2020 CAN-AM X3 TURBO RR
— Testing both the two and four seater versions —
By the staff of Dirt Wheels
Just one year ago the Can-Am Maverick X3 X rs Turbo R sat at the performance pinnacle for the company’s UTV line. That was then, and the Can-Am Maverick X3 X rs Turbo RR is now. The jump from 172 horsepower to 195 is huge! The difference you feel in the acceleration is much more than you would think from a 23-pony jump. This long-travel, 72-inch-wide flagship truly has it all—speed, style, comfort, suspension and, of course, massive power. All of our test time was in sand dunes, and as you may know, you almost cannot have too much power in sand. We had the opportunity to drive both the Maverick X3 X rs Turbo RR and a Maverick X3 Max X rs Turbo RR back to back. We were able to do some random driving, and then made multiple trips around the Can-Am test loop switching between the two machines. Even with the stock Maxxis Bighorn tires (very good in the sand when the edges are sharp), the acceleration is actually shocking.
Even in the dunes there weren’t that many places where we felt confident just mashing the throttle and letting all of the horses loose. Most of the time we ran out of room before the RR stopped accelerating. Can-Am is calling the Maverick X3 RR engine package a new engine. It is still a version of the 900cc Ace 3-cylinder Rotax engine. Internally it has new Rotax-manufactured turbo pistons for better reliability. Externally it has a larger, Rotax-manufactured turbo, larger intercooler and a less-restrictive airbox to allow the new engine to produce industry-leading 195 horsepower. The CVT was also recalibrated to match the new performance and improve belt longevity. We had weather in the high 80s when we were in the dunes, and we never heard a squeak of protest from the CVT or belt.
The 2020 72-inch Maverick X3s got new suspension calibration. Basically, the factory upped the spring preload to get the ride height where we felt it should have been all along. This results in 16 inches of (1 inch more claimed) ground clearance. It looks like a lot more than an inch, and especially on the Max. All X rs packages used to come with four matched 30X10 tires on 14-inch wheels. For 2020 the wheel size and tire model (Maxxis Bighorn 2.0) are the same, but now they are 30X9-14 in the front and 30X11-14 in the rear. The tire update allows for lighter steering and reduced steering kickback in the front and better traction and control of the rear of the car.
MORE GOOD STUFF
While base X3s have a 4.5-inch multifunction display in the dash, Maverick X3 X-package vehicles have a large, easier-to-read 7.6-inch digital display. The display is in front of the steering wheel, but a new dash-mounted on-board keypad simplifies drive mode, trip and DPS selection.
Can-Am originally worked with drivetrain specialists Team Industries to develop the Smart-Loc differential for the late-release 2018 RC models. The differential has electronically controlled automatic modes. Smart-Loc cured any 4WD flaws that early X3s had, and it is back for 2020. Dunes don’t provide any challenge for such an advanced front differential system. We drove in 4WD at all times, and we had no complaints.
Can-Am equips Maverick X3s, including the RR models, with a high-torque, tri-mode Dynamic Power Steering (DPS) system. The cars we drove were set on high, and the steering felt very light and took little effort. The tri-mode DPS allows the driver to select from three levels of steering assist.
By any standard the X rs Turbo RR is nicely outfitted. It is 72 inches wide, and with the low and sleek Can-Am X3 chassis it feels planted and secure. Great-looking 14-inch aluminum beadlock wheels are standard. It also boasts 24 inches of rear-suspension travel for the two-seat model, but 22 inches for the rear of the four-seater. That travel is controlled with top-of-the-line, fully adjustable Fox Podium RC2 remote reservoir shocks with bypass. The Fox bypass system gains additional damping control as the shocks get deeper into the stroke. Unlike the lower-line QS3 shocks that have only three compression adjustments, these shocks have multiple clicks of adjustment for high- and–low-speed compression and high- and low-speed rebound damping, in addition to fully adjustable spring preload.
This package comes with a nice roof, a heavy-duty HMW plastic skid plate (that we did not punish much in the sand) and awesome retractable four-point harness-type seat belts with shoulder pads. We love these belts. The shoulder straps are the retractable ones. The waist belts must be adjusted manually, but the Can-Am belts are easier to adjust than any we have used. There are even three different painted color options. Our favorite is the multicolored version we tested.
NOT QUITE STOCK
The cars we drove were part of the Can-Am demo fleet, and those cars routinely have popular Can-Am accessories installed to show off what is available. The two-seater had a nice bumper with an aluminum skid plate at the bottom and very nice aluminum door covers that make the stock quarter doors a half door. The doors also swap out the loop-pull latching system and add an outer door handle. The four-seater had a Can-Am Yoshimura exhaust with three outlets. It requires the removal of the stock plastic exhaust surround, so the rear of the car looks quite different. It also had a box in the bed and a smoked insert to fit in front of the stock roof to act as a sun visor. It still allows visibility upward.
No other sport UTV looks so much like an off-road race car. And in the fourth year of production the X3 has won a wide variety of races in different conditions. Many of the races are in fast, open terrain. The best starting point for an open-terrain racer has always been the 72-inch X rs. We feel that the X rs Turbo RR will continue that trend.
The 900cc, Rotax Ace three-cylinder engine has easily lived with 172 horsepower, and with the new changes it should do fine with 195 horses. We have driven examples claiming over 200 horsepower, but this stock Turbo RR feels as powerful as any of those machines, but is more drivable than a modified machine.
You sit down in the X3 like a sports car. The seats are comfortable and supportive, but they put you in more of a laid-back position than any UTV we can think of. There is plenty of adjustment for legroom, but we’d like the option to adjust the angle of the seat back. Both cars have a long feel for a reason: the wheelbase is 102 inches for the two-seater and 135 inches for the four-seater.
Our time with the pair of Maverick X3 machines was limited to sand dunes. Some of the approaches to the dunes were dirt, and we hit a few rocks that were buried, but basically this is a review of how the RR works as a dune runner. We have experience with this chassis, and with the Smart-Loc we know how it reacts on trails. The real differences here are the tire sizes, new suspension settings and the more powerful engine. We are confident that the revised suspension settings will only improve the capabilities of the Turbo RR in comparison to the existing (and current) Turbo R. It stays up in the stroke so it has more travel before the shocks start to close off the bypass holes and stiffen up the stroke. That should be a benefit anywhere.
We would say the same for the tires. The narrower fronts and wider rears are great in many respects. Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to buy tires in those sizes. In many cases aftermarket tires in sizes 30-inch-tall and above come only in one width. Frankly, we love the Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 performance and traction. They are prone to sidewall flats in terrain that this machine is built for. We haven’t had many punctures in the Bighorns, but we drive with people who do. In other words, many owners will be changing the tires.
Like almost all wide cars we have driven, the Can-Am is hesitant to make sharp turns at slow speeds, and it takes a fair amount of room to make a U-turn in the two-seater. Naturally, those traits are amplified by the additional 32 inches of wheelbase on the four-seater. On the other hand, both cars corner like crazy at speed and are happy flowing through left-/right-turn combos on flat dirt. The center of gravity is higher now, so you don’t get the same feeling that you can just toss the car in, and that is somewhat truer of the four-seater.
The roles are reversed when it comes to suspension. Both cars are suspended very well with good control and a passenger-friendly ride. Push it hard in the rough and the suspension rewards you. There is good control, and the cars feel well-connected to the earth. In all cases, the four-seater has a more comfortable ride and allows you to push harder in the fast rough.
When you are at creeping speeds over choppy bumps, the sporty suspension action is crisp, but with the added ride height, the 2020 is improved over the 2019 machines.
Jumping the Can-Ams is fun! It is easier to loft the two-seater. The four-seater jumps fine, but you must adapt to staying on the throttle longer. It is too easy to let off before the tires leave the jump face.
In the dunes the new RR engine is simply brilliant! It is plenty smooth picking up from low rpm, so it should be fine out of the dunes as well, but it just keeps building power with rpm, and that delivery works perfectly in the sand. Any straight section with good visibility is an opportunity to thrill yourself. The acceleration is superb. The rest of the machine handles the dunes just fine as well.
The 2020 Can-Am Maverick X3 lineup now has a wider performance envelope than ever before. For 2020 Can-Am has done some repricing to make these machines easier to own. The RR models offer amazing performance, but all of the X3 line is very good. Prices for the base, 120-horsepower, 64-inch Maverick X3 Turbo starts at $18,999, and it is $20,999 for the 172-horsepower, 64-inch Maverick X3 DS Turbo R package. The 64-inch Maverick X3 X ds Turbo RR starts at less than $25,000. Can-Am claims the Maverick X3 RS Turbo R package (172 horsepower) is the market’s most affordable 72-inch factory vehicle at $22,499. All of the X3s—and that includes these two amazing performers—offer a lot of value for the money. Both models are roughly $2000 less than the Polaris RZR Turbo S models. The Polaris does have the GPS, reverse camera and live-valve shocks, but performance-wise, they are in the same arena.
There is no question that the four-seater is a very long machine, but when you drive it, you will be shocked at how little you feel the added length, and how superior it is in the rough, on steep climbs and steep descents. Plus, it comfortably carries four people. If you demand the maximum ability to cut and thrust through the terrain, then you better look at the two-seater. You get a six-month warranty extendable to 30 months, and the price is very reasonable for what you get.
SPECSCAN-AM MAVERICK X3 X rs TURBO RR & MAVERICK X3 MAX X rs TURBO RR
Engine type 195 hp, Rotax Ace 900cc turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, liquid-cooled with integrated
intercooler and high-performance air filter
Transmission QRS-X CVT with high airflow, L/H/N/R/P
Final drive Shaft
Fuel system EFI
Fuel capacity 10.5 gal
Length/width/height 132”/72.7”/68.5”; Max, 165”/72.7”/68.5”
Ground clearance .16.0”
Wheelbase .102”, 135”
Estimated dry weight 1627 lb.; Max, 1858 lb.
Front Double A-arm with sway bar and Fox 2.5 Podium RC2 piggyback shocks with bypass,
dual-speed compression and rebound adjustments/22”
Rear 4-link trailing arm with sway bar and Fox 3.0 Podium RC2 remote reservoir shocks with bypass,
dual-speed compression and rebound adjustment/24”; Max, 22”
Front 30×10-14 Maxxis Bighorn 2.0
Rear 30×10-14 Maxxis Bighorn 2.0
Front Dual 262mm vented hydraulic disc with dual-piston calipers
Rear Dual 248mm vented hydraulic disc with dual-piston calipers
Bed capacity 200 lb.; Max, 150 lb.
Colors Hyper Silver, Intense Blue & Manta Green/Triple Black/Gold, Can-Am Red & Hyper Silver
Price $27,499; Max, $29,999