UTV TEST: 2022 CAN-AM MAVERICK X3 X RC TURBO RR
More than ready to rock…or whatever By the staff of Dirt Wheels
One of our favorite Can-Am models is the X3 X rc Turbo RR. “RC” stands for “rock crawler,” but any UTV fan would appreciate the impressive specifications and desirable standard equipment. For any type of trail play, it is like one of those old commercials—there is nothing to buy! Visually, the X rc hasn’t changed much since it was added to the line in 2018, but mechanically there has been an almost constant stream of upgrades and improvements. Some improvements like the Smart-Lok front differential that grace the entire line began as a feature exclusive to the X rc. The fact that all X3s get the Smart-Loc front differential doesn’t make it any less desirable. It has four on-the-fly selectable modes, including differential lock.
Our X3 X rc Turbo RR is the best-equipped and -optioned RC that Can-Am offers. The only Can-Am feature it does not have is Smart-Shox. In addition to our 72-inch offering, there is a 64-inch X3 rc and a Maverick Sport X rc. There is no Max version of the rc.
WHAT MAKES IT AN RC?
The most visual differences are the exotic-looking, form-fitting aluminum roof, factory intrusion bars on the front cage opening, total full-coverage undercarriage and suspension skid-plate armor, high-clearance suspension arms, 15-inch beadlock rims, and hard-terrain and rock-specific Maxxis Liberty tires. In 2022 those tires are 32 inches for the first time. In addition to the cage-hugging aluminum roof, there are a front bumper, front tow hook and full half-doors instead of the quarter-doors found on every X3 but the special editions like the RC. It also gets a powerful 4500-pound-rated winch with synthetic rope.
NEW FOR 2022
For 2022, the X3 gets the largest upgrades ever, though they can barely be seen. Can-Am went with 30-percent-thicker tubing in the frame and roll cage for a claimed 14-percent-more torsional rigidity (resistance to twisting) in the chassis. All 72-inch-wide Maverick X3 versions, such as this X rc, have stronger, lower front A-arms. In the rear are double-shear mounts at both ends of the high-clearance radius rods. At the inboard mounting point is a heavier gauge and stronger radius-rod plate that bolts to the stronger chassis. The vulnerable, high-clearance, bottom radius rod is thicker and stronger than the two above it.
All X3s get the welcome new pDrive clutch with sealed steel rollers with needle bearings instead of sliders. The CVT now has four-times-longer service intervals, smoother engagement, quicker shifting, less CVT noise and reduced vehicle harshness. It is easy to feel the difference.
While not exclusive to the RC, the boost to a massive 200 horsepower in 2022 is up 5 horsepower from the 195 that the 2021 X3 X rc had. Engine-control calibration refinements are what raised the RR models to 200 horsepower. You feel the power difference. The powerful RR engine package includes an 850-watt stator sufficient for most electrical needs and a belt-monitoring system that displays belt-case temps in degrees.
Suspension travel is still the same as the original X rc—22 inches in the front and 24 inches in the rear and still impressive. No other brand offers much more travel. The suspension has improved, though, with the stronger, lower A-arms on 72-inch “X” models like our X rc. Controlling the front travel are piggyback Fox 2.5 Podium RC2 shocks with bypass, dual-speed compression and rebound adjustments. In the rear are remote-reservoir Fox 3.0 Podium RC2 shocks. Like the fronts, the rear shocks have high- and low-speed compression adjustment, rebound and preload adjustment. You do have to stop and make manual adjustments, but there is more than enough adjustability to come up with a setting. If you can’t, there is ample support from the aftermarket to come up with more options.
“Bypass” shocks let shock oil bypass the control of the shock piston in full extension. The bypass orifices close off gradually as the shocks get deeper into the travel. Damping gets much firmer as the shock nears full down travel, and the shock damping is speed-sensitive and position-sensitive.
All Can-Am X3s have a sports-car-like, reclined seated and driving position. You pull a cloth strap inside the car to open the suicide (front opening) doors. Tall drivers who are not gymnast-like limber will drag a helmet getting in. You will be comfortable with good legroom once seated and secured by retractable four-point seat belts. The driver’s seat is fore and aft adjustable. If you use tools, you may also drop the front of the seats 2 inches. We would prefer to be able to raise the rear of the seats 2 inches.
We like the feel of the steering wheel, and the X3 has high-torque tri-mode Dynamic Power Steering (DPS) to select the steering feel you like. Even with the 32-inch tires we stayed with the standard steering mode. Select the DPS modes and driving modes with a keypad linked to a 7.6-inch digital display.
TIME TO RIDE
We had limited time with the Maverick X3 X rc RR, but we were at Sand Hollow State Park in Utah. It is home to amazing slick-rock trail routes. Not much of the rock is smooth, and some is like dirt washboard cast from concrete. Between the slick rock are stretches of sand and dunes of the lightest fine red granules. It is easy to bury your machine in the sand. There are some areas that are like more typical desert with loose rocks mixed with loose dirt and sand; in other words, perfect for a machine dedicated to rock trails.
Until Polaris’ Pro R, the Can-Am X3 platform’s 102-inch wheelbase was the longest of all two-seat sport UTVs. To compare, a Polaris RZR XP has a 90-inch wheelbase and a Honda Talon is 92.7 inches. It is a rare moment when the X3 displays that length as a handicap. With the 32-inch tires it happens less than ever, but the length can let the underside HMWPE heavy-duty full skid plate touch when you break over obstacles.
Most of the time the length is a bonus for stretching between obstacles, and the X3 feels happy and planted over obstacles and in the rough. You would think that the length would make it feel lazy, but the X3 feels great in the rough and on climbs and drops.
It rips turns like crazy. With the added strength and torsional rigidity in the chassis, our X3 X rc RR felt accurate while cornering. It was easy to hit and hold a line.
CAN YOU FEEL 5 HORSEPOWER?
With the X rc RR, you have all of Can-Am’s top features but Smart-Shox. Interestingly, the X3 X rc RR costs a few hundred dollars more than the X3 X rs RR Smart-Shox. The doors, roof, bumpers, intrusion bars and added suspension protection all add to the cost, as well as making the X rc clock in 165 pounds heavier than the X rs with Smart-Shox.
The “RR” designation means you get 200 horsepower. The jump Can-Am made from 172 to 195 horsepower was more apparent than this new-for-2022 5-horsepower jump. Can-Am’s 900cc Rotax ACE three-cylinder engine is proven tough. It has true “turbo”-power character. At low rpm, the output is smooth and mild, building power steadily as rpm climb. For tech trail driving, that soft delivery is perfect and something that other brands electronically restrict power for. When the Rotax transitions between smooth, low-rpm tractability to full turbo boost, the engine goes a little wild.
At Sand Hollow we felt this less than we did with the Smart-Shox machines we tested in Johnson Valley’s California desert. Can-Am chose to equip the X rc RR with those Maxxis Liberty tires. The tread pattern and compound lean radically to rock and extreme hard-pack soil. The closely spaced and short tread blocks offer little traction in Sand Hollow’s ephemeral dune sand. Wheelspin is a fact at nearly any throttle opening, so we didn’t feel the turbo lunge as well.
While on slick rock we rarely punched the throttle hard enough to reach the big power numbers. We’d like to see the X rc RR come with Maxxis Roxxzilla tires. They weigh more than Liberty tires but outclass them in every other facet of performance in sand or on rock. Some of our fastest and most experienced drivers drove trails in Eco mode to maximize control.
The X3 X rc RR is an impressive package. It has massive performance potential when the terrain is open, yet a low range, front differential and smooth bottom power for the nastiest trail conditions. Steering is light but adjustable, and the X3 loves to carve corners. With the X rc model, Can-Am started with a great platform then added all the protection and accessories that a serious trail driver would need. Sure, you may want some bling, and a radio and intercom would be handy, but otherwise there is not much to buy.
If it were our car, we’d swap out the tires and install that radio and intercom. We have a wish list—a little easier to get in and out of and better front visibility to choose critical lines—but that is about it. After that we’d get busy heading out and driving.
Generally, we recommend the Can-Am X3 for those who like to run hard and fast, but the Maverick X3 X rc Turbo RR is equally at home in slow, technical driving. This machine has a wide range of performance. It comes with a six-month warranty that’s extendable to 30 months. Some may say the price is high, but so is the value.
SPECS 2022 MAVERICK X3 X RC TURBO RR
Engine type Rotax ACE liquid-cooled 900cc triple with intercooled turbo
Transmission pDrive primary and Quick Response System X (QRS-X) CVT with high airflow
Final drive Shaft
Fuel system EFI
Fuel capacity 10.5 gal
Ground clearance 16
Estimated dry weight 1811 lb.
Front Arched double A-arm with sway bar, Fox 2.5 Podium RC2 piggyback with bypass, dual-speed
compression and rebound adjustments/22”
Rear 4-link Torsional Trailing-arm X (TTX) with sway bar and arched lower links and Fox 3.0 Podium
RC2 remote reservoir with bypass, dual-speed compression and rebound adjustments/24”
Front 32×10-15 Maxxis Liberty
Rear 32×10-15 Maxxis Liberty
Front Dual 262mm vented hydraulic disc with dual-piston calipers
Rear Dual 248mm vented hydraulic disc with dual-piston calipers
Bed capacity 200 lb.
Colors Chalk Gray & Magma Red