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Nitro Z17 (2017-)

1 x 115-hp Mercury ProXS FourStroke

Brief Summary

The NITRO® Z17 is a quick and compact bass boat that delivered impressive performance on a fuel-efficient 115-hp Mercury® FourStroke in our test runs. She planed in 3.7 seconds, reached a WOT speed of 51.3 and at a cruise of 3500 rpms and 25.8 mph, she maxed out at 7.5 mpg. Best of all, our test captain reported that she did not chine walk and he felt safe throughout his normal test maneuvers. A Minn Kota® bow-mount trolling motor, Lowrance® sonar, aerated Guardian™ livewell, and a factory-matched trailer are all standard.

Test Results

700 3.3 2.8 0.3 10.8 9.4 234 203.5 81
1000 3.8 3.3 0.5 7.6 6.6 164 142.7 83
1500 5.5 4.8 1 5.8 5 125 108.7 83
2000 6.8 5.9 1.6 4.2 3.7 91 79.2 83
2500 8.2 7.1 2.6 3.2 2.8 69 60.4 84
3000 20.6 17.9 2.8 7.5 6.5 162 140.7 83
3500 25.8 22.4 3.5 7.5 6.5 161 140.2 84
4000 31 27 4.6 6.7 5.9 146 126.6 85
4500 36.7 31.9 6.3 5.9 5.1 127 110.1 85
5000 40 34.7 7.3 5.5 4.8 119 103.5 85
5500 44.9 39 9 5 4.3 108 93.6 87
6000 51.3 44.6 11.1 4.6 4 100 87.1 89


Length Overall 17' 4'' / 5.28 m
Beam 8' 4''
2.54 m
Dry Weight 1,450 lbs.
657 kg
Tested Weight 2,317 lbs.
1,051 kg
Draft 15''
0.38 m
Deadrise/Transom 16-deg.
Max Headroom open
Bridge Clearance N/A
Weight Capacity 1,100 lbs.
499 kg
Fuel Capacity 24 gal.
90 L
Water Capacity 23 gal.
87 L
Total Weight 2,317 lbs.
1,051 kg


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Acceleration Times & Conditions

Time to Plane 3.7 sec.
0 to 30 9.3 sec.
Ratio 2.07:1
Props Spitfire 12.7" x 19" 4-bl ss
Load 2 persons, 1/2 fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear
Climate 68 deg., 42 humid.; wind: 0-5 mph; seas: calm

Engine Options

Tested Engine 1 x 115-hp Mercury ProXS FourStroke
Std. Power Not Available
Opt. Power 1 x 90-hp Mercury ELPT FourStroke
1 x 115-hp Mercury ELPT Pro XS FourStroke
1 x 115-hp Mercury ELPT Pro XS FourStroke Command Thrust

Captain's Report


The Z17 is 17’4” (5.3 m) long with a 7’6” (2.3m) beam and has weight and person capacities of 1,100 lbs. (498.95 kg) and 460 lbs. (208.7 kg), respectively.

Mission Statement

Nitro developed the Z17 to be the company’s entry-level fiberglass bass-fishing model. She replaces the Z6, which was a popular model. To appease the first-time buyer, the boat comes standard with a custom-matched trailer, a fishfinder, a trolling motor, a cooler, and a livewell.


For a boat in her size range, the Z17 has a large bow fishing area, plus a raised aft deck.

Features Inspection

The Bow. The forward fishing deck on the Z17 measures 32 sq. ft. (2.97 sq. m). Up front the boat comes standard with a Minn Kota Edge trolling motor and accompanying recessed foot pedal plus accessory switches to trim the outboard motor and activate the anchor light. A fishing seat on a pedestal installs just abaft the foot pedal. There’s space in the bow panel for an optional fishfinder. The walking surface on the forward fishing deck is covered in 16-ounce marine-grade carpet, and there are two bungee cords to secure rods during a quick run to the next fishing spot.


The Z17 comes standard with a Minn Kota trolling motor and foot throttle plus accessory switches to raise and lower the outboard motor.


The Z17 has two bungee cords on the forward casting deck to secure rods during a run to the next honey hole.

Bow Storage. Outboard on each side just aft of the bungee cords, there are locking compartments with open space. They can accommodate rods up to 7’ (2.13 m) long and are carpeted. The center locker has space for rods up to 7’6” (2.3 m) long, has soft foam padding and it drains.


The center locker in the bow has draining, padded storage for fishing rods up to 7’6” (2.3 m) long.


As we saw throughout the Z17, the underside of the starboard hatch in the bow is reinforced with aluminum, so it won’t sag when stepped on.


The fire extinguisher mounts in a dedicated bracket in the starboard bow compartment.

The Cockpit. One feature that sets apart the Z17 from other entry-level models is the 62-quart (58.7-liter) cooler in the step from the bow fishing deck to the cockpit. The boat comes standard with two seats. The center seat is an option and it can be removed when a pair of anglers want to participate in a tournament.

To port, an owner can order the boat with an optional console that’s equipped with a locking glovebox. It installs easily with three oversized screws. Whether the boat is ordered with the port console, outboard is a carpeted rod ramp so fishing gear can be quickly secured during a run between hot spots.

All three seats are hinged and fold forward to reveal storage outboard and access to fuel fittings under the center.


The cooler in the step up to the forward casting deck is insulated and it has a 62-quart (58.7-liter) capacity.


In this photo, we see the optional center seat that can be removed.


The bottom cushions for all the cockpit seats are hinged and open to provide access to draining storage outboard and the fuel tank fittings in the center.


The port console comes with a grab handle and a windscreen that’s tall enough to keep a baseball hat from blowing off.


Another benefit of the port console is the locking glovebox. It’s lined with carpet on the inside.


Large fasteners make it easy to install the port console without tools.


Outboard of the port bucket seat, the angled rod ramp provides a cushioned place to set down fishing rods during a run to the next fishing spot or back to weigh-in at the end of the day.

The Helm. To starboard, the helm console is identical to the port side unit in terms of the rotocast construction and the acrylic windscreen. The Z17 comes with multi-function VeeThree gauges including a tachometer and speedometer, plus a water pressure instrument, which is always a smart idea with an outboard motor.

A Lowrance Hook fishfinder is in the center of the black panel. Accessory switches are split on each side of the steering wheel and those that control the livewell are to starboard. The shift/throttle control is a comfortable reach on the starboard inwale and down below we found a cupholder and a storage tray lined with rubber mat.


The boat comes standard with a Lowrance fishfinder, and the panel has space for an optional unit with a 9” (22.86 cm) screen.


To the left of the steering wheel, the boat is equipped with a Master Power switch that shuts down all 12-volt accessories and a dimmer button that reduces the power of the dash lights when fishing at night.


The switches that control the livewell and bilge pumps plus the horn are to the right of the steering wheel.


The cable-style shift and throttle lever is appropriate on an entry-level boat.

Aft Casting Deck. As previously mentioned, the middle cockpit seat is an option. If the Z17 is ordered without it, an angler can easily step up to the aft fishing deck with ease. The area measured 6’6” (1.98 m) by 3’ (.9 m), or 19.5 sq. ft. (1.78 sq. m) and a movable folding seat that mounts on a pedestal can be quickly installed. Outboard to port are the fuel fill and a recessed cleat. Aft to port, the reboarding ladder folds up onto a nonskid mat. To aid in the process, there’s a small step below the ladder on the transom and a grab handle up high.


The aft casting deck has plenty of space and notice the raised perimeter deck, so an angler can feel when he’s close to the edge.


While the forward seat is just a bottom cushion, the aft fishing seat is a full model with a backrest.


Whether a passenger takes a voluntary or involuntary swim, the ladder is designed to be deployed from the water or from the boat.

Livewells and Storage. Directly abaft the cockpit seats, two hatches with nylon straps open the 23-gallon (87.06-liter) livewell that has a removable partition, oxygenation and aeration systems. The well has rounded corners to help keep the fish inside calm. Outboard on each side are two locking hatches and inside these compartments are removable tubs that have slots for Plano tackle boxes. The aft center hatch ahead of the motor provides access to the two batteries and outboard to port there is a two-bank battery charger.


A livewell isn’t something always found on an entry-level boat, and we like that it’s finished in blue to help keep the fish calm.


Lockers outboard of the livewell on each side have locking latches.


Tubs have space for up to seven Plano tackleboxes and they can be removed for access to on board systems.


The two batteries are in easy reach in this compartment just ahead of the motor.


Another accessory on the Z17’s standard-equipment list is the two-bank battery charger.


Since the Z17 is an entry-level model, having the fuel fill on the port side is a smart idea. It’s on the same side as the tow-vehicle driver, making it easier for him/her to line up at a land-based gas station.


Vortex Technology. The Nitro Vortex Technology (NVT) bottom design on the Z17 includes the manufacturer’s Rapid Planing System. There are a total of six strakes plus a turned-down chine to get the boat on plane quickly and keep her riding level and true when she is up and “hanging on the pad” in the bottom at the stern. Our test boat planed in 3.7 seconds and ran to 20 mph in 6.2 seconds and to 30 mph in 9.3 seconds.


The NVT bottom has the Rapid Planing System and it’s designed to keep water from coming over the stern during quick deceleration.

The Numbers. With two people, 12 gallons (45.4 liters) of fuel and test equipment on board, our test boat weighed an estimated 2,317 lbs. (1,050.97 kg). She was powered by a 115-hp Mercury ProXS FourStroke outboard with a 2.07:1 gear reduction turning a Spitfire 12.7” x 19” four-blade aluminum stainless-steel propeller. We hit a top speed of 51.3 mph (44.6 nots) at 5900 rpm. Best cruise came at 3000 rpm where she ran 20.6 mph (17.6 knots) and burned 2.8 gph (10.6 lph). That’s 7.5 mpg (3.18 kpl), which gives the Z17 a range of 162 statute miles (260 km) with 10 percent of the boat’s 24-gallon (90.85-liter) fuel capacity in reserve.

Maximum Power. The Z17 is rated for a maximum of 115-hp, and the 115 ELPT Pro XS is available with the standard gearcase that we tested or the optional Command Thrust gearcase (a $550 upgrade). Because it has a 2.38:1 gear ratio, the Command Thrust does give owners the opportunity to use any of Mercury’s V-6 series propellers, but because the Command Thrust is targeted more at helping heavier boats get on plane, we don’t think it’s necessary for the Z17.


At her most efficient cruising speed, the Z17 can run more than 150 miles (241.4 km) on a tank of fuel.

Maneuverability. An entry-level boat should exhibit predictable handling and good overall manners and the Z17 did just that. We made a variety of turns in each direction and the boat did exactly what we expected. Fully locked over turns will result in a slight propeller ventilation at the end of the maneuver, but those kind of moves aren’t what this boat was designed for. She’s not intended to tow tubers, but she could if she had to.


The Z17 belies the notion that bass boats are designed to only run in a straight line. She exhibited good maneuverability and handled predictably.

Construction. The Z17 is built with a unitized hull and foam-filled stringers and deck, which provides good vibration dampening and positive flotation. The boat comes with four recessed stainless steel cleats.

Trailer. Nitro packages the Z17 with a custom-fit trailer finished with Galvashield impact and corrosion protection. The trailer comes with radial tires, an outboard-motor support, a swing-away tongue, a tongue jack, safety cables and low-maintenance hubs. Because the boat rides low on the trailer, it should tow and ride smoothly over the road.


    • Transferrable warranty on the hull, stringers and transom for the life of boat to the original owner.

    • One-year limited warranty on the following:

    • All electrical components.

    • Livewells and plumbing

    • Stereo, gauges and switches

    • Console, windscreen and steering wheel

    • Steering system components

    • Marine Grade vinyl

    • Fuel System

    • 6 years/100,000 miles on trailer.


The Nitro Z17 is categorized as an entry-level fiberglassed model, but we think that experienced anglers looking for a smaller boat would be hard-pressed to find any weaknesses in this one.

Her standard-equipment list includes everything an angler would want to get on the water including a trolling motor, fishfinder, integrated cooler and a livewell. With the 115-hp four-stroke motor, she should be affordable to purchase and to run.

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