2023 Nitro Z21 XL

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Nitro resides at the apex of professional tournament bass boats, and Kevin Van Dam has kept it in the spotlight with his many tournament wins on this boat. The new Z21 XL enhances its looks, fishability and competitive edge. At a suggested list price of under $85,000 as tested, it features a Mercury 250 Pro XS outboard and SeaStar hydraulic steering. Engine trim and jack-plate controls are “blinker” style on the tilt-wheel column.

Nitro Z21 XL flying on the lake
Sleek looks combined with great performance. Courtesy Nitro

With our setup, we ran this Nitro a tick over 70 mph at 6,000 rpm with a 23-pitch Mercury Fury propeller. That’s pretty swift with 500 pounds of boat testers and a nearly three-quarters tank of fuel. Handling-wise, the Nitro clipped the tops off foot-high wind chop at 65 mph without losing stability. The 18-degree multistrake padded -V-hull makes for a dry ride. With both hands on the wheel and the trim/jack controls in fingertip reach, the 16-degree deadrise hull was easy to handle. Hard-over wheel exercises yielded clean turns. 

Outside, the sharp black and red gelcoat gave a sleek and crisp appearance. 

Aboard, the foredeck is fitted with an optional Lowrance Ghost trolling motor with autopilot and GPS lock. The foot pedal is recessed in a drop-down mount to keep down deck clutter. A second 12-inch Lowrance HDS graph could easily accompany another if desired. Dual rod lockers carry a full quiver of seven rods each, plus 18 Plano 3700 tackle boxes. The step to the cockpit conceals a cooler, sandwich bin and trash receptacle. Another 20-tube dual-tier rod-storage system is in the portside compartment; the starboard compartment is for bulk dry storage.

Nitro Z21 XL helm
The optional 12-inch Lowrance HDS Live is surrounded by Mercury electronic analog gauges. Courtesy Nitro

The helm provided plenty of space for the optional 12-inch Lowrance HDS Live surrounded by Mercury electronic analog gauges. The brand-new-for-2023 7-inch digital touchscreen controls all electrical features on board. An optional Hot Foot throttle is on a sliding plate for custom adjustment. 

This Nitro converts to a dual-console boat with an optional console that quickly bolts into place.

Anglers looking for a complete package that performs at a competitive price will be hard-pressed to ignore Nitro’s Z21 XL.

Nitro Z21 XL tackle storage
Tackle storage abounds. Courtesy Nitro

How We Tested

  • Engine: Mercury 250 hp Pro XS FourStroke
  • Drive/Prop: Outboard/Mercury Fury 14″ x 23″ 3-blade stainless steel
  • Gear Ratio: 1.75:1 Fuel Load: 38 gal. Crew Weight: 500 lb.

Pricing and Specs

Price: $84,755 (as tested)
LOA: 21’2″
Beam: 7’11”
Draft: 1’4″
Dry Weight: 2,150 lb.
Seat/Weight Capacity: 4/825 lb.
Fuel Capacity: 60 gal.
Livewell Capacity: Dual 19 gal. livewells

Speed, Efficiency, Operation

Nitro Z21 XL performance data
Nitro Z21 XL Certified Test Results Boating Magazine

Nitro – Springfield, Missouri; nitro.com

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Source: https://www.boatingmag.com/boats/2023-nitro-z21-xl-fwbbg/