What you need to drive By the staff of Dirt Wheels
Can-Am is focused on designing machines that provide the driver with the right tool to get the most out of their off-road experience. Can-Am offers everything from pure-sport powerhouses like the 195-horsepower X3 Turbo RR to the work- and recreation-ready Defender. In between, the line is well-rounded with multiple Maverick offerings. Can-Am sent us out onto the trails with their all-new 64-inch 2020 Maverick Sport X xc that starts at a price of $20,199.
The tone of a twin-cylinder Rotax 1000R engine is like no other. Upon firing up the Sport, a chorus of deep, throaty notes reverberate through the exhaust and out the muffler tip. A quick tap of the throttle strangely tones down the hefty 976cc liquid-cooled Rotax’s guttural grumbles. With the aid of Can-Am’s iTC (Intelligent Throttle Control) electronic fuel-injection system and a well-tuned automatic continuously variable transmission, the Maverick releases 100 horsepower.
The iTC, also known as a throttle-by-wire system, sends pedal input into the ECU and transfers it to the throttle body in a smoothed-out fashion. That makes the power output less jittery than a cable-style throttle operation could. On top of that, with iTC, Can-Am was able to provide the Maverick Sport with two power modes—Eco and Sport. Honestly, we rarely touched Eco mode, but if you had a long distance to go between fueling stops, then it takes some fun away to get you to your destination. It also allows a smoother operation of power output for slow-speed technical sections. That is a benefit depending on the terrain you like to ride.
As for the 4×4 system, Can-Am designed the Sport X xc with their Smart-Lok technology. This gives you multiple options for traction. Two-wheel drive is self-explanatory, but when you toggle the Trail mode of the 4×4 system, the X xc starts to seek more traction from the front wheels. When the system senses the need for more grip, power trades between the front wheels to offer up more. If you select the Trail Activ mode, with a quick push of the dash-mounted switch, the front wheels will switch between one wheel grabbing more go or engage both at the same time. Finally, you can fully lock the front differential to have true 4×4 engagement. Yes, you will notice the steering become at bit more difficult to utilize upon each change towards the fully locked front differential, but the added effort doesn’t detract from the drive.
The Maverick Sport X xc comes equipped with Can-Am’s Dynamic Power Steering system. While we like the steering feel, once you get used to the steering wheel, we often felt like Can-Am should have included the Tri-Mode option that some of their other impressive UTVs utilize. We mainly wished for the adjustability when piloting with Trail Activ mode enabled and when the front differential was fully locked. When those options are engaged, front-wheel feedback is more pronounced through the steering wheel.
Diving down to the suspension, the Sport is equipped with a great system. The 64-inch track width provides more stability compared to the base Sport models. Can-Am achieved this by designing high-clearance A-arms in the front and rear that are not only stronger, but offer more travel than available on 60-inch Maverick Sport models. Each corner has 14.75 inches of wheel travel. Fox Podium 2.5-inch QS3 compression and preload-adjustable coil-over piggyback reservoir shocks soak up trail abuse. Progressive-rate shock springs are employed on the Fox Podiums that allow the machine to soak up small chop in a smooth fashion while retaining good bottoming resistance. The front and rear of the Can-Am have sway bars installed to aid stability.
The Sport X xc was developed to appease drivers that wanted the shorter 90.6-inch wheelbase, which settles into tight tree territory more than the Maverick X3. It’s fine in sand dunes or the open desert, but it is happiest on trails. Can-Am decided to install 14-inch beadlock wheels with 29-inch tall Maxxis Big Horn 2.0 tires wrapped around them. The base Sport models come with 27-inch-tall tires. The bigger size allows the Can-Am to roll over terrain easier and assists in raising the ground clearance from 12 to 15 inches.
Picking a UTV can be difficult, but we insist on a comfortable cockpit. The Sport line offers just that, along with ample storage space inside the cab. In front of the passenger seat is a 4-gallon storage bin in the dash, and a small 0.4-gallon storage container rests above the driver’s information gauge. The 7.6-inch digital display with keypad shows you multiple readouts that include tachometer, speedometer, 4×4 selection, engine temperature and more. The steering wheel is comfortable in its radius but wide at the palms. It promotes an open-handed driving style, which is beneficial. Closing your thumbs in through the wheel during spirited operation could cause harm to your thumbs or wrists if you hit an object abruptly that turns the wheel too quickly for you to react.
Reaching the toggle switches on the dash is easy from the driver seat, and the driver seat is fore and aft adjustable. The steering wheel is tilt adjustable. Can-Am designed a gated shifter into the center console that operates the forward high and low gears, along with neutral, reverse and park. There are two cup holders on the floor of the cockpit. The seats are comfortable and give you a secure feeling with more seated surface area in comparison to a Polaris RZR seat. They are also prepared to receive harness-style belts instead of the stock shoulder/lap belts that come with the Maverick.
The full half doors of the Sport X xc have a quality fit and finish with hand-holds built into them. They can be opened from inside or outside the machine, utilizing separate handles. Moving towards the rear of the Can-Am, a 300-pound capacity cargo bed is ready to receive Can-Am accessories and has the ability to tie other items down. Below that sits a 2-inch hitch receiver that is a part of the Sport’s ability to tow up to 1500 pounds.
Generally, when we hear the term “cross-country (xc),” we think woods riding and racing in the eastern side of the United States. Since this Maverick Sport X xc was deemed a cross-country machine, we diced around a few trees here and there, but also took it out to our tighter desert terrain to see how it performs. For starters, the power is plentiful yet very manageable. The low-end range of the V-twin is quite stout, but it shines in the mid-to-high end of the power curve as well. The CVT engages quickly and never hiccups.
The suspension system was put to the test in high-speed driving, sawing through turns, traversing rock faces and crawling through slow-speed chop. It performed best at trail speeds where the ride didn’t get overly rough. We plowed through smaller whoop sections with ease. The Fox shocks offer a plush ride, but we do wish the QS3 shocks had more than three compression options. You have soft, medium and firm with indications of 1, 2 and 3 at an easy turn of a dial. We tended to drive with all four shocks on the second compression setting. This let the Sport soak up harder hits while still offering some smoothness over chop. We did notice the Maverick want to swap the rear end occasionally in whooped-out corners at higher speeds.
Comfort in the cockpit is very attractive to us. The seating position is upright compared to the X3, but the confidence in cornering would be elevated if the seat height was lower, which lowers the machine’s center of gravity. Finally, we noticed that the front fenders are a bit tricky to see over on occasion.
ROUNDING IT OUT
We are quite pleased with Can-Am’s Maverick Sport lineup, and the 64-inch wide X xc is a great option, coming in at a $20,199 starting price. The stock beadlock wheels, 29-inch tires, and impressive 4×4 selections complement the potent and playful Rotax 1000R engine. Mix in a comfortable cockpit and easily adjustable suspension and you have a recipe for a great time out in the woods, rocks, desert and more. The 2020 Can-Am Maverick Sport X xc is a great all-around UTV with a clean black, red and silver color scheme. Go to www.can-am.brp.com to check out their entire ATV and UTV lineup of machines.
SPECS: 2020 CAN-AM MAVERICK SPORT X xc
Engine V-twin, OHC, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke
Bore x stroke NA
Fuel system EFI
Fuel capacity 10 gal.
Transmission Automatic CVT
Final drive Shaft
Front Dual A-arms w/ 14.75”
Rear Dual A-arms w/ 14.75”
Front Dual hydraulic discs
Rear Dual hydraulic discs
Ground clearance 15.0”
Curb weight 1,428 lb.
Payload capacity NA lb.
Cargo bed capacity 300 lb.
Towing capacity 1500 lb.
Colors Triple Black, Hyper Silver & Can-Am Red (one scheme)
Contact www.can-am.brp.com, (715) 848-4957