Test Driver Roger Raymond offers his thoughts on the 2013 Can-Am Maverick 1000 X rs vs. Polaris RZR XP 900 LE shootout. You can read the full shootout article and see our video report here.

History: Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and diesel system engineer. Designed, prototyped, and tested a mechatronic CVT for use on recreational vehicles (particularly snowmobiles). Published in “Transactions,” the professional journal for the Society of Automotive Engineers ( SAE); “Best of Show” at the SAE conference in Gras, Austria.

Hobbies: Snowmobiling, Motorcycling, Hunting, Fishing, Snow and Water Skiing, Competitive Archery, Rifle and Pistol shooting, Rock Crawling, Cycling, Running.

Off-road motorized recreation skills and experience: Motorcycling and back country snowmobiling since 1980. Raced collegiate BAJA for three years.

2013 CanAm Maverick 1000R X RS Scorecard

Steering input and feedback – 3 Excellent

There was no fear of under or over steering. It gave just the right amount of road feel. It Never jerked or resisted. I had the most confidence in the Maverick.  It did however tend to nose dive while jumping at the sand dunes. Usually this can be adjusted out with suspension tuning, but must be considered.

Engine power – 2 Good

On the flat it is very impressive. The torque on the bottom end is impressive.  Hills or long straight roads make you want more power.  One can never have too much power.

Clutching – 2 Good

It was very fun in factory trim. I am confident that more performance was available with proper tuning. The engagement was very smooth for rock crawling, and it favored the high drag of the sand dunes. The main driven clutch bolt came out and left us stranded. I’m not sure if it was a fluke or a common problem.  The transmission seems light duty for such a big machine.

Traction – 3 Excellent

The tires were excellent and the weight balance front to rear was nearly perfect. Both acceleration and breaking were fantastic. The amount of drift and skate were exactly what I would wish for, and provided maximum confidence at high speed.

The air pressure recommended by the factory may have been slightly higher than ideal, and a few pounds may have improved ride and traction even more.

Cockpit (gauges, leg room, steering wheel fit to hands, ergonomics – 3 Excellent

At 6’2” 190 lbs I fit perfect in the cockpit. The adjustable steering wheel was spot on. The gauges were easy to read, and everything is within reach. It was easy to get in and out of the cockpit, and the only concerns I had were the top of the headrest created a blind spot.

Seats – 3 Excellent

The seat felt like you would expect a Porsche or F-16 to feel. It is the best I have felt in a side-by-side.  A five-point harness would be a nice improvement.

Fit and Finish – 3 Excellent

The fit and finish is top notch. The seat belt has a nice supported buckle that is easy to insert and remove. The cluster and plastic look high end and makes you feel like you are in a Baja trophy truck.

Overall looks and appeal – 3 Excellent

Overall general comments

I think the Maverick edged out the competition by a small margin. There are more things I would like to check, like clutch adjustments, suspension tuning, and durability. But with the information given to date, I would take the Maverick.

2013 Polaris RZR 900 XP LE EPS Scorecard

Steering input and feedback – 2 Good

With its power steering and light rear end, you can just think turn and the RZR almost steers on its own. Even an inexperienced pilot can drift corners at speed and slide the rear around corners. When pushing it to the limits, you have to be careful not to oversteer and spin out.  The back end can feel a little loose and skatey at higher speeds.

Engine power – 2 Good

On the flat it is very impressive. The torque on the bottom end is impressive.  Hills or long straight roads make you want more power.  One can never have too much power.

Clutching – 2 Good

It was very fun in factory trim. I am confident that more performance was available with proper tuning. The engagement was a little jerky for rock crawling, and it favored the low drag of the desert compared to the sand dunes where it wouldn’t hold RPM.

Traction – 2 Good

The tires were excellent and the weight balance front to rear was good but made the back a little skatey. This is more of a preference thing than a problem. Both acceleration and breaking were fantastic.

The air pressure recommended by the factory may have been slightly higher than ideal, and a few pounds may have improved ride and traction even more.

Cockpit (gauges, leg room, steering wheel fit to hands, ergonomics – 2 Good

The cab is generally comfortable and easy to sit in. The view of the trail is excellent and is probably the best for rock crawling. The gauges are to the right of the steering wheel which is not my favorite, but work well. I frequently noticed that my foot would hit a bump on the floor which prevented me from pushing the accelerator to the floor.

Seats – 2 Good

The seats are very adequate and gave me no problems. They are comfortable and work fine, just not as good as the others.

Fit and Finish – 2 Good

When compared to the competition, the fit and finish come up a little bit short. Not that any one thing is poor, just that it feels less fancy than the others.  On the flip side, it has more aftermarket support than all of the others combined, which for some would resolve its slight shortcoming.

Overall looks and appeal – 2 Good

Looking at it from a distance it gives the appearance of speed. It looks mean and fast.

Overall general comments

The more I tested the RZR the more I realized it is a force to be reckoned with. I think that the small perceived deficiencies could be adjusted out and tuned away.

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