Contents of Report
- Major Features
- Engine and Propeller
- Boat Inspection
- Bow Casting Deck
- Aft Casting Deck
- Equipment Discussion
- Optional Equipment to Consider
Nitro Z20: Mission
• Z-Core™ seating system for driver and passenger seats
• Guardian™ 19-gallon (71.92 L) livewells with digital timers
Nitro Z20: Design
When people start designing “organic parabolic strakes” into their hulls, protecting the design, and trademarking the names, it could have some advantage beyond simple marketing. So BoatTEST dug a little deeper and asked Nitro about the Z20 hull’s running surface properties.
Their response was that it “delivers a remarkable hole shot, exceptional top end speed and lift – plus improved midrange acceleration-all while maintaining the agility and smooth dry ride in rough water that are Nitro’s trademarks.” According to Nitro, parabolic shapes are stronger than flat or angled surfaces, providing reduced resistance and truer tracking at higher speeds and improved strength to weight ratio in the finished product.
When Nitro combines NVT with their Rapid Planing System (RPS), they say the boat gets up on plane faster, is more efficient (less drag), and turns positively.
Engine and Propeller
Why is ANY outboard engine a distinguishing feature? The short answer is, because it was designed specifically for use in tournament bass boats.
Mercury’s Pro XS Series V-8 engines range from 175 to 300-hp and are aimed at those wanting professional level performance, particularly competitive anglers looking for every advantage they can squeeze out of their equipment. They’re paired with the Torque Master gear case – a beefed up 19-spline stainless steel prop shaft specifically designed for high-speed boats.
Mercury claims its top-of-the-line Fury Propeller, an X7 alloy prop is 30% stronger than standard stainless and provides better top end speed and better hole shots. Our test boat topped out at 76.6 mph WOT at 6200 rpm in our tests.
Sealed touch pad switches are not new, but neither are they common on a small boat. The waterproof, capacitive touch digital keypad is another example of how Nitro deploys technology and that distinguishes them from the competition.
Nitro Z20: Performance
Nitro offers the Z20 with a standard Mercury 225 Pro XS Fourstroke or the upgrade to the 250 Pro XS. Our test boat had the optional 250 ($1,180) on an optional 12” (30.48 cm) T-H Marine hydraulic jackplate.
The Nitro Z20 measures 20’2” (6.15 m) long with a 7’10” (2.39 m) beam and the hull draws 16” (40.6 cm). The empty weight is listed at 2,000 lbs. (907 kg). With two people, 30 gallons (114 L) of fuel and test equipment on board, we had an estimated test weight of 3,105 lbs. (1,408 kg).
Our 250-hp Mercury four-stroke outboard motor spun a stainless-steel 14” x 24” (35.5 x 60.9 cm) Fury three-blade X7 Alloy propeller.
Top Speed. We ran the engine up to 6200 rpm, hitting a top speed of 76.6 mph (122.3 kph).
Best cruise came at 3000 rpm where we saw 26.3 mph (42.3 kph) and a fuel burn of 5.3 gph (20 lph), giving us 5.0 mpg (2.1 kpl) and a range of 223 statute miles (358.88 km) while holding 10 percent of the boat’s 50-gallon (189 L) fuel capacity in reserve.
Nitro Z20: Acceleration
The Z20 is equipped with Nitro’s Rapid Planing System and she leveled off in 3.8 seconds and ran through 20 mph (32.1 kph) in 5.3 seconds and through 30 mph (48.2 kph) in 7.7 seconds.
Nitro Z20: Handling
The Z20 wants to climb up onto the pad and haul the mail. In arcing turns, she holds her line well and completes the maneuver. Running across boat wakes or through chop, just touch the down button on the trim and she rides smoothly. A side note, water doesn’t wash over the transom during deceleration.
Mid-range acceleration with the four-stroke motor is strong enough to plant passengers in their seats.
Nitro Z20: Boat Inspection
Nitro Z20: Cockpit
The twin Z-Core bucket seats are built with Force Flex suspension and contoured frames. Nitro team angler Kevin VanDam worked with the company on the seat design. The collaboration worked, as we found the seats comfortable and supportive, even at 75 mph (120.7 kph).
The removable second console has a locking glovebox with an opening that measures 16” (406. cm) wide and 6” (15.24cm) tall. There are grab handles forward and outboard.
Outboard of the port seat is a carpeted ramp for butt ends for six rods. Forward under the console, there are six dedicated racks for fishing rods plus additional storage just inboard forward of the angled footrest.
To starboard, the helm console has Veethree analog gauges, including the tachometer with an integrated trim indicator to port, the speedometer with a built-in fuel gauge to starboard and instruments for water pressure and volts. The Lowrance Hook2 5 fishfinder comes standard and owners can choose from a plethora of additional electronics.
To port of the tilt steering wheel are the master power and ignition switches. On the starboard side of the steering wheel, a panel houses the switches for navigation/anchor lights, the bilge pumps and all the livewell controls. Just below are the switches for the livewell pumps.
Outboard to starboard are the stereo remote and the conventional shift/throttle controls. The Z20 comes standard with hydraulic steering and on a boat that tops 75 mph, we would add the optional foot throttle and turn-signal-style trim switches so drivers can keep their hands on the wheel.
Bow Casting Deck
Between the consoles are steps up to the forward casting deck. On each side of the step are cupholders and tool racks.
The forward casting has bungee cord tiedowns for rods during a quick run to the next spot.
Forward, the Z20 comes standard with a Minn Kota 24-volt trolling motor with 70 lbs. (32 kg) of thrust and a 42” (106.68 cm) shaft.
Just aft are a tool rack and cupholder, plus the foot pedal for the trolling motor. The boat comes standard with a folding fishing seat built with a composite frame. When the seat is in place in the bow, the trolling motor foot pedal should be a comfortable reach.
New for 2019, there are cupholders inside the center locker, which is lighted, measures 38” (96.52 cm) long by 24” (60.96 cm) wide and has removable dividers. The starboard locker is open and has clips for securing a paddle and a fire extinguisher.
Aft Casting Deck
Moving to the aft casting deck, there’s a 22” (55.88 cm) wide step between the cockpit seats. Beneath the non-skid covered step is a shallow storage tray.
The standard aft deck carpet covers non-fatigue padding, as in the bow.
The second of the two standard fishing seats secures in an in-deck socket so it won’t fly out when underway.
There are four hatches in the aft deck. Those in the center, lift to reveal twin 19-gallon (72 L) Guardian livewells with digital timers, 750-gph (2,839 lph) pumps, a recirculation system and rounded corners. Outboard on each side are removable tubs with slots for seven Plano 3700 tackle trays.
Abaft the livewells, a large hatch opens to provide access to the batteries, switch, charger and other mechanical accessories. The boat comes with dual trolling batteries plus a dedicated engine starting battery.
A hinged panel ahead of the batteries folds up to reveal the bilge and livewell pumps. There’s also a removable tray that drops in place above the batteries for more storage.
Hand-laid fiberglass hulls are built with engineered, woven fiberglass fabric for strength and chopped fiberglass strand for puncture resistance. The Z20’s one-piece stringer grid is constructed with a resin-infused closed molding process and then bonded to the hull to provide longitudinal and transverse supports to the running surface.
Extra-thick, molded knee supports reinforce the transom to hold outboards and shallow-water anchors. The 100-percent composite transom is chemically bonded in place. The deck is both chemically and mechanically bonded to the hull.
To complete the package, the Z20 comes standard on a custom-made trailer that has a swing-away tongue.
Nitro Z20: Equipment Discussion
Nitro combines many of the favorite options together in a “Pro Package” upgrade that saves the buyer $3,530 over individually ordered upgrades. It includes:
• Bow Hummingbird® HELIX™ 9 DI G3N gimbal-mounted fishfinder with MEGA Down Imaging, CHIRP Digital Sonar and GPS
• Console Hummingbird® HELIX™ 10 SI G3N flush-mounted fishfinder with MEGA Down Imaging, CHIRP Digital Sonar and GPS
• 2 Minn Kota® 10’ (3.05 m) Talon shallow-water anchors (bracket mounted, dealer installed)
• Minn Kota® Ultrex® 36V, 112-lb. (50.8 kg) thrust, 45” (1.14 m) shaft trolling motor with Universal Sonar 2 and i-Pilot® Link™
• 3-way ethernet communication between bow and console fishfinders and trolling motor
• T-H Marine G-Force Conservation livewell culling system
• Power-adjust pneumatic lumbar support for driver’s seat
• Factory-applied keel protector
• 1 standard and 1 automatic bilge pump
• Hot Foot™ throttle and Pro-Trim lever
• 4-bank, 40-amp battery charger
• 1 extra trolling battery
• Retractable transom trailer tie downs
Nitro Z20: Optional Equipment to Consider
• Hot Foot™ throttle ($185)
• Trim Lever on wheel ($70)
• Dual trim lever on wheel (requires hydraulic jack plate) ($120)
• Carpet embroidery ($190)
• Spinning rod organizer ($95)
• SmartCraft gauges ($840)
• Ventilation fan in bow storage box ($155)
• Removable port console (factory installed) ($1,025)
• 12” (20.48 cm) TH Marine hydraulic jack plate ($1,070)
• 12” (20.48 cm) Bob’s Marine hydraulic jack plate ($1,150)
• Bluetooth capable Sony stereo system ($350)
• Power-adjust pneumatic lumbar support for driver’s seat ($175)
• Two oxygen generators with shutoff switch ($390)
• Automatic bilge pump ($125)
• Coolguard livewell cooling system (factory install) ($550)
• HydroWave electronic fish attractor ($540)
• Keel Protector in black or white ($315)
• Loc-R-Bar with alarm (dealer install not included) ($230)
• Mooring cover for 2 consoles ($755)
Nitro Z20: Price
- Top speed for the Nitro Z20 (2019-) is 76.6 mph (123.3 kph), burning 23.4 gallons per hour (gph) or 88.57 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Nitro Z20 (2019-) is 26.3 mph (42.3 kph), and the boat gets 5.0 miles per gallon (mpg) or 2.13 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 223 miles (358.88 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 250-hp Mercury Pro XS 4-stroke.
- Time to plane for the Nitro Z20 (2019-) is 3.8 sec. seconds.
- Time from 0 to 30 of the Nitro Z20 (2019-) is 7.7 sec. seconds.
$42,795 with Mercury 225l Pro XS motor and trailer
$43,975 with Mercury upgrade to 250L Pro XS
Nitro Z20: Observations
The Nitro Z20 is a tournament-quality bass boat and when paired with the Mercury Pro XS outboard has the speed to compete. Numerous standard features keep the price down.
With the new hull design, this boat should be able to go toe-to-toe with any bass boat on the market in terms of performance, with like engines. And, she can do that for far less money.
Test Result Highlights
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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