In this article, we’re comparing two of Minn Kota’s best-selling trolling motors: the Terrova and the Ulterra.
The Terrova is a proven, durable, and mechanically more simple design. The Ulterra comes with automatic Stow, Deploy, and Trim features which sets it apart.
Are these features worth the extra money?
Let’s find out!
Minn Kota Terrova and Ulterra Compared
|Pricing||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon|
Universal Sonar 2
Universal Sonar 2
|Shaft||45", 54", 60", 72"||45", 60", 72"|
|Steering||Electric Steer||Electric Steer|
|Use In||Freshwater & Saltwater|
|Freshwater & Saltwater|
Both trolling motors have their saltwater-capable versions, called the Riptide Terrova and the Riptide Ulterra.
Motors and Voltage
Both the Terrova and the Ulterra have an 80-lb and 112-lb thrust version, powered by 24 volts and 36 volts accordingly.
The Terrova also has a less powerful 12-volt motor version, which delivers 55 pounds of thrust. It’s a great option if you have a smaller boat.
All motors come with the Digital Maximizer, or a variable-speed motor controller, which delivers power smoothly forward and in reverse. No energy is wasted, and you get more run time off your battery.
Autopilot allows your trolling motor to steer on its own in the set direction.
It uses a compass to keep a steady heading and can be used in many ways, for example, trolling along a shoreline, a ledge, or shelf.
Minn Kota’s autopilot makes automatic corrections for wind, waves and current.
i-Pilot or i-Pilot Link
i-Pilot is GPS trolling motor system that you control with a wireless remote.
You can steer, control speed, spot-lock onto fishing spots and more, just by pressing a button on the remote.
i-Pilot Link can do everything i-Pilot does but offers extra features including integration with a Humminbird fish finder. Unlike the standard i-Pilot, i-Pilot Link comes with a touchscreen remote.
You can learn more about i-Pilot Link on the Minn Kota’s website.
Electric-Steer and Foot Pedals
You can steer both trolling motors either with a foot pedal or the i-Pilot remote.
The steering is fully electric. There is no physical connection between the pedal and the steering mechanism.
The pedal on the Ulterra has more functions, notably Auto Stow/Deploy.
Sonars and Transducers
Both trolling motors include a Universal Sonar 2 as standard, but you can upgrade to MEGA Down and Side Imaging for additional features.
Universal Sonar 2
As the name suggests, this sonar can be used with various fish finders such as Humminbird, Lowrance, Garmin, and Eagle.
What’s great about it is that the transducer that is fully integrated with the lower unit.
The wiring runs through the shaft and the connectors are shielded to minimize interference.
These built-in transducers send images directly to your Humminbird fish finder. They are fully integrated with the lower motor section, which means there are no additional cables or connectors involved.
MEGA Down Imaging is available on both the Terrova and Ulterra as an option.
However, only the Ulterra has the option of MEGA Side/Down Imaging.
Both motors have a shaft made of material that makes them sturdy and yet allows for some flexing.
Keep in mind that neither the Terrova nor Ulterra comes with a break-away mechanism that will protect the shaft in case of hard impact.
The Minn Kota Terrova requires minimal effort for stowing, thanks to the spring-loaded mechanism.
However, it’s still a manual process. If you want to lift your motor, you will need to get to your boat’s bow, which can be tricky in rough weather conditions.
There is no power trim on the Terrova. If you want to adjust the depth of the motor, you have to do it manually.
Ulterra: Auto Stow/Deploy and Power Trim
Many anglers love the Ulterra for the ability to automatically deploy, stow, and adjust the motor’s trim at the push of a button.
The ability to automatically stow and deploy is fantastic.
It can be dangerous to leave the helm to go to the bow to deploy the trolling motor, especially in windy or choppy conditions.
With the Ulterra, there is no need to get up to stow or deploy your trolling motor.
You will appreciate this, especially if you fish on larger lakes or if you like solo fishing.
Want to deploy or stow your motor? Just press a button.
One of the best features of the Ulterra is that you can adjust the trim using your i-Pilot. Power trim is very handy in those situations when it gets too shallow, and you need to lift the motor quickly.
Want to adjust the depth of your motor? Again, just press a button on your remote.
Auto Stow/Deploy Reliability
With the convenience of the auto stow/deploy mechanism comes a small risk of malfunction. When the Ulterra loses power for some reason, it can’t be stowed automatically.
You will then have to stow it manually, which is not difficult, but it requires tools and working in an awkward position.
Fortunately, it happens very rarely, especially with the latest Ulterra models.
According to Minn Kota, after the 2017 re-design, the Ulterra warranty claims are similar to other trolling motors.
Nevertheless, this risk makes many anglers worried, especially when they fish in sub-zero temperatures. One way to reduce this stress is to mount your Ulterra on a quick release bracket, for example, the MKA-51.
It would be even better if Minn Kota designed the release system so that you can lift the motor manually if the auto stow refuses to work.
Verdict: Is the Ulterra Worth the Extra Money?
Just like with many things in life, it comes down to personal preference.
It’s a great feeling not to have to go to the front of the boat, especially in rough waters.
If you want to automatically stow, deploy and trim your motor at a push of a button, the Ulterra will make you happy.
These 3 features are the main reasons anglers choose the Ulterra.
Why Would You Choose the Terrova Instead?
The Terrova is one of Minn Kota’s best-selling trolling motors for a reason. It’s an excellent i-Pilot trolling motor, and without the automatic stow/deploy mechanism it is less expensive.
If you fish on the bow of your boat 100% of the time and you don’t mind deploying and stowing by hand, you should go for the Terrova and save yourself some money in the process.