MotorGuide Xi3 (and similar remote controlled trolling motors)?

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Apr 24, 2017
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Along the theme of transferring weight from the stern of my boat, does anyone have anything good to say about trolling motors that you use with a remote? This would be for the boat in my sig. Typically I just stay seated in the back of the boat when I have it out.

The transom of my boat is narrow, so a transom-mount trolling motor is off in the corner and 2/3 of the clamp actually catches the transom, just due to the transom design. It is not a great arrangement, this older motor is not the easiest to tilt, and I'm looking to move weight forward. I've seen projects where people added a platform to the bow of their boat to add a bow-mounted trolling motor. I would not want a foot pedal to take up space in a small boat, so remote in my hand seems like a good option.

If I'm fishing with my young boys, I guess it seems silly to switch from a transom mount to a bow mount motor, then have to walk forward, then back to my seat, but my oldest will soon be old enough to help lay the motor over the side.

Seems that the MotorGuide Xi3 is one of the more economical remote-controlled options. Is that a true statement?:

Models with GPS would be nice, but not necessary. I'm not loyal to a brand but I think the Minn Kotas get expensive very quickly once a remote control is an option

I have lots of good things to say about remote control motor.
I fish on an electric only reservoirs and my minn kota ulterra 80 is wonderful.
It deploys and stores with the push of a button
It trims with just a push of another button
I can set a speed I like and regardless of the current/wind I maintain that speed (with in reason)
I can program a route, either for trolling or destination
I can hold a position with spot lock
So far 5 years and running no problems
I have a Minn Kota Power Drive which at the time I purchased it was among the lower end Minn Kota models (if there is such a thing) with a remote. Even though it doesn't have all the features CRS mentions about his Ulterra, I agree with what he has to say about using the remote. For my style of fishing (trolling) the remote is terrific. I will occasionally push the wrong button and wonder why the TM is doing weird stuff. But that is just part of the learning curve.

Having the i-Pilot interface with my fish finder would be nice. I have the right brand FF, but it does not include that technology (too old like me). I didn't want to put out the $$ for that kind of upgrade. If I ever upgrade the FF, I think I might be able to add the i-Pilot link to my existing TM, but not sure. But this is really off the topic of remotes.
I have an XI5. There isn't anything economical about these things! I bought mine used, as the previous owner was getting something bigger and better! Another thing about the ones with remotes is that you can use them to "park" your boat while you go park your truck and trailer. They come in handy for steering your rig if you use a kicker motor also. The Ulterra mentioned above with the automatic deploy and stow feature is really nice! Wish mine had it.
I have the Xi3 (Bass Pro 52# version) on a 14’ Mirrocraft. I get really good battery life and it is really easy to deploy and retract. I do have a transducer mounted to it but you really have to watch the transducer cable.

I have updated mine with GPS and really love the anchor lock and heading lock.

The remote works great, but when using a rod and steering can be a pain, especially if you are used to foot pedal. It’s not that big of a deal, but takes some getting use too. When trolling it is really nice to be anywhere in the boat.

As far as price you may want to check a Bass Pro, they have a Bass Pro only version that has better pricing. From my research the only difference is a 52# motor, instead of 55#.
I have an xi3 55 lb. on my 14’ Blue Fin. Bought it without gps a few years ago because that’s what fit my budget at the time. I found it a little inconvenient at first, because for my style of fishing, which is working shorelines, I really didn’t like having to take my hand off my reel to keep adjusting the motor. Bought the remote foot control and that was leaps and bounds more convenient. Word of advice if you get the foot pedal, you’ll want to replace the springs under the pedal with weaker ones, otherwise it is very hard to control. YouTube has a few videos on how to do this. Last year I upgraded the xi3 to gps, and this year added a Lowrance Elite 7 TI-2 to my setup. A gateway kit goes between the motor and TI-2 for communication. Now I can control the motor, heading, anchor mode, etc. right from the fish finder. I’ve had no issues at all with my motor so far, and I think an xi3 would be a great starting point, because of the available upgrades, which you can do as budget or other circumstances change. The xi3 does not have auto stow and deploy, but is actually quite easy to do manually for me. Hope this info helps, and hope you make lots of happy lifelong memories fishing with your kids.

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I have a Terrova with Ipilot, which is more or less like an Xi5. I have the foot pedal but have only used it once or twice in 3 years, drive it with the remote 99% of the time.

It really depends on the type of fishing that you do. I like to troll or fish vertical, so the remote works well for that.

If you are the type that likes to run down a bank, or through marinas fishing around docks where careful maneuvers are required, a cable steer is really the best thing to have, but has it's own set of drawbacks.

Electric steer motors have a pretty slow response time, it takes several seconds for them to turn 180*. A cable or hand operated motor will do the same thing in nothing flat.

Additionally, they typically come with a foot pedal that has a pretty long cable, can drive it from anywhere in the boat, hands free.
I have a Xi3 Bass Pro version (was listed at 52lb thrust vs 55 for regular one... not sure if there is a real difference). First on my 14ft john boat and now on my 17ft sea nymph and love it. Its easy to deploy and retract and once out I just sit at the back and guide it from there. Heading lock is amazingly useful for me. And it has enough power to push my 17 ft boat almost 3mph into a decent headwind. Best money Ive spent on my boat by far.
Yes, like others, I have a lot of good things to say about my Motorguide Xi3. I thought the remote might get in the way of fishing, and I’m sure it does to some extent (compared to foot pedals that leave your hands totally free), but it hasn’t had a noticeable difference on my fishing to where I felt like it was a hindrance. Takes some getting used with the controls. I like mine a lot, and have fished from the back of my 14’ boat while operating the motor. Very handy. Also, being a fellow Michigan guy, I liked that Motorguide is based out of Lowell.

1. The Motorguide lanyard is very uncomfortable and grabbed my neck hair stubble. Super annoying. After the first trip I threw it in the trash and upgraded.
2. All the beeping from activating/deactivating different settings/programs, but the settings can be changed to minimize audio feedback based on your personal preference.

Is Motorguide economical? Comparatively Motorguide tends to run a little less expensive than similar Minn Kota models.

You mentioned not needing GPS. I’d say while not needed it is VERY useful, both with the Spot Lock feature and with Heading Lock modes. I use heading Heading Lock All THE TIME while trolling river banks for bass. I haven’t played with route storage yet, but I’ve used GPS functions more than I thought I would. It’s my first year with the new motor but two thumbs up so far.
I too fish From the back of the boat. Terrova 80 lb i-Pilot link. Love it. I was an early fan of remote motors. I have had one 20 plus years. Power drive with copilot was the fist one I bought. No matter the brand your not tied to a pedal. Cable motors steer faster but I have never felt like it doesn’t turn fast enough.
I also have the XI5. Love it. The remote is great. I never use the foot pedal. GPS and anchor mode is great. Not cheap though. My buddy just bought one at a good price online somewhere. $1200 delivered
I have a Minn Kota on my Princecraft and a Motorguide on the pontoon boat. Both work great, but the Minn Kota is a little nicer, as it has the Autopilot. I really like them both so I can let the kids fish up front, and I just keep a watchful eye.

I HATE always having my foot stuck on a pedal or my hand stuck to a tiller now that I've used remote control. I'm ruined.

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