Boat Buyer's Guide 2014
Author: Alan Jones
High on the wish list of many bass anglers is a tournament bass boat like Ranger’s Z521 Comanche, but not everyone can afford the flagship model. Serious bass anglers unwilling to compromise can still get the highly capable Z119C for less than $50,000. And this year it’s been redesigned to include many of the features on Ranger’s top-of-the-line models, such as a centerline rod locker that can hold eight rods up to 8 feet long while still being able to accommodate up to eight Plano tackle boxes in the same lighted, lockable compartment. That’s in addition to a port-side rod locker that has tubes to protect delicate rod tips along with a power ventilation system to keep gear dry. The bow section now carries its beam father forward to give the primary angler more working space on the padded forward casting deck. Seemingly small features such as the offset position of the forward fishfinder are huge, because the cord can no longer obscure the screen.
Our test boat is powered by the Evinrude E-TEC 225 HO, which has a two-way engine exhaust system that maximizes performance both out of the hole and at the top end, right where bass anglers need it. The Z119C performed well with 225 hp, which is this boat’s max. Stomping on the optional Hot Foot throttle pushed the 19-foot, 6-inch Z119C on plane in just 2.9 seconds with less bowrise than exhibited by most bass boats. It hit 30 mph in 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 71.3 mph. One of this Ranger’s best traits is its remarkable side-to-side stability and enhanced tracking, even at trolling-motor speeds, thanks to its Rite-Trac Keel that keeps more hull in the water.
Ranger’s attention to detail carries through to its standard RangerTrail trailer, which is manufactured at its Flippin, Ark., plant. It features Road Armor undercoating for protection along with a Cool Hub lubrication system. The fiberglass fenders look great, can’t rust and even have built-in step-ups. Gelcoat-finished compartment interiors prove Ranger sweats the details. The Z119 comes ready to fish with standard features such as the 24v Fourtrex 80 trolling motor, a split rear livewell that has a pro-style recirculating pump and dual Lowrance electronics.