Getting to know the most powerful Maverick to date
After much anticipation and a brief demo ride the morning after its unveiling, I was looking forward to getting some genuine seat time in 2017 Can-Am Maverick X3 X rs Turbo R.
Engine: 900 cc Turbocharged Triple-cylinder
Power: 154 hp
Suspension Travel: 22 /24 in (front/rear)
Length x Width x Height: 132 x 72 x 67 in
Baja is known for its fierce and unrelenting wide open desert. Its rocky landscape seems to be made for tearing open the toughest tires, while the long sand whoops and silt beds eat away at the suspension and internal combustion components. This is where the toughest off-road race on the North American continent, the Baja 1000, is held. Only guides like Bruce Anderson are qualified to get you into and safely back from the most exotic places where man is the outsider. Bruce’s main goal is that everybody returns home safely after a fun ride and I was all in for that!
Starting from the side of the road in Santo Tomas, my first experience in the Maverick X3 X rs Turbo would be the most enlightening of the days ahead. This machine and the view from the inside of the cab makes you feel invincible. Slipping down into the triple black X rs high back seat, it was time to belt up and hang on. Seating was very accommodating and felt comfortable once tucked inside. The initial learning curve for entry is somewhat difficult for a guy my size, as I hit my knee several times before getting a good solid entry down. Sliding the seat forward just a bit was all I needed to get my pedal distance correct for the ride. You can also drop the seat by as much as two inches, but the stock position for height worked better for me. The down-into-the-cab feel is confidence inspiring and seeing those massive 30-inch Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires out beside the car make you feel like you can conquer the world.
Our initial trip up through the small town of Santo Tomas was smooth and controlled as the locals were running the roads on daily chores, but just outside of town over the hill top it was time to measure the power of this new triple cylinder, turbo-charged machine with as much accuracy as possible. Power deliver is smooth and comes on gradually right off idle. As the turbo spools up, the power hits and is even more aggressive from that point on. The pull you feel in the seat of this machine is consistent and I couldn’t help but wonder if the tires were catching any ground at all or maybe they were just exploding behind me.
As you drop the gas pedal to the floor, the rear of the machine squats and launches forward. The Rotax fuel injected engine is turbo charged, but the cool fact here is that it is Can-Am’s turbo. The very first of its kind from this manufacturer, the turbo was developed specifically for this engine and I’d have to say Can-Am engineers are on to something. There is speculation from some engine builders who have had this beast on the dyno that the turbo is wound up near its limit for this design, but I have seen no documented proof just yet. All I know is that when I’m on the gas it responds no matter how far down in the floor I gouge the pedal and that’s pretty impressive.
If you ride in the wide open desert terrain long enough you will soon realize that suspension is your best friend and getting all of it that you can will keep your body from hating you after the ride. This new Maverick X3 X rs Turbo has so much suspension that it almost qualifies as a buggy rather than a Side-by-Side. The long reach of the X rs suspension extends out 22 inches in the front and 24 in the rear to cover plenty of ground or rough trails. With some stretches of the course Bruce had marked out, that swing did get a complete workout and the massive FOX shocks absorbed the blows left and right.
Can-Am uses FOX 3.0 Podium RC2 shocks on the rear to control extreme terrain and from the very first real G-out in the trail it was apparent that the fun had just begun. It was really surprising just how little of the impacts are transferred to the driver and passenger. Up front Can-Am equipped the X rs with FOX 2.5 Podium RC2 shocks with piggyback and bypass, along with plenty of adjustment. This combination was a very welcomed addition as we picked up speed to over 50 mph+ on roads with intense unexpected washouts and large rocks. The 72-inch width of the Maverick X3 X rs Turbo gives the car a stable platform for off-camber situations as well as high speed cornering. It really does feel like you are connected to the terrain. Lets not kid ourselves, though, as you can turn these cars over should YOUR talent and judgment run out.
Although the sand dunes we experienced along with the beach runs were limited, it was pretty fun. The Maverick X rs Turbo seems to be able to go anywhere and it would be cool to see how this Maverick feels in the sands of real dunes like Glamis for extended periods of riding. We made our way to a small town called Ignacio L. Rayon for lunch and it was time to give my fellow media peeps a chance to experience the beast for themselves.
Regrettably, that was the only ride in the Maverick X rs for the time we spent in Baja, but it was well worth the seat time and I think it sends a clear message that we are headed in a new direction for Side-by-Sides and off-road in general. The clearest memory I have during the short four hours in the car is just how much of a game changer this machine really is. The power is pretty impressive at 154 hp, but if you look at the engineering in the chassis and suspension I think you will see that it is by itself in the world of off-road dominance. Great job, Can-Am.