Manufacturers love to talk about peak horsepower, but that’s not the complete story. Without excellent suspension, nimble handling, and comfortable ergonomics, extra horsepower will have you bouncing down the trail like a rubber ball in a stairway. It’s how well a machine performs in many different conditions that complete the story, and we’ll say it right now, Can-Am’s Maverick lineup is the total package.

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Can-Am’s high-performance lineup of Side x Sides is branded as the MAVERICK line, and it covers every aspect of recreational riding. From casual trail riding with the Maverick TRAIL models to the all-out, terrain-conquering performance of the Maverick X3’s, there is most definitely a Maverick for all, and each can be further customized with a long list of accessories. It’s safe to say the total number of variations is practically limitless. There are common features across all product lines, however.

Can-Am has a penchant for high-performance, and every Maverick model is designed to thrill both driver and passenger. They bring plenty of power to the trail with engines all the way up to 200hp driving easy-to-operate CVT transmissions. Long travel suspension smooths out the trails or desert terrain, even on the budget-friendly Trail models. What helps make the Maverick so effective is they’re designed not as a collection of single parts, but as a total package that must work together. That means stylish curb presentation, tight-fitting panels, and when you climb into the seat the controls are all within reach. And speaking of the seats, one feature we’ve noticed on all Can-Am Maverick models is that you settle down into them and become part of the vehicle. That’s not necessarily true of competing brands where you sometimes feel perched atop the seat, and not securely held in place.

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Can-Am’s Maverick family highlights are:

  • 25 different Maverick base models! There’s a Maverick for every trail type.

  • MAVERICK TRAIL line – Perfect woods machines with two engine choices, the 52 hp Rotax® ACE (Advanced Combustion Efficiency) 650 cc single-cylinder, or the 75 hp, Rotax® 976 cc, V-twin. Models starting at $12,799

  • MAVERICK SPORT LINEGreat performance on the open trails or tight woods. Engine choices are a 75 hp or 100 hp, 976 cc Rotax V-twin. Chassis is available in either 60”, or 64” wide. 4-seat MAX models are an option also. Starting at $16,299

  • MAVERICK X3 LINE – Maximum performance and state-of-the-art in every way. Engines are either a triple-cylinder, 120hp, turbocharged 900, or the 200 hp, Rotax ACE (Advanced Combustion Efficiency) turbocharged 900 cc. Chassis width either 64 or 72”, and 2 or 4 seat options on long-travel suspension. Starting at $20,499

  • All Maverick models come with reliable, easy-to-operate CVT transmissions

  • Quick, nimble handling, excellent stability, and flat cornering with little body roll thanks to a low center of gravity and well-balanced chassis.

  • Long travel suspension designed to soak up trail obstacles

  • Cab areas are designed for comfort and seats that hold you securely in place, especially during aggressive driving. They’re stylish and feature-packed.

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You might say the Maverick Sport and Maverick Trail models are designed for the woods and tight trails, and we’ve had a blast taking them on rides into the mountains. They’re perfectly at home in the trees, and as expected, they offer great features and excellent performance. The Maverick X3 models are clearly meant for wide-open areas like the desert or dunes. All X3’s feature powerful engines, long-travel suspension that is highly adjustable, and a width of either 64 or 72 inches. They were already performance leaders, but that didn’t stop Can-Ams’s engineering crew from making a great thing even better. The most important new upgrades for ‘22 are:

  • MORE POWER – Engineers reworked the triple-cylinder engine and now have achieved a whopping 200 hp on over half the X3 models. A high-performance filter and new intercooler help it breathe better, the turbo was reworked, and stronger pistons squeeze more power out of the engine.

  • A STRONGER CHASSIS – To handle the extra power the chassis was reinforced in key areas, and the cage structure tubes are 30% thicker

  • A NEW CLUTCH. An upgraded clutch features Can-Am’s new pDrive roller-clutch system and Quick Response System X (QRS-X) CVT.

  • UPGRADED DIFFERENTIAL – The Smart-Lok differential is a fully lockable on the fly, with four electronically-controlled automatic modes

  • SMART SHOCKS! – The differential is intelligent, but also the suspension. FOX Smart-Shox with Live Valve allows on-the-fly compression and rebound damping.

  • LARGER TIRES – 32” Maxxis Carnivore tires provide extra ground clearance and ample traction.

  • STRONGER SUSPENSION MEMBERS – 72” models get upgraded lower A-arms and stronger, larger lower radius rods, along with a double shear pivot design.

  • BELT TEMPERATURE MONITOR – Let’s you know when to back off a bit!

  • 850 W MAGNETO – Additional power for accessories.


We’ve taken the Maverick X3 on adventures in Utah and Nevada, through the dunes of California, and down the Baja peninsula of Mexico., and each of those rides was on open terrain. Not everyone lives in the Southwest desert, however, and you just know more than a few owners will take the X3 most definitely out of its comfort zone and into the trees. The tight woods and huge hills of Georgia would be a far different challenge.

The MAVERICK X3 X RS TURBO is clearly an outstanding dessert machine. At 72” wide and with 32” tires, the RS is BIG! (Plan for a lot of trailers as well.) The wide stance wouldn’t leave much room between the trees, and tight turns would present their own challenges. To make our ride even more interesting, continual rain would turn the red Georgia clay into heavy, slick grease. This was going to be fun!

With steady rain overhead, we slipped down into the RS Turbo. Once again, that initial interaction reminds one that this vehicle is built for performance. The seat is comfortable, but has ample side bolsters to hold you securely in place. It reminds us very much of a race car seat. Reinforcing that feeling is the 4-point harness of the X3 X RS. It’s a slightly more involved system, but we love how it holds you firmly into the seat and the added safety it offers, especially at high speeds. We adjusted the steering wheel and hit the start button.

The three-cylinder, 200hp engine puts out a nice rumble at idle, but it never gets obnoxious, even at high RPMs. Shifting into any gear is easy enough, and we like how there is always a definite engagement. Down below, the pedals are at an excellent angle and provide a good feel from both the throttle and the brakes. One interior feature we were especially happy to have on this trip was the sealed storage for our phone and smaller camera gear. We wish our riding gear could have offered the same protection. Although the RS Turbo was equipped with Can-Am’s roof, because of the tube structure, the leading edge of the roof is basically over your lap, which dumps water directly on your legs. This isn’t just a Can-Am phenomenon, however. Pretty much all Side x Sides have this same condition due to the protective structure tube angles, and most roof systems are primarily meant to be a sun-shade. A windshield would solve that problem but would have been quickly caked with mud on this ride. As typical for Can-Am, all Maverick models have excellent sight lines over the hood and out of the cab, and with trees lining both sides of the trail we would need them.

Our first section of trail would be a winding climb up a large hill, and water cascaded down the existing ruts. We wondered how the RS would handle it. Can-Am’s Smart-Lok™ 4WD system, instant throttle response, and new 32” Maxxis Carnivore tires would provide the answer, which was, NO PROBLEM! With a foot on the throttle and darting through the trees like a much narrower machine, we easily rocketed up the hill. It was fun! Every hill has a back side, however. Descending a slippery hill can often provide a pucker-inspiring moment, especially when it’s covered in greasy clay and with a steep drop just off the edge of the trail. Thankfully, the Carnivore tires (along with the brakes) were as adept at controlling our descent as they were at climbing.

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Despite mother Nature’s best effort, we never found a trail the Maverick X3 X RS TURBO RR couldn’t handle. Although its home is clearly open terrain, maneuvering a 72” machine through the woods isn’t all that difficult. You just pick your lines and corner angles accordingly. It was a blast putting our right foot down and rocketing up hills, with mud flying off all tires. The power steering provided an excellent feel of the trail, even though it was incredibly slick. Our testing of the Fox Smart-Shox was somewhat limited by the weather, however, but you could tell a difference in settings, and we spent most of the day in the Comfort setting.

As much as we love the excellent sight lines and being able to see the wheels, which is incredibly important for woods riding, the Carnivore tires that provide excellent traction also had a habit of throwing mud into the cab. This was primarily when turning, and it’s an annoyance that is entirely dependent on the terrain and weather. We can live with it.

After a day of riding the Maverick X3 X RS TURBO RR in terrain and conditions well outside of its usual home, (most x3s only see water at the car wash) we found the big machine to be surprisingly nimble. The fairly compact turning radius let us wind between trees and turns, the suspension soaked up trail bumps easily while providing a comfortable ride, and it feels like it floats down the trail. And 16” of ground clearance lets you safely clear any obstacle. If you hit anything bigger, that’s your fault! As always, the engine is eager to respond to the slightest input, clutch engagement is much improved, and it’s incredibly fun to slam your foot down and let the motor rocket you up a hill! We could do this all the time!

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Often times the better test of a vehicle’s true capabilities is not in its ideal conditions, but instead in how it performs outside of its design parameters. We definitely found those conditions for the MAVERICK X3 X RS TURBO RR. The thing is, we also found that rather than being a handful to drive through the woods it was surprisingly nimble, easy to control, and more than capable of handling any hill, rut, or trail obstacle. It’s every bit as fun here as it is in open desert, and without the feeling that you’re a slowly baking Hot-Pocket in a gigantic oven. For riders looking for all-out performance and premium features in an adaptable package, Can-Am has got you covered with a Maverick!




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June 17, 2022

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