Ranger Z Boat

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Ranger Z520

Ranger Boats has been a stellar performer for over 40 years and during that time the word quality has been synonymous with Ranger. Fit and finish, excellent performance, fishing amenities inside the boat and excellent resale are all common ingredients in the Ranger image and product line. It’s much more than a boat company, it’s an extended family and the affinity with this boat company is like no other.

Since day one, Forrest Wood knew the best way to get new Ranger owners and keep them was to build the best product possible and stand behind them. He also knew that leading the way in innovation would be the catalyst to more sales and subsequent ones from buyers of other Ranger products.

Always stable, always dependable and always slower than other boats was the mantra that outsiders had given Ranger. Ranger knew about those pokes at them regarding speed but felt to gain speed quality could be adversely impacted. Making the boat lighter or changing some of the manufacturing processes or materials used in the boat to gain speed was not in the cards. Ranger was the originator of level floatation and numerous other safety breakthroughs. Ranger regards safety and comfort higher than speed. We would much rather see our owners go and come back safely that be the first one there” noted Randy Hopper, President of Ranger Boats on numerous occasions. Hopper and Ranger employees will not cut corners to get a few more miles per hour. He instills creativity and his over 38 years of experience at Ranger has been one of design and hands-on in all facets. Ranger craftsman are driven by quality as a first priority. All Ranger employees are committed to building the best boat period.

Ranger felt so strongly about their position in the industry in regards to boat safety that they boycotted the BASS World Championship Fishing League attempted by BASS a few years ago and ultimately pulled their sponsorship from BASS with the WCF as one of those reasons.

Something New

The recent addition of the Z520 is the next step in the Ranger way of building boats. Use engineering and hydrodynamics to build a better boat. Don’t cut corners.

Speed and stability of the Ranger Z520 is unmatched in any other Ranger. The design and engineering indeed allowed for more speed but did not do it at the expense of the other Ranger qualities. We are still sure that Ranger won’t get into boat racing but this time around could if they desired with the Z520.


The Ranger Z520 is a “multi-breed” boat from our vantage point. Taking the best features of what you have learned and putting them together results in boats like the Z520.

The same great fit and finish, the same great Ranger features but with one very different caveat”¦”¦it will flat run. Ranger incorporated some of the great new features that the “Z” line initiated two years prior including a great looking and functional dash with multifunction instrumentation, a new locking system that in the Z520 is enhanced even further and the ergonomics of new SRS seating and materials. They also worked diligently on the linear keel design and pad to make the boat more efficient and track well with no drift. The hull design combined with a very wide deck allows this 20 footer to be comfortably Coast Guard rated for 250 horsepower outboard. The Z520 has the same geometry of the 520VX but built with year 2008 technology. In addition, the Ranger Z520 is a 5.2 second to plane boat meaning it is super quick out of the hole and is a mid-70 mph boat at top end.

We particularly like the internal features of the boat. Great livewells with removable divider, excellent rear storage for tackle and gear and the front compartments that offer the angler some flexibility as well. The center compartment is huge and has dividers to arrange tackle with easy access. This is a new feature for Ranger. That center compartment also has a rod rack and two recessed cup holders that can be used for a cold drink of tools and accessories. The port storage area works great for rods while the starboard storage area sits immediately in front of a large insulated cooler and is a great place for lights, life jackets and tackle as well.


The entire front casting deck is huge and comfortable and has a front area that is padded to reduce back strain thus adding to the comfort of a day on the water. A recessed foot pedal area also keeps those of us with bad backs with both feet on the deck most of the time. Gunnels on the Z520 are a bit higher on the Z520 to reduce splash over for a much dryer ride in rough water and do not impede skipping, flipping or pitching your favorite bait.


Another cool feature of the Z520 is the running rod rack that allows the passenger ample space for 6-7 rod and reel combinations. The driver’s side has a new storage cup perfect for keys and a cell phone with a cup holder directly behind it.

Wired Ranger

On our Wired2Fish Ranger Z520 we have a tilt wheel, trim control, adjustable hotfoot and have equipped it with a Minn Kota 101 Maxxum Pro Trolling motor and a Humminbird 797 C2 Si in the bow and a Humminbird C2 Si at the driver’s console, both units have independent transducers for side imaging. One transducer is mounted below the jack plate outside the boat in the rear (console unit)and the other is on the foot of the trolling motor.(bow unit) A Yamaha Series 2 HPDI 250 hp engine mounted on a 10″ set back plate completes the rig.


The tandem axle RangerTrail trailer with boat matching fenders has brakes, a spare, swing-away tongue and Ranger Road Armor to protect it from road dings and chips.


Ranger continues to listen to anglers and provide outstanding features and functionality for both the pro and die-hard weekend angler. You can buy a less expensive boat but you cannot buy a better built one.

Enjoy the ride of the Ranger Z520. We certainly are.

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