Sometimes you just need to hear an everyday enthusiasts opinion on a new product or vehicle. We know majority of you trust our staff of enthusiasts at UTVUnderground.com but we also know some of you think we are just paid to say what we say. Well, here is a strait from the horses mouth review of the all new 2017 Can-Am Maverick X3 done by UTVUnderground.com Forum Member Sand Shark aka Noel Olins. You can read more reviews in our forum in the thread he started right here: https://www.utvunderground.com/forum/index.php?threads/x-3-demo-ride-review.20071/
X3 Demo Ride Review From Glamis Dunes, CA
by: Sand Shark aka Noel Olins
As a current Polaris RZR XP1000 owner I thought I would give you guys my impressions of the new 2017 Can-Am Maverick X3. I was lucky enough to sign up for the demo ride through Can-Am and have it be in my favorite playground, the Glamis sand dunes. I was able to drive all three models and had the most seat time in the Xds and Xrs. The demo ride was over an hour and half and the areas they choose to take us on the ride gave you a good variety of terrain. We had whoops along sand highway, small and medium dunes, some snake trails near the canal and some mild cruising areas. It was a good mix to give you a good feel on how the X3 drives and handles everything from bumps to hill climbs.
If you are familiar with Glamis then I will give you an idea of where we started and where we were taken on the demo ride. We started off in the vendor row area and they took us over to Competition Hill which is right along Hwy 78. From there we headed toward Gecko Rd. and cut across the smaller dunes toward Roadrunner. From Roadrunner we crossed the road and played in the switchback trails that run through the bushes by the Canal. We crossed back over the road and played in the dunes heading back toward sand highway by Competition Hill. From there we headed back to Vendors mostly in the whoop section on Sand Highway with some small dunes thrown in. I would say we did around 30 miles of riding in total. All the cars I drove were on stock Maxxis Bighorn tires and I was told air pressure was between 8-10.
The interior and seating:
Can-Am has a “fancier” brand of plastic on the inside. Ergonomics have a comfortable feel and everything is very easy to reach. All the buttons you can reach while being seat belted in and there are a ton of blank switch plates to hook up your lights and / or other accessories. It is a very nice layout in general.
I was not sure about the steering wheel at first as it seemed somewhat small, but after a few minutes of driving, I loved it. The quicker steering ratio really helps. I liked that the gauges are right there in front of you and the steering wheel adjusts up and down with ease allowing you to get it into the perfect position for your driving comfort. The stock seats are very comfortable and I just can’t believe how nice the seat sliders work. I don’t think you have to buy aftermarket seats for this car. The Can-Am person showed us how you can add the 5th point sub belt for 5-point harnesses. There is slot built into the seat base and you just have to cut a hole in the pre-designated area in the seat cushion. The car has tabs set up to add 4 point harnesses and the seats already have shoulder belt cut outs in place.
It is very easy to lower the seats with the removal of a few bolts and some bushing in the rear mount of the seat. As I am not a giant, (5’7′ or maybe 5’8″ with the afro), I preferred the stock seat height. I was able to see very well and I did not feel like there were any crazy blind spots. I did ride in one car that had the seats in the lowest position and my line of sight was not great for the dunes.
I felt the the interior layout and overall look was nicer than than the Polaris XP RZR. It has a more solid feel to it and it does help that the steering wheel does not move up and down and the seats do not move when you grab them. But reality is, once you start driving you really don’t give two shits about what the interior looks like in either the Polaris or the X3. Both interiors are functional and easy to clean and both machines are super fun to drive.
The three setting power steering (DPS) is pretty neat and can be adjusted on the fly with a push of the button. This allows you to increase or decrease the electronic assist in the power steering.
Now to the ride
X3 Base Model:
The Can-Am Maverick X3 was my least favorite of the three models. The suspension never bottomed out, but the car was very sketchy in the whoops when I got up to around 50mph. I could feel the rear of the car bucking and moving side-to-side. It was a lot more twitchy in the dunes as well. This could be because of the smaller 28″ tires? The suspension to me was a little rough and stiff over what chop I came across, but for a base model shock it was not a horrible ride. This model also had the most body roll of the three. I felt like my RZR XP1000 rode nicer than the base model.
Interestingly, of the 3 cars I drove the base model was the one that I heard the intake noise the most. Not sure why on this model I heard it the most but being that the intake is right by your head it makes for a very noisy ride.
I liked having the power steering set at minimum for this model.
This is the car I spent the most time in and I kinda did it on purpose as most of you guys might end up with this model. The suspension is very nice on the Xds. I hit a lot of stuff and it never felt like it was going to bottom out. In the whoops the car was very stable and soaked them up, I think I was going anywhere from 30-55 mph or slightly faster. In the dunes it was very predictable and nimble. It never had any issues with any g-outs, but keep in mind we were not in the big dunes. The suspension soaked up stuff very well. I could blip the throttle and glide over bumps and hits and it was smooth.
I never notice any significant body roll on this model. The front sway bar really helps keep the car planted and not nose dive as much when braking. The intake noise was not loud at all on this machine. The Xds I drove I only heard the exhaust and motor noise which was nice and has a good tone.
On this X3, I also liked the power steering at minimum.
X3 Xrs (The Sand Caddy):
This is the X3 that made the demo ride worth it. For some reason, when I sat in the X3 Xrs it just felt different than the other two. The layout of the cockpit is the same and the seating is the same. There is just this feeling you get when you see those 30″ tires sticking way out past the fenders and you know you have those big FOX shocks giving you 22″ & 24″ of wheel travel to play with. The other two machines I felt like I was getting into a UTV. When I sat in the Xrs it felt like I was getting into an off-road car/sand car that was ready to eat whatever comes in its path.
This is by far the best driving UTV I have driven in the dunes. The FOX internal-by-pass shocks are the bomb and the stock settings were spot on for the riding conditions. I was concerned the wider stance and huge amount of suspension travel was going to give it a lazy feeling in the dunes. The Xrs is surprisingly nimble and stays planted, no matter what you hit. It is just not fair to the desert or dunes what this car can handle. Coming across bowls you can mash the throttle and the car just sticks like a slot car. You brace for the transition and you feel nothing. No sand splashing over the nose and no feeling of the rear hitting. This was just in the smaller to medium dunes. I can only imagine hitting the big bowls doing 70-80mph (yes this car will get you going that fast!) and it just soaking up the transitions. Things I would normally slow down for I found myself giving it throttle to lighten the front end and just cruise right over it. The 30″ tires really help roll right over stuff.
I was very sad when I had to give up my seat time to let someone else drive it.
In case you can’t tell – I love this model!
My Overall Thoughts:
The power on all three X3 models is great. It is not mind blowing, nor was the Polaris RZR XP Turbo when I first drove it. The 154hp is not going to throw you in the back of your seat, it just does not have that type of violent hit. It is a very workable power band that comes alive around 30mph and up. It gets from 30 to 60 very quick and if you are not careful you can get yourself in trouble. The power band is perfect for the dunes – the power is there when you need it. In the dirt I am sure this car could be a handful when the power kicks in. With the suspension of the Xrs and even the Xds you do not realize how fast you are going sometimes.
If I were gong to buy one it would be the Xrs. The suspension and stability are everything you could ask for in a dune machine. The power of the motor is the icing on the cake. Even if this car had only 110hp and was not a turbo I would still buy it (okay I am lying, it still needs the 154hp). The Xrs is the most complete overall package for the dunes and desert. The Xrs is the perfect combination of suspension and wheelbase.
For me the base model X3 and the Xds just do not give me enough to want to run out and buy one. Don’t get me wrong, they are great UTVs. They just do not give me enough wow to want to ditch my current Polaris RZR XP1000.
My opinions on the cars is strictly from a dune/desert perspective. For trail riding lets be honest – a turbo car is overkill. Most of us are more than content with any of the non-turbo offerings.
The X3 is leaps and bounds better in every way over the other Maverick and even the turbo Maverick. This is the car they should of released instead of the Turbo Maverick.
So you want to know how it stacks up compared to the Polaris:
Most of my Polaris experience is from my XP1000. I have driven the Turbo XP 144hp, but not enough to really give you a true comparison on the power and suspension.
The interior hands down on the X3 is the winner in layout and overall looks. Both the Polaris and X3 are functional and give you amble storage. What I really like about the X3 is the seating position, the steering wheel and gauge cluster. If Polaris went to the the interior layout they use in the General it would really improve the XPT/XP1000 and it would be a toss up between the too.
Suspension – the Xrs wins, but it is truly in its own class. I think the Xds and RZR XP are very comparable in ride quality and handling. Remember the RZR XP Turbo comes with big internal by-pass Fox shocks then whats on the XP1000. Like I posted earlier I felt my XP1000 rode nicer than the base model X3.
Now to the stuff you may not want to hear or maybe you do, but I am going to give it to you anyway:
I asked the Can-Am person how the belts were holding up in the sand and he told me they had killed 3 belts in the dunes. They apparently were letting the dealers go at it for the past two days and as the guy told me the dealer drivers are worse than general public. (Just watch the video of the guy that rolled one at Olds – which killed all demo rides to Olds). I do not know if they were new belts or the same belts from all the demo rides. He did not give me an answer to this question. By the way, every X3 I drove today had around 1,100 miles on it.
Someone managed to kill a front axle on the demo ride on a Xds model. Looked like it popped out of the front diff. You could smell gear oil and see it all over the inner fender. This could of been one of the units that was rolled (there are a few). I do not know.
I think Can-Am did a great job on the X3. If it would not cause a divorce, I would have a Xrs in my garage tomorrow.