FIRST LOOK: 200 horsepower for the X3 RR, two new engines and more! 

By the staff of Dirt Wheels

From the outside, the Can-Am Maverick X3 looks the same, but under the skin there are big changes, starting with a stronger frame and cage with 30-percent-thicker tubing.



After a year that saw all motorsports brands have trouble meeting demand, most brands are keeping things conservative for 2022, but not Can-Am! Always known for powerhouse machinery, Can-Am becomes the first sport UTV brand to touch 200 horsepower stock! Plus, the company has again used its ties to the engine wunderkinds at Rotax to release two new UTV engine platforms for the sport/recreation arena. One, the HD5 replacement HD7 Ace is a state-of-the-art, unit-construction, 650cc single with all of the latest tech—tech, especially cylinder head tech, once only seen inside full-on 450cc motocross machines.

Can-Am’s Maverick X3 X rs Turbo RR gets a new frame, cage and suspension reinforcement, a powerful new stator, and 32-inch Maxxis Carnivore tires. The X3s get Smart-Loc.


Recent Maverick X3 innovations have been the 195-horsepower RR engine package in 2020, Smart-Loc front differential on select models, and Smart-Shox with Fox Live Valve computerized suspension. Unlike other versions of the Live Valve system, the Can-Am has on-the-fly smart-adjusting compression and rebound damping.

Changes for 2022 start right at the skeletal level with 30-percent-thicker tubing in the frame and roll cage for roughly 14 percent more torsional rigidity in the chassis. Increased torsional rigidity means that the car is less likely to twist or flex. Next, the company made sure that the suspension was beefed up as well.

Can-Am has positioned the Commander X mr 1000R as both a mud recreation and hunting-capable machine. That seems a great combo. Air intakes are behind the seat’s headrests.

Almost all 2022 Maverick X3 models have double-shear mounts where the radius rods attach to the rear knuckles. The bottom radius rod is thicker and stronger to resist damage. At the rear, the center of the car is a bigger, thicker and stronger radius-rod plate that bolts to the stronger chassis. All 72-inch-wide Maverick X3 versions also have new, stronger, lower front A-arms.

A big reason for the changes are new-for-2022 32-inch Maxxis Carnivore tires on 14-inch wheels on 72-inch RS models. These chassis changes are also a direct result of input from Can-Am racers. Some racer types were hoping for similar double-shear front-suspension mounts and a bulkhead brace, but that won’t happen in 2022. All X3s get the square-tire arrangement, with all four tires that are the same size rather than wide rears and skinny fronts. All models that formerly used the Maxxis Bighorn now use the tougher Maxxis Carnivore in 30-inch for the 64-inch cars and 32-inch for the 72-inch cars.

Can-Am’s rejuvenation of the Commander line started with the Maverick Sport platform. As odd as it seems, the addition of a dump bed resulted in a sportier look.



Rather than being restricted to a limited number of models, all X3s get the sophisticated Smart-Loc front differential for 2022. It allows selecting four modes on the fly, including differential lock. It is a huge improvement over the Visco-Loc front for tech driving. Instrumentation is a 7.6-inch digital display with a keypad to change functions. LED signature lights are standard as well.

The X3 ds Turbo is rated as a non-intercooled, 120-horsepower machine. Priced right at 20K, this X3 offers a lot of performance, capability and comfort for the price.

Engine updates include engine-control calibration refinements that uncovered the 5 horsepower to up the RR models to a full 200 horsepower. All of the X3s get a new pDrive clutch. Instead of sliders, the clutch uses sealed steel rollers with needle bearings. The advantages are four- times-longer service internals, smoother engagement, quicker shifting, less CVT noise and reduced vehicle harshness. That sounds like a serious win.

With the 172-horsepower engine option discontinued, X3 engine choices are reduced to the 120-horsepower non-intercooled turbo engine for the base models and the mega-powerful RR version. The RR engine package includes a new 850-watt stator that should easily cover most power needs. It also has a welcome belt-monitoring system that displays belt-case temps in degrees to help keep the belt safe.

Look at that open space under the bed of the Commander 700 with the new HD7, 650cc, single-cylinder drivetrain. It promises extended service intervals and quiet, smooth performance.


While some models do have premium pricing, Can-Am has a few packages that sound like amazing bargains. That includes the Maverick X3 ds Turbo that starts at $19,999. That price is without a $350 commodity surcharge, transport and dealer prep. Still, the ds Turbo has the frame and suspension updates and new tires. For $2000 more you get the Maverick X3 ds Turbo RR. For the money you get 200 horsepower, the new stator and belt-temp monitor.

Another great value is the Maverick X3 rs Turbo RR starting at $23,799. That could be the least-expensive 72-inch machine with 32-inch tires we have ever seen, though it, too, gets the commodity surcharge, transportation and dealer setup charges added. This is a lot of car for the money. It has 2.5-inch Fox QS3 shocks but does have up to 24 inches of suspension.

The extensive Defender line will have HD7, HD9 and HD10 engine choices. Not all Defenders will have engine choices, though. There are full cab models available.


Other important news is that new HD7 Ace and HD9 engines replace the HD5 and HD8 engines in the Maverick Trail, Commander and Defender lines. Can-Am worked with Rotax to build an all-new, unit-construction engine and transmission package that is sophisticated, light and powerful. The new 650cc single has an advanced head design with dual overhead cams actuating valves via reliable shim-under-buckets. The design increases valve inspection and adjustment intervals! Plus, it allows the valves to open and close faster to increase torque.

A full-race 450cc motocross engine makes a shade over 50 horsepower, and the HD7 Ace is making 52 horsepower at a much lower rpm with its 650cc. The 427cc single HD5 it replaces made only 38 horsepower. More impressive, the HD7 only requires valve (and the pDrive clutch) checks at 2000-mile intervals. The single-cylinder engine is easy to reach for service. The HD5’s extended break-in period, early maintenance and frequent valve adjustments are gone. Expect less noise, cab heat and vibration with the new engine as well.

A number of Defender models are six-seat people-movers. Again, these double-cab machines range from base models to cabs with heat and air conditioning.

A new 976cc, HD9 V-twin engine replaces the 800cc, HD8 V-twin engine. With the recent supply-channel issues in all industries, having Rotax concentrate on only two basic platforms seems very smart. You see, the HD10 engine is also a 976cc engine, but the HD9 makes 65 horsepower, while the same-displacement HD10 engine produces 72 horsepower. So, there are three engines, but aside for minor engine-spec changes that explain that 7-horsepower difference, Rotax is basically building two engines.

Like the turbocharged, three-cylinder Ace 900 engine in the X3s, the HD7 and HD9 are paired with the pDrive clutch updates. When the HD7 is used in the Commander 700 and Maverick Trail 700, it uses a sporty engine calibration compared to the De-fender 700.

Can-Am cleverly employed the six-seat chassis to create the long-bed Defender Pro line. The 6-foot bed and lockable under-bed storage make this machine a winner.



All of the Maverick Sport models have a 1000cc V-twin engine, but the base Maverick Sport has 75 horsepower, while the rest have 100 horsepower. There is a single 100-horsepwoer Maverick Sport Max, and it shares 12-inch wheels and 27-inch tires with the 75-horse Sport two-seater. The rest of the trim levels are essentially special edition aimed at specific conditions.

When a Maverick Sport has an “X” in the name designation, that means that it has 14- or 15-inch rims with 29- or 30-inch tires with terrain-specific tires. They also have Can-Am LED signature lights, exclusive colorways and full exterior protection. The X-package also adds unique graphics and seats, plus performance features like Fox 2.5 Podium piggyback shocks with QS3, full skid plates and Smart-Lok. Smart-Loc is an advanced off-road front differential that is fully lockable on the fly with four electronically controlled automatic modes. Every model has 2WD, 4WD with front differential lock and 4WD trail. In addition they benefit from a 4WD Mud mode on the X mr, 4WD Rock on the X rc and 4WD Trail Activ on the X xc. Smart-Lok was developed in conjunction with Team Industries, a market leader in the drivetrain industry.

In the Maverick Sport line are some interesting, purpose-focused models. Not many changes for 2022, but we suspect that has to do with the flurry of new Commanders.


The 50-inch Maverick Trail line originally offered a variety of engine options, but for 2022 they will all be powered by the new HD7 single cylinder.

All 50-inch Maverick Trail models come with the all-new HD7 DOHC, 650cc, single-cylinder engine package with the new pDrive clutch. The DPS is available with a 1000cc 75-HP V-twin engine.



Can-Am’s Commander nameplate has been a long-time part of the line, but the dated original design was eliminated in 2020. Commander returned full force in 2021 with a variety of models, including four-seater Max versions. To build the new Commander, Can-Am started with the Maverick Sport. In our opinion, refining the look and adding the dump bed only improved the style of the Commander. Commanders have an 8-cubic-foot bed that will haul 600 pounds, and the built-in hitch allows towing 2000 pounds. For 2021 they have Turf mode, and a few will be powered by the 52-horsepower HD7 engine. All will have pDrive clutches. We like all of the new changes, but the model that catches our eye is the Can-Am Commander X mr. In most cases, having a mud-specific machine means that it is essentially a recreational swamp buggy. Can-Am positioned the Commander X mr as a combo vehicle appropriate for mud recreation and hunting. That sounds like a great combination to us. It features deep-lugged mud tires designed to offer a smooth ride on normal trail surfaces. The high intakes are located directly behind the seat headrests but facing the rear. The seats (and the passengers) act as mud stoppers! Some models are 62 inches wide, but others are 64 inches. Wheel and tire sizes vary by model. Specialized models get terrain-specific tires, like Maxxis Liberties on the Commander XT-P and Max XT-P, and the XPS Swamp Force tires on the X mr. Others get the new Maxxis Carnivore tires. The DPS and the XT have the option of the HD7 or 100 horsepower. Like the Maverick Sport, the others in the line all have 100 horsepower.

At the rear of the Maverick X3 are new double-shear attachments for the radius rods to the knuckles, stronger lower radius rods and a larger, stronger center radius-rod mount.


Can-Am has what seems like a million Defenders, starting with basic three-seaters and progressing up to the long-bed Pro and 6×6, as well as the six-seat Max. Naturally, there are special editions. Some have a choice of the HD7, HD9 or HD10 engine packages, while other versions may have only a single-engine option. Each has an Eco and an Eco-Off setting. Eco-Off has no speed limitation. They also have Hill Descent, and some come with 4500-pound winches. Defenders tow 2500 pounds.



There aren’t many changes for the quads this year, but they get Visco 4 Loc for the X mr, XT-P and Max Limited.

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