The bold 2017 Can-Am Maverick X3, Can-Am’s new flagship super sport UTV was first unveiled at Club BRP in Orlando in mid-August. We did get the opportunity to have some limited time behind the wheel at the dealer meeting after the vehicles official unveiling. This brief demo ride however simply fueled our senses and left us longing for some legitimate seat time.
A few weeks following the dealer show, the much-anticipated invite appeared in our inbox. We would be crossing 2 borders in our journey to get to know the Can-Am Maverick X3, as Can-Am as their playground of choice boldly selected Baja Mexico!
For those of you who maybe unfamiliar with Baja, this place is renowned for two reasons: for hosting the Baja series Off-road race and for boasting some of the toughest terrain in off-road. To safely navigate these terrains, Can-Am enlisted the help of Bruce Anderson from GoBajariding.com. Bruce was confided with the following missions: show us the way, provide for a fun and exhilarating experience and most important, ensure we all returned in one piece. For this, a big thumbs up to Bruce and the entire team at GoBajariding.com for excelling on every directive and providing us with an experience that will always remain… unforgettable.
Before getting into the Can-Am Maverick X3 review, it is important to note that the vehicle is available in 3 versions: Maverick X3 (base model), Maverick X3 X ds and finally the Maverick X3 X rs. Over our 2-day experience we did have the opportunity to get behind the wheel of each version. However this review will be based on the model which we had the most seat time in, the Maverick X3 X rs.
CAN-AM MAVERICK X3 HIGHLIGHTS
The Can-Am Maverick X3 family is powered by the same power plant, which is located in the rear of the chassis: an inline triple-cylinder, turbocharged and intercooled Rotax ACE 900cc engine.
SUSPENSION & SHOCKS
The Maverick X3 X rs features a new rear TTX suspension which provides for 24 inches (61 cm) of suspension travel. Upfront the new double tubular A-arm suspension supplies 22 inches (55.9 cm) of travel. This setup is trophy-truck inspired and provides for 15 inches (38.1 cm) of ground clearance.
Upfront you will also find fully-adjustable FOX 2.5 Podium RC2 PHG Piggyback shocks with bypass and dual-speed compression and rebound. On the business end there are FOX 3.0 Podium RC2 HPG shocks with remote reservoir and bypass, paired with dual-speed compression and rebound adjustments.
TIRES, WHEELS AND BRAKES
The Maverick X3 X rs sits on a set of 14-inch (35.6 cm) aluminum beadlock wheels mounted on 30-inch / 76.2 cm Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires. For superior stopping power, the unit is brought to a stop by twin piston calipers and 262 mm discs up front, and twin piston calipers and 248 mm discs at the rear.
COCKPIT AND ERGONOMICS
Over the years Can-Am has earned the reputation of producing vehicles with the best fit and finish in the industry. This becomes most evident when you take a first look at the Maverick X3.
The unit’s exterior is bold and stylish and the overall design is dominate in nature. Can-Am’s unique coloration of gold and red screams for attention and seems almost inspired by Marvel’s Ironman. For those of you with a darker side, the Maverick X3 X rs is also offered in the new triple black coloration.
Once seated in the unit, you will immediately notice the low seating position. This bold seating position connects you to the unit and allows you to quickly react to its every move. The four-way adjustable seats provide excellent comfort and optimal positioning. You will also notice that the unit is designed with a wide field of view which easily allows the occupants to have a clear line of sight.
All the controls are easily accessible and of course all the necessary gauges are readily at your disposable: the multifunction analog / digital gauge includes a speedometer, tachometer, odometer, trip and hour meters, fuel, gear position, sport mode, ECOTM mode, seat belt and 4×4 indicators, diagnostics, clock and auto shut-off.
You will also find 2.5 gallon / 9.4 L of cockpit storage via a fixed glove box and center console. While on the subject of storage this is an opportune time to mention the external storage. Externally the unit features a rear rack with a 200-pound (91 kg) capacity, enough room for an overnight bag and some essential gear. The rear rack works with the LinQ system, which allows you to easily install add-on storage options.
Creature comforts are also on the menu and include: tilt steering, passenger grab bars, angled footrests, center console and dual cup holders. The center console also includes a lighter type DC outlet for added convenience.
The only negative aspect I personally found with the overall design was with the door latch mechanism. Can-Am decided to use a fabric strap versus a button or latch type mechanism. To operate the doors, you reach for and pull on the fabric strap that is located on the interior of the door. Nothing wrong with the strap mind you, it clearly does the job. However I found it cumbersome at times as I was always looking for the button/latch since I am so used to that type of door mechanism.
During our 2-day adventure we covered well over 200 Milles (322 km) of Baja trails. Our first day was spent alternating between the Maverick X3 (base model) and the Maverick X3 X ds. We covered some exceptional trails and scenic landscapes on our first day, starting in Santo Tomas and arriving at Mike’s Sky Ranch just before sunset with 100 miles (160 km) +/- under our belts.
The next morning our turn had finally come to get behind the wheel of the Maverick X3 X rs. Also much to our surprise and due to the circumstances of that day, we would spend the next 100 miles (160 km) +/- behind its wheel. We felt fortunate as this would probably be the last time we had a chance to drive this beast, as its 72-inch (183 cm) width makes it illegal on our provincial trails.
The first clean stretch that presented itself, we “punched it”. Power deliver was smooth and intensified as the turbo spooled. The more we squeezed the pedal, the more it delivered and it was an exhilarating feeling to say the least. We had read and familiarized ourselves with the specifications, especially the ones that sent all of social media into a buzz for days after the announcement: 154hp, 0-60 MPH in 4.9 seconds. However, reading and experiencing is a whole other ball game. There was no denying this unit was fast and responsive and managed to fuse the two brilliantly.
Our journey continued and eventually led us to the famous “goat trail”. Goat trail is a steep and narrow climb and this is where we were able to experience some of the low-range abilities of the Maverick X3 X rs. This rocky section was slow and technical to traverse, nonetheless the unit’s ground clearance and suspension travel allowed to soak up the deep ruts and to conquer this terrain.
The next section of trail would ultimately lead us to El Alamo, but to get there we needed to navigate through some of the toughest trail conditions yet. This section of trail was super fast with major g-outs and some serious whoops. The more we travelled through this terrain, the more we realized that the Maverick X3 X rs was built for this, as it ate up everything in its path. The unit handled exceptionally well in this fast paced section and it was astonishing to see how well this trophy-truck inspired suspension simply soaked up the big hits.
The final section of our ride was though the Baja Pine Forest at Laguna Hanson. After battling the trails hard all day, it was nice to layoff the pedal and simply soak in the scenery this section of our journey provided.
Overall and simply put, the Can-Am Maverick X3 X rs is the evolution of the sport UTV. Power, suspension and comfort all fused together to great the ultimate desert machine. Although this term is often and loosely used, it this case, the Can-Am Maverick X3 X rs truly is a game changer.
In closing I would just like to add that this has been a trip I will soon not forget. Although I haven’t elaborated that much on the overall Baja trip experience, I would highly recommend it to any off-roader. If you wish to experience Baja for yourself, do not hesitate to use the services of Bruce Anderson from GoBajariding.com. Bruce and his team will allow you to experience the authentic Baja experience and as an added bonus will return you in one piece so you can share the experience!