2017 Can-Am Maverick X3 MAX X-DS Review

Apr. 05, 2017 By Casey Cordeiro

Can-Am has been on a role lately. Not only have they released an all-new lineup of utility vehicles within the last year, they have also released the all-new Maverick X3 lineup of sport machines. We were invited to an exclusive opportunity to try out the all-new X3 MAX – the four-seat Maverick X3 that has set the sport side-x-side market on fire!

Much like the two-seater Maverick X3, the X3 MAX four-seater looks familiar with a little added wheelbase to allow room for two more passengers. Upon first glance, we were trying to figure out if the extra wheelbase of the Max was going to keep it as nimble and fun-to-drive as the two-seat variant. Could it be that even with the extra weight and wheelbase that it would be as fun to drive? Let’s find out.

Room for More
The Maverick X3 Max is more than just a couple extra seats slapped into a familiar chassis. Yes, the chassis is extended on the Max, but it is also strengthened so that everyone stays safe in all conditions. It’s reminiscent of a fully built buggy chassis in the way it is laid out, with an overabundance of room in the front and in the back – and that’s not a bad thing! My 6’2” frame fits in either the front or the back with knee room to spare, and I regularly find myself moving the driver’s seat forward in order to enjoy the most ideal seating position. It’s a welcome feature in comparison to other vehicles on the market because I’m typically in search of more space.

Besides space, the cockpit is laid out very nicely. All controls, including the push-button starting system and the shifter, are easy to reach for the driver. The fact that the instrument cluster adjusts with the steering column is a great feature for visibility and quick access to all machine vitals. Plus, driver and passenger now get an extra storage area where a center instrument cluster would normally sit. In addition to a storage area, the X3 is outfitted with plenty of additional switch spots to add all of your accessories and more!

Seating-wise, we would find it hard to believe that any sport UTV on the market can match the seating support and position found in the X3 Max. The seats are low, include significant amounts of lumber and lateral support, and include plenty of adjustment for all sizes of drivers. Some people have found the seats to be slanted up too much, but the adjustability makes that issue mostly go away.

The X3 has an all-new powerplant for a sport UTV in the Can-Am lineup. It’s a Rotax-powered, 900cc, three-cylinder engine that is turbocharged and intercooled to make a whopping 154 horsepower. Connected to the rear wheels via an intelligently cooled belt-driven CVT transmission system, the power is transferred via either 2WD (with rear differential lock) or 4WD with Can-Am’s Visco-Lok auto-locking front differential 4WD system. 

From Dune to Desert
One of the features we appreciate most on the Maverick X3 Max is the Tri-Mode Dynamic Power Steering (DPS) system, which features three different modes to allow the driver to fine tune the steering effort and feedback (Min, Med, and Max). This system is great for varying terrains and different tire setups. For example, we found that we like the “Max” setting the most in the dunes because it took out virtually all of the feedback when hitting sharp g-outs. However, in the desert, the Max setting was too easy and we preferred having slightly more feedback as the tires rotated easier, hence the reason for our preference of the “Med” setting. Unless someone wanted to muscle it around corners, the “Min” setting was one we left alone. All of these adjustments are easily made via a rocker switch on the dash.

There’s no doubt that one of our favorite parts of the Maverick X3 Max is the suspension – Can-Am did not mess around in this department. On the X DS model we drove, the Fox 2.5 Podium RC2 piggyback shocks are fully outfitted and fully adjustable with preload, dual speed compression, and rebound adjustments right from the factory!

After some significant time in this car, we can truly say that this is by far the best performing setup on the market right now when you pair it up with the long wheelbase of this vehicle. The suspension actually allows the driver to take full advantage of the wheelbase by fine tuning the suspension and ride height for the amount of people/items typically carried in the vehicle, the kind of terrain you ride, and the tire setup on the Maverick. We found ourselves tinkering with the settings all the time trying to dial them in even more. We were also impressed with the adjustability the crossover rings provide so you can dial in the dual-rate spring setup. Overall, you can create your own system with this setup and tailor the car to handle like the way you want it!

When you couple the premium suspension parts with the premium build of this vehicle, you will find a winning combination. Dual A-Arms with a sway bar are found up front making sure that 20 inches of travel stays in the same vertical plane. Out back, a super strong four-link Torsional Trailing-arm X (TTX) setup with sway bar hold everything together and give you a plush ride whether you are tackling shudder bumps or three-foot whoop sections. On both of those ends, hydraulic twin-piston brakes provide the stopping power, with 262mm vented discs up front and 248mm vented discs out back.

Now, for the elephant in the room… Yes, this X3 Max is long at 164.4 inches in total with a 135-inch wheelbase. Its next closest competitor in length is the Arctic Cat Wildcat 4X with a total length of 157 inches. That additional 7.4 inches is a considerable amount, especially when you’re traversing rough terrain. That said, we were pleasantly surprised how little we got hung up on obstacles in the X3 MAX. No doubt, there were spots where a three-point turn was necessary, but the vehicle has plenty of ground clearance built in (13 inches) to traverse razorbacks in the dunes or sharp climbs in the desert. Plus, a full HMW skid plate offers protection for the fully welded frame.

This vehicle may be long, but the power is also a point that we have to mention. Much like Polaris has dialed in their clutching over the years, Can-Am has definitely dialed in their clutching on the new X3 transmission. The engine takes off smooth, revs easily, and has a very nice raspy growl that is emitted out of the central, single-port exhaust. It sounds visceral when you cork open some throttle, and the power starts low in the RPM range and doesn’t sign off until the very top of the RPM bracket. While the power doesn’t feel quite as effortless as a RZR XP Turbo because the engine naturally sits higher in the rev range when cruising, it gets with the program fast because of the fact that it sits in its sweet spot all the time. Kudos Can-Am, we are excited to see some more refinements as the years go on but this car is already a beast with this amount of power – plenty for every terrain we tackled!

For those looking for an amazing ride right out of the box for the entire family, the Can-Am Maverick X3 MAX is an incredible vehicle. It is comfortable for every passenger, is safe for the entire family with its fantastic build quality, and represents a shift in the industry with its buggy-like handling prowess and race-proven features right out of the box. We are extremely excited to get more testing done on this vehicle, and Can-Am is right there in the thick of it now for the UTV world.

Pricing for the Maverick X3 ranges from $24,999 to $29,099. The X DS model we tested has a MRSP of $27,399.

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