2024 CAN-AM MAVERICK R FIRST TEST DRIVE REVIEW
Can-Am’s Maverick R is the most exciting, high performance, side by side to hit the market in years. Whether it’s because of a unique, new suspension system, 7-speed, DCT transmission or an all-new, 240 hp engine, the machine is definitely being talked about. We stopped talking, got in and drove the Can-Am Maverick R across the Nevada desert for two days. Here’s our first 2024 Can-Am Maverick review.
WHAT IS IT?
The 2024 Can-Am Maverick R is direct competition for the RZR Pro R. Customers who live and ride in the deserts southwest and enjoy wide open dune riding or fast desert trails, Can-Am wants you just like they did with the Maverick X3 seven years ago. Remarkably, in that time Can-Am sold 180,000 X3’s to customers all over the world. Even before the first X3 was sold, development had already begun on the 2024 Can-Am Maverick R.
HOW’S THE POWER?
This is the most powerful, factory turbo charged power plant ever dropped in a SXS. It has 240 hp and 170 lb ft of torque at 6000 rpm. It is an all new, three cylinder, 999cc engine built specifically for this vehicle. There is no power-loss through a CVT belt. When you stab the throttle, the gear on gear system, gets the 2,250 pound machine moving quick. There is a small pause before the power kicks in if you go from idle to wide open throttle. So in a drag race, the RZR Pro R might get an early jump but that’s not confirmed yet. However, the Maverick R’s roll on power is amazing. On the loose gravel roads we tested on, we were able to go from 0-top speed in under 15 seconds. Keep in mind, the top speed displayed on the dash was 99MPH, however, according to our GPS, the fastest recorded speed we saw was 96 MPH. A stock RZR Pro R tops out at around 92 MPH. The Can-Am motor is very quiet. At high speeds you really only hear wind noise through your helmet. The opposite is true about the RZR Pro R as it’s pretty loud at WOT.
In the Maverick R, there’s a large intake scoop behind your head that is not loud but it does allow you to hear the turbo spool up and the blow off valve do its thing. You build speeds super fast, and the chassis feels so planted, it surprises you every time you glance at the speedometer. There are zero complaints here. Furthermore, we can’t wait to hear this machine with an aftermarket exhaust system installed. We bet GGB Exhaust Technologies will have one ready ASAP.
DOES IT HAVE A BELT?
It’s effortless to bang through the gears using the steering wheel mounted paddles and there’s no CVT belt to worry about. There are seven speeds to choose from as well as low range giving you another seven speeds. You can also shift from low to high without stopping. There’s a brief interruption of power when you do this but it’s much better than having to come to a stop to make the change like you have to on the DCT equipped Honda Talon or any CVT equipped machine.
We did not get to do any type of rock crawling yet to test how low the gear set is and if the car will rock crawl. We did try to back up a steep ledge and the car struggled some but eventually made it up. So the verdict is still out on the crawling. In low range, first gear tops out at about 10 MPH, 2nd goes to 2oish and so on.
Shifting in automatic mode is lighting fast. Aside from the occasional down shift we wanted to do, we let the computer do its thing and the timing of shift points was spot on. You rarely even feel it shifting and the computer does a good job of preventing you from downshifting too early or holding a gear too long preventing abuse on the entire drivetrain. Overall, the engine and transmission are super quiet and definitely best in class.
THAT CRAZY LOOKING SUSPENSION
Up front, the A-arms are made of stamped and tube steel and the tall steering knuckle is a forged aluminum construction. The silver coating really makes them stand out. Paint them black and you would hardly notice them. You can bet people will be powder coating them all manner of colors or possibly even hydro dip them with wild designs. Of course the aftermarket will be making awesome looking products as well.
Wheel travel numbers are 25” front and 26” out back on this XRS model. The base unit, with its smaller tires only has 25-inches of movement in the rear. That’s because those rear shocks have a spacer limiting travel keeping the rear from hitting the ground at full bottom out. So you could put a set of taller tires on the base model and have a shock guy remove the spacer allowing for a full 26 inches of rear travel in that machine too.
The suspension action is night and day different then the old X3. While the EPS unit is the same as X3, the steering rack is stronger but doesn’t tilt as it moves.
The 2024 Can-Am Maverick R is plush over the rocky trails and in the bumps. The Smart Shox system is easy to control and you can feel what it’s doing. Body roll non existent but the vehicle still corners predictably and we never felt a hint of two wheeling. ITP supplied their new UT rated Tenacity tires for this ride. They grip well and do not wear out quickly like the Maxxis meats that are on the RZR Pro R. We had one puncture in the tread area thanks to a sharp Nevada rock in 175 miles but a few plugs later had us aired up and on our way.
Although the trails we drove were not super rough, we did test the bottom out protection when flying over a few deep, cross grain ruts and driving into several big G-Outs. We couldn’t find the limits of the Fox Shox no matter how hard we drove it. The steering feedback was hardly noticeable yet controllable with the different DPS modes. We like the middle setting.
Ground clearance is an amazing 17 inches that after 175 miles of testing was still at 17 inches. In those miles, we only scraped the skid plate once on a big rock sitting in the bottom of a G-Out.
Furthermore, the suspension is smooth right out of the box. We didn’t wish for more ride height, a different spring package like we do with many other machines. On the trail, you rarely saw the suspension arms coming up through the hood. In fact, when you did, it was a good reminder of where the center of the front tires were. Finally, the suspension action was super quiet too which is another huge advantage over the competition.
Everything is layed out well. The sharp edges have been softened. There’s more room for switches and accessories on the tunnel and in the dash. Leg room is excellent. The seat height is a good 3 inches taller so getting in and out of the cockpit is much easier. We had two different 6’ 5” passengers during our rides. Neither had issue with knees hitting the dash. For the driver, the dead peddle by his left foot was pretty far out making overall fatigue non existent during our full days on the trail.
You could see over the hood as good as any RZR and again, the seats are adjustable forward and back or up and down and there is some storage under them. The gas tank remains in the same location as the X3 in front of the passenger. Since it holds a couple extra gallons of gas, it reduces the size of the main glove box. But a secondary glove box has been added to the dash area, in front of the GPS unit.
This list is small. The rivets on the skid plate have to go. On the X3 we have replaced them with Nutserts but that’s not the perfect fix. We don’t know what is, without welding a bunch of tabs on the lower chassis and bolt the underbelly protection on allowing for easy removal.
Lastly, we had issues with the navigation, as you are required to tether it to your phone and the BRP Go updates have not yet included the iOS platform we use. Furthermore, we wish this system did not require any type of cellular connectivity. However, the front and rear cameras worked great and the vehicle info was easy to access and read in all conditions.
At the end of our two day, high speed, test ride, we were pleasantly surprised that fuel consumption was way less than expected. Our test machine averaged 10-15 miles per gallon. So with that larger 13.2 gallon fuel tank there’s no reason to cut rides short. Without a heavy throttle you should expect 150-miles of high speed riding per tank full.
Speaking of more ride time, we would be happiest saving $10,000 and picking up the base model and spend more on riding trips. The electronic functionality for the steering, shocks, engine and front differential is nice, but it’s also a little overwhelming at times. We think the base model would do fine without any adjustability and we prefer using a Garmin Tread that allows us to see other Garmin users or a Trail Tech Voyager Pro if we wanted to connect with RZR owners we might be riding with.
Most importantly, the 2024 Can-Am Maverick R feels well built and rides smooth in all terrains. That alone would have us walking into a Can-Am dealer.
Whether you are comparing to the competition or the X3, Can-Am hit a home run for a machine best used for the wide open western deserts. Right now if we had that kind of budget to spend and only played in that type of terrain, there’s no other machine we would consider buying.
Here’s another article we wrote about the things, Can-Am’s specs dot tell you about the 2024 Can-Am Maverick R.
Engine…DOHC, 3 cylinder, 4-stroke
Transmission…Automatic, 7-speed, With hi/low & manual
Front…High Knuckle & A-arm w/ 25” Podium Live Valve or Fox QS3
Rear…Trailing Arms w/ 26” Podium Live valve or 25” Fox QS3
Front…30×10-15 or 32X10-16-ITP Tenacity
Rear…30×10-15 or 32X10-16-ITP Tenacity
Brakes…Hydraulic discs, 3 piston front and 2 piston rear
Fuel Capacity…13.2 gal
Cargo rack capacity R…205lb
Colors…Black, red, yellow
Price…$35,499 R, $38,399 RX, $42,599 R X RS, $44,299 Smart Shox