Deep mud in the new Can-Am Maverick X3 RS Turbo RR

Can-Am recently invited select media to experience the company’s hardcore Maverick and trail-ready Defender side-by-side at Iron mountain station, an all-terrain motorsports park near Dahlonega, Geogia. A torrential downpour of rain failed to dampen spirits and gave me the opportunity to experience how a UTV performs on slippery terrain very different from the desert at higher speeds in the desert from southern California.

The storm turned Georgia’s famous red clay into a froth of deep puddles and muddy chunks, perfect for spraying grime and sand all over everyone and everything in the woods. But The Dirty Day also allowed Can-Am to show off the fun factor that has helped the entire SxS industry explode in recent years.

  • Engine/Motor: 900cc turbocharged three-cylinder
  • Power : 200 hp
  • Transmission: 2WD & 4WD with lockers
  • Transmission: Automatic CVT
  • Soft suspension
  • Lots of power and grip
  • Large seats and harnesses
  • Positive shift lever engagement
The inconvenients
  • Big prize
  • 6 month warranty
  • No touchscreen infotainment

I first rode in a Maverick X3 Max X RS Turbo RR. The hilarious and long name indicates all the maximum characteristics of the four-door, which I purposely chose to provide a slightly more stable wheelbase in the middle of mud slides and slides. The Turbo RR also compares and contrasts perfectly as a market competition to the RZR Pro XP 4 that I rode for four months last year.

In the top-of-the-line ‘RR’ Mavericks, Can-Am uses a turbocharged Rotax ACE three-cylinder engine displacing 900 cc and developing 200 horsepower to a CVT automatic transmission. Critical measurements for my four-door include a dry weight of 1,924 pounds, a 72-inch-wide wheel track and a set of four 32-inch Maxxis Carnivore tires.

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Suspension always a strong suit SxS

Can-Am Maverick Review
by Can-Am

Despite the impressive power-to-weight ratio, Can-Am’s Smart-Shox suspension system stands out as the star of the show, as does the RZR’s, thanks to a set of stacked Fox 2.5 Podium RC2 shocks damping dual arms triangular upwards. front and 3.0 remote tanks on four-link torsion trailing arms in the rear. In total, Can-Am claims 16 inches of ground clearance and 22 inches of suspension travel.

In ruts and washouts, before the rain dumped every surface in mud, the Maverick engulfed the terrain with aplomb, especially as I played with the three different ride modes to firm or soften suspension. The washboards nearly disappeared at higher speeds, before disappearing outright as the storm battered us throughout the day.

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Deep in Georgia clay

Can-Am Maverick X3 3 review
by Michael Van Runkle/HotCars

By mid-morning, each Maverick was sporting an all-new Orange-Red Clay colorway. Every driver and passenger found themselves equally coated, while dirt tracks turned into sliding games. The lack of grip and visibility added to our enjoyment, although on high-speed sections the lack of windshield caused teeth chattering and chills. But even on the incline, we could switch between rear-wheel-drive for happy swingouts, all-wheel-drive with the rear diff locked, and full lockout on a few steeper sections.

The comparison to desert racing, where I got used to similar sand slides, shone at times, although tighter trees made it a little more cautious when rocking hard on the steering wheel. With so little front or rear grip, I could barely tell the difference between the three settings of Can-Am’s tri-mode dynamic power steering system.

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Lots of power on tap

Can-Am Maverick X3 4 Review
by Michael Van Runkle/HotCars

Can-Am calls this turbo-three engine “industry-leading,” and, without a doubt, the setup delivers plenty of grunt despite the obvious power of a CVT. Three cylinders seem to allow for a little lower torque than the RZR’s two, although with the recent release of the even wider Pro R powered by a 225-horsepower four-cylinder mounted amidships, the game has clearly changed.

Do most drivers even need 200 horsepower in their side-by-side, let alone 225? Absolutely not, and especially considering the narrow Georgian trails we hiked throughout the day. In open terrain, where top speed comes into play, perhaps. Fortunately, Can-Am also brought runner dustin jones to show how a true pro can push the Maverick over any type of terrain – a quick lap left everyone in awe of his confidence and skill with the chassis.

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Narrow forest roads

Can-Am Maverick X3 5 review
by Michael Van Runkle/HotCars

The unfamiliar landscape left me doubting my choice of the long-wheelbase Maverick, when tight turns between tree trunks required a bit more care to avoid gouging bushes and branches than the smaller two-door . And we never got close to the rig’s top speed, which the reps on site say is just over 80 miles per hour.

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Wet tires can still climb hills

Can-Am Maverick X3 6 review
by Michael Van Runkle/HotCars

The Iron Mountain trails still managed to present plenty of challenges, in addition to the opportunities for splashing puddles and donuts. A tricky climb in the rain prompted Jones to jump in and spot every reporter, especially since we popped up and on a rock that jutted perfectly over the steepest section. I selected four low, with the rear diff locked, just to see if the front diff might come into play. But even in that kind of weather, the Maverick’s lightweight construction and moderately aggressive Maxxis tires allowed me to keep total control.

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Climb on board

Can-Am Maverick X3 7 Review
by Michael Van Runkle/HotCars

On the soaked interior, Can-Am installs more comfortable seats with more easily negotiable harnesses than the Polaris RZR. Another major benefit of the Maverick is the shifter, which weaves through selection with much more positive feedback, as opposed to the ambiguous shifters of nearly every Polaris vehicle I’ve driven. The extra (and welcome) recline of the front seats makes the adjustable steering wheel feel like it could use a little more range.

As I learned at King of the Hammers and now in Georgia, manufacturers should make windshields mandatory equipment on every side-by-side. And even in a roughly maxed-out Maverick, Can-Am’s interior electronics feel a generation behind the Polaris Ride Command Infotainment Touchscreen. The sturdy design with big knobs might seem appropriate on the lowest priced Mavericks closer to $20,000, but less so on the model I rode, which starts at $34,099 (and can climb quickly with added accessories).

And yet, supply chain issues and shortages are unlikely to dampen current demand for anything off-road, and enthusiasts who want to jump into the aggressive and exciting world of SxS clearly feel ready and willing to drop that kind of cash on vehicles like the Maverick X3 Max X RS Turbo RR. Just be prepared to seriously hose down the Maverick — and yourself — after a full day of mud in Georgia red clay.

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