MotorGuide Xi5 a Serious Contender
  |  First Published: August 2014

It’s taken a while, but finally, American electric trolling motor giant, MotorGuide, has released a real alternative to the Minn Kota iPilot. Called the Xi5 (Wireless control) , it’s a servo-driven, GPS enabled electric motor that can lock you to a spot, re-create routes and even allow manipulation of a locked position on the fly.

And it’s shipping right now.

Demonstrated by Mercury’s Paul McLean at the recent Mercury conference and Media Day at Sanctuary Cove, it was obvious that he was excited about the product. MotorGuide have always made ultra-reliable and simple cable-driven bow-mount electric motors, but lacked in the servo-driven models.

I’m unsure about you, but the annoying beeps that the old foot controller made were enough to make me want to take up golf.

There are several compelling reasons to consider the Xi5, though, so let’s break them down.

1. Pinpoint GPS. Fitted with two digital compasses, this motor can ‘anchor’ you to a spot, steer to a compass bearing and record and re-play routes. But the very best feature for serious anglers is the ability to manipulate your position while virtually anchored with the press of a button. Called “Jog”, each press of a button moves you 1.5m forward, backward, port or starboard. It’s a super handy feature considering that unlocking and relocking on a spot can be very difficult to do with precision.

2. Speed of turning. Motor Guide claims the Xi5 is designed to be quick and quiet – rotating 360 degrees 50% quicker than the opposition. This seems to be indeed the case. It’s quick and quiet.

3. LED gauges. There’s no screen on the remote control, but there’s a panel of LEDs that indicate status (of battery, GPS and prop movement) on the motor base that’s simple to read at a glance.

4. Intuitive foot pedal. Powered by a couple of AA batteries, the wireless foot pedal mirrors the function of a cable steer, with front/back movement instead of side/side controlling steering. Importantly, there’s an “Anchoring” button on the foot control as well as the standard momentary/constant buttons and the variable speed control. Just make sure it doesn’t blow out of the boat between spots.

5. Inbuilt transducer on FW models. The Freshwater models have an inbuilt, dual frequency transducer that will work with major brand fish finders. Note that these aren’t available on Saltwater models.

There’s a number of iterations of these motors. Both Freshwater and Saltwater versions come in shaft lengths (48” to 60”) and thrusts (55lb/12v, 80lb/24v and 105lb/36v), however, the FW unit comes with a foot pedal as standard while the SW unit is supplied with a hand held remote/lanyard only. Naturally, you can purchase the complementary controller to suit.

Tempting a lot of users to make the change will be the price. A non-GPS FW/12v unit will set you back around $1,400, a 55lb GPS enabled Saltwater model around $2,000 and the most loaded model in the range with every accessory imaginable in the 36v/105lb version around $2,700.

Check them out at www.motorguide.com.au and visit www.mercurymarine.com.au for your local dealer locator.

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