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Can-Am wanted to offer its customers a vehicle of unprecedented proportions along with something that would completely reinvent the experience. At bare minimum, the new Maverick would need to have 150-plus horsepower and the most suspension travel possible. The goal was to develop a SxS that would close in on the performance of a high-end trophy truck while still being affordable to the masses.

The three defining characteristics that became the guiding principals of the X3’s design were: 1) Powerful 2) Precise and 3) Defiant. While the focus was on the aggressive dune and desert rider, model variations would allow Can-Am to effectively create a halo effect and cover off the needs of the diehard racer, the adventure seeker and even spill over into the family sport rider segment.

The heart of the X3 platform is a pulse pounding 154-hp turbocharged and intercooled Rotax ACE inline triple mounted at the rear of the X3’s 102-inch wheelbase. It sits within an ultra light and rigid chassis made of an exotic steel called Dual-Phase 980, used in high end sports cars.

The fully jammed Maverick X3 Xrs comes equipped with a wide 72-inch stance, 24-inches of travel in the rear and 22 in the front. Fully adjustable FOX 3.0 Podium RC2 shocks with bypass technology, a roof and 30-inch tires mounted on aluminum beadlock wheels are other premium features.

The Xds sits at 64-inches wide, with 20-inches of suspension travel front and rear, fully adjustable FOX 2.5 Podium RC2 shocks and 29-inch Maxxis Bighorns mounted on aluminum beadlock wheels.

The base X3 stands impressively at the same width and suspension travel but is equipped with QS3 3-position compression adjustable FOX 2.5 Podium shocks and 28-inch diameter Bighorns on aluminum wheels.

The release of the Maverick X3 to the public during Can-Am’s dealer meeting in Orlando, Florida was met with high anticipation and praise. For some of us, the excitement was amplified knowing we were going to be given the opportunity to push the X3’s limits on an exclusive 250-mile ride in Mexico where we would cover the legendary Baja 1000 course over a 2-day ride.

Loads of power on tap means nothing without a suspension that can handle it. Previous iterations of torsional trailing arm suspension (TTA) simply didn’t cut it when it came to controlling bump steer as you powered through deep whoops and super rough trail conditions. The new 4-link TTX rear suspension is much closer to a trophy truck trailing arm design.

The three rearward links control camber effectively and toe-in is less than one degree through the full range of travel. The Fox 3.0 RC2 shocks devour rough sections of trail like a starving Survivor contestant plowing through a bucket of KFC.

We think the X3 has the most advanced driver ergonomics and technology ever integrated into a SxS. Can-Am leveraged a Ferrari supplier to design the seats. The design is a one-piece mold the engineers call Ergolock and the bolstered seat ensures perfect rigidity and maximum comfort.

The rally car-inspired seating position is also complemented with a D-shaped steering wheel with contoured hand-grips that help lock the driver in place. 1.5 turns of the wheel in either direction locks out the steering giving you a very responsive and tight turning radius, perfect for slaying twisty trails.

Fit and finish has always been a hallmark at Can-Am. Knowing full well that aftermarket companies have a lot of great stuff to offer, Can-Am invited a small group of companies into the heavily guarded X3 design room and gave them first crack at offering their designs through the Can-Am dealer network. That list of companies includes Lone Star Racing, S3 Powersports, Baja Designs, Rugged Radio, Beard Seats and Yoshimura exhaust.

Can-Am’s commitment to launching a brand new Side x Side every six months will leave enthusiasts panting. The Maverick X3 is set to achieve lofty goals in penetrating its market and regardless of what Can-Am brings to the market next, the future is looking bright and we’re anxiously waiting to see what’s lurking around the corner.

Vern Putzer
Vern Putzer
Vern Putzer is the Producer of Dirt Trax TV and is also a Contributing Editor and Guest Correspondent on the show.

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