On The Rocks UTV Test

By the staff of Dirt Wheels


Can-Am has made certain that Dirt Wheels has been along for the entire rise of the new Maverick line. The first release was the 50-inch Maverick Trail 800 and 1000. Fifty-inch machines are vital for some trail networks, but they are by definition a little limited in appeal, so we were not at all surprised when Can-Am released the Maverick Sport.

Using the same basic skeleton and V-twin engine architecture, Can-Am announced the 60-inch-wide Maverick Sport models. Compared to the Trail, the Sport grew 10 inches wider, added suspension travel, and elbow room in the cab via bulged door tops. Now, after an even shorter wait, the Maverick Sport has morphed into a couple of specialized models. In our minds, the most attractive of these is the Maverick Sport X rc.

Although the “rc” designation stands for “rock crawler,” and in reality, the X rc is a rock monster, it is also perfectly equipped for any sort of technical and aggressive trail use. If we were to start with the Maverick Sport and add the products we appreciate most, it would look a lot like the Maverick Sport X rc that we tested. For the X rc Can-Am started with the already excellent Maverick Sport.

All of the Can-Am rock crawler models are exceptionally well-equipped. The Sport has half doors, sliders, 30-inch tires, and more. The roof and light bar in the action shots are options.

While the Sport became 10 inches wider than the Maverick Trail, the X rc is a mere 4 inches wider than the Sport 1000R at 64 inches. That width has become somewhat universal for sport UTVs. Only the sport models with a serious desert bent are 72 inches wide. One welcome and natural result of widening the suspension is added wheel travel.

The Maverick Trail boasts 10 inches of front travel and 10.5 in the rear. The Sport features 11.5 inches up front with 12 inches from the rear torsional trailing arm suspension. The rc is rated at 14.75 inches of travel front and rear. There are sway bars at both ends, and the shocks are Fox Podium QS3 units. They have easy-to-use and -understand three-position compression damping and threaded spring preload adjustment.

Nearly as important as the travel increase for a trail model, the X rc has 30-inch Maxxis Liberty tires on 14-inch rims. On a compact car like this, they look pretty massive. The result is a jump from the Sport’s 12 inches of ground clearance to a healthy 15 inches. Can-Am didn’t rely on ground clearance alone to protect the undercarriage.

The bottom of the machine is fully clad in heavy-duty UHMW armor. In addition to the full skid plates and small rock sliders, the suspension arms are shielded by the tough material as well. Plus, all of the suspension arms are arched for maximum clearance.

Turning is one area that was not helped by the added ground clearance and taller tires. It isn’t happiest being thrown into flat turns.


Since the basic car shares so much design and DNA with the svelte 50-inch trail, the wheels project out from the body, so it is easy to judge wheel placement. You can also turn past obstacles without bashing the side of the machine into them. This wheels-out layout makes the car feel more nimble than a standard 64-inch machine.

Since this a specialty performance package, it is appropriate that the only engine choice is the Rotax 1000R powerplant. It is a 976cc V-twin four-stroke that is liquid-cooled and electronically fuel-injected. This is the same basic engine that powered the original Maverick sport UTVs that have since been replaced by the Maverick X3 line. Both the sound and response of this engine were beloved by many, and we are happy to see the proven powerplant back in a sport machine.

Naturally, it is backed by an automatic CV-style transmission. The CVT gearing is manipulated through a gated shifter with high, low, neutral, reverse, and park. We are fans of the lockable front differential. It was developed by Can-Am working with Team Industries, and it has Smart-Lok. It is a true four-mode system: 2WD and 4WD with front diff-lock, 4WD rock, and 4WD trail. This on-the-fly lockable front differential’s 4WD rock and 4WD trail are electronically-controlled automatic modes. With this front differential, the Can-Am UTVs have made a major leap in traction capability.

Like the Sport, the Sport X rc utilizes Can-Am’s iTC, or Intelligent Throttle Control, drive-by-wire system. In addition to smoothing out throttle inputs in the rough when your foot is bouncing and jittering around, it allows the use of different power modes. ECO and Sport are the options, and you can tell a vast difference in output. EPS is also included in this package, and it is more than welcome with the large tires.

As you might expect from a UTV designed for technical trails and rock driving, the X rc has a seriously armored undercarriage.


Being based on a 50-inch machine, the Sport X rc is roomy enough, but the occupants are close together. All of the Sport models have added elbow room, thanks to a small arch to the shape of the half doors. The seats are very comfortable, and since the Maverick Sport was designed as a trail platform from the beginning, the seating is upright.

That helps maintain good forward visibility. Those seats come with openings for four- or five-point belts, but the car comes with retractable three-point belts. The seats have 5 inches of forward adjustment, and the seat bottoms pull out for easy cleaning. The steering wheel has 25 degrees of tilt adjustability as well. There are two angled footrests on the passenger side and ergonomically placed hand-holds.

These seats are quite supportive and comfortable. It is nice that they come with pass-through openings for four-point seat belts.

Unlike many sport UTVs that have no towing capacity, the Maverick Sport is capable of hard work. A rear 2-inch hitch receiver tows up to 1500 pounds. The cargo bed has a 300-pound capacity with four anchor hooks and drain holes. In the dash of the Maverick is 5.3 gallons of storage capacity. The fuel tank is 10 gallons in size, so you can stay out on the trails for hours with this normally aspirated engine.

Our test machine had a plastic roof and a light bar that are not included in the X rc package, as well as a half windshield. All were welcome additions. A front and rear bumper are standard, and so is a 4500-pound-rated winch with a synthetic cable. The front is fitted with a tow hook as well, and it doubles as a handy place to hang the winch hook. If you have a pulley, you can use that tow point to double the power of the winch.

A front bumper, winch, and tow point are all standard features on the front of the Maverick Sport X rc.


After firing up the Rotax 1000R engine, it was as if the rocks of Johnson Valley near the infamous car-beating King of the Hammers had some magnetic qualities. We blasted straight off on trails for as long as it took for the dirt and sand to morph into solid rock. It is actually stunning the general terrain and individual obstacles that the Sport X rc will traverse.

The CVT engages quickly and smoothly. Typical of Rotax V-twins, the power is as meaty as the sound promises. There is ample strength at low rpm, and the power grows steadily with more rpm. The sound, while not loud, does sound muscular and different from parallel twins.

The Can-Am’s engine braking kicks in on deceleration, and while it pleasantly isn’t too strong, we saw no need for the Electronic Hill Descent Control. Even though the X rc shares much in common with the Sport 1000R, it has a very different feel. The suspension is set to maximize clearance and stability on cambers. It also has 30-inch tires in place of the Sport’s 27-inch Maxxis Bighorn tires. And, as mentioned, there are 3 inches more ground clearance.

Quick-adjust QS3 Fox Podium shocks are standard, and they provide just shy of 15 inches of wheel travel at both ends.


Where you can toss the Sport into corners, you will want to use a bit more care with the X rc. We saw the same trait in similarly equipped and specification machines from other companies. When the going got rough, the shocks soaked up the hits well, but the feel isn’t as plush as models with more travel.

For rock and hard terrain, the Maxxis Liberty tires are among our favorites. Johnson Valley has some slopes so sandy that they are virtually like dunes. We thought we might not make it up one that we think a Maverick Sport would have launched up.

Part of that difference is the tires, but some of the difference is found on a scale. Full skid plates, rock sliders, bumpers, and a beefy winch are all welcome on the trail, but the X rc weighs 189 pounds more than the Sport, and our machine had a few other additions.

Despite being 64 inches wide, the X rc remains nimble and fun in most any trail situation. Ground clearance is very good.

As much as we appreciate the Maverick Sport, the Maverick Sport X rc has almost everything that we would add to a Sport for serious trail use. It is protected, can pull itself out of trouble, and has ample capability and performance. We have always been fans of the power and delivery of the Rotax V-twin. It is a proven engine.

The price difference between the Sport and the Sport X rc is right at $6,600. If you got the Sport and upgraded all of the suspension arms, added all of the undercarriage protection, the winch, wheels, tires, and bumpers, you still couldn’t match the X rc for the same price difference. Go to
www.can-am.brp.com or call (715) 848-4957 for more info on this machine, or the rest of their extensive and impressive lineup!


The Can-Am Maverick Sport X rc is a classy looking machine that is nicely set up for demanding trails.



Engine V-twin, OHC, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke

Displacement 976cc

Bore x stroke N/A

Starter Electric 

Fuel system EFI

Fuel Capacity 10 gal.

Transmission Automatic CVT

Final drive Shaft

Suspension/wheel travel:

Front Dual A-arms w/ 14.75”

Rear Dual A-arms w/ 14.75”


Front Dual hydraulic discs

Rear Dual hydraulic discs


Front 30×10-14

Rear 30×11-14

Length/width/height 122”/64”/74.25”

Ground clearance 15.0”

Wheelbase 90.6”

Curb weight 1,581 lb.

Payload capacity N/A

Cargo bed capacity 300 lb.

Towing capacity 1500 lb.

Colors Carbon Black and Octane Blue

Price $21,299

Contact www.can-am.brp.com, (715) 848-4957



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