Well after eight years of being a Skeeter ZX225 owner, I made the leap into a 2012 Ranger Z520 with 250HP Yamaha SHO. After spending only a couple of days in this new rig, it very easy to see why the Z520 cost more than the new Skeeter FX series. You can see how much care is put into every little detail on the Ranger. Every buckle, knob, switch, strap, bolt, etc. is high quality. I keep looking for someplace where they might have cut corners, but I can't find anything. This is truly a fishing machine with all of the comforts of a luxury water craft.
All the storage compartments are very well thought out. There's a place for just about everything. I went with a dual console because I fish a lot of team tournaments and also have young kids, so I wanted to make sure "everyone" is comfortable, warm and as dry as they can be. (If I was flying solo, I would have went with the single console). The glove box is a bit smaller than the one in my Skeeter, but the extra compartment between the front seats makes up for the loss of space. There are four cup holders in the cockpit area, along with two good sized bins that are ideal for dropping wet lures into so they can dry off before putting them away. The soft ride seat system that comes standard with the Z520 makes for a really comfortable ride when in ruff water (my back says "thanks"). The rod locker system for me was a huge improvement over what I had in my Skeeter ZX225. I can fit plenty of rods (both spinning and baitcasting) and it is very easy to get to them. In my Skeeter, positioning my reels was always difficult and getting to the rod I wanted was always a chore.
The 250 HP Yamaha SHO four stroke outboard motor is amazing! This motor is super quite and packed with power. The hole shot blows away my old two stroke VMAX and the boat rockets to 60+ MPH in seconds. Currently the top end speed is around 72 MPH, but I plan to tweak the settings of my jack plate to see if I can get the boat up to 74-75 MPH. I must say it is a little strange at first going 60 MPH and being able to talk at a normal voice level to your fishing partner. The sounds of the wind and water against the hull are louder than the motor.
The Ranger trailer blows away my Skeeter trailer... you can see the care that went into every component from the breakaway tongue and boarding steps to the fiberglass fenders that match the paint job and chrome rims. All high quality parts.
Although I've only been a Ranger owner for a few days, I'm proud to say it! My hat goes off to Ranger Boats for the 2012 Z520 and to Yamaha for the 2012 SHO... I'm looking forward to fishing with this rig for many years to come. I guess like the saying goes, "You get what you pay for".