CAN-AM COMMANDER XT-P VS YAMAHA RMAX2 XT-R

CAN-AM COMMANDER XT-P VS YAMAHA RMAX2 XT-R

The recreation category is getting more defined these days. Now with the Polaris General, Yamaha RMAX and new Can-Am Commander available, traditional dump-bed machines, such as the Ranger, Viking and Defender, are being left on the ranch. Serious adventurers now have choices that are not only super fun on the trail, but these machines can carry enough camping gear and supplies for multiple days on the move or at a remote campsite. This month, our Can-Am Commander XT-P vs Yamaha RMAX2 XT-R shootout shows how two new sport utility machines compare.

We drove the two machines in all types of terrain, except deep mud for our Can-Am Commander XT-P 1000 vs Yamaha RMAX2 XT-R shootout. Chassis- and power-wise, they were very equal. Basically, the cramped and sparse cockpit was the major downfall of the Commander when compared to the RMAX.

HOW DOES THE PRICE COMPARE?

Your wallet won’t even notice the price difference between these two machines. The Yamaha Wolverine RMAX XT-R has a retail price of $21,199. Features above and beyond the base RMAX include a Warn VRX 4500 winch, 30×10-14 Maxxis Carnivore tires, Adventure Pro navigation, D-mode and a rear-view mirror. The base-model RMAX is $19,799.

 

We put 400 pounds of weight in the back of each machine and drove them on steep, off-camber trails. Both machines handled it well and didn’t feel overly tippy.

As for the Commander, it has a base price of $16,399; however, the unit we tested, the XT-P, is $22,199. Its extra features include larger 2.5-inch Fox shocks, a 4500-pound winch housed in a brush-guard front bumper, a roof, rear-view mirror and 30×10-15 XPS tires mounted on beadlock wheels. The wheels can easily account for the $1000 higher price tag over the RMAX, but the Yamaha Adventure Pro system could cancel that out. Still, the prices are very comparable.

The new XPS tires on the Commander gripped well if you aired down, but they vibrated a bit on high-speed, hard-packed trails.

DETAILS

So, basically the differences are those beadlock wheels on the Can-Am and the Adventure Pro navigation on the Yamaha. Navigation is one of those items that belongs on every adventure-type car; however, if you and your buddies cruise the same old ride area every weekend, then it’s not for you.

Yamaha’s parallel twin uses dual overhead cams and produces 108 horsepower. It’s quicker off the line than the Commander, but both have the same top speed.

Another detail that helps extend your adventures is fuel capacity. The Yamaha has a 9.2-gallon tank, whereas the new Commander has a 10-gallon tank. During our 100-mile test, both machines used nearly the same amount of fuel at 6.5 gallons. For towing and storage of your new machine, you might be interested in the overall measurements as well. The new Commander is over 10 inches longer than the RMAX, whereas the RMAX is 2 inches wider and 2 1/2 inches taller. Overall, the length, width and height measurements are 130x64x75.3 for the Commander and 119.3×66.1×77.8 for the RMAX. The RMAX XT-R weighs 1884.9 pounds full of fuel, and the Commander XT-P is 1725 pounds dry, so the Commander is approximately 100 pounds lighter.

BRP’s proven Rotax V-twin powers the new Commander. This is the 100-horsepower R version, which has the juice to pull the Commander around at a fun clip. Top speed is 70 mph.

SUSPENSION

Yamaha gives the RMAX 2 14.2 inches of wheel travel up front and 16.9 inches of travel in the rear. Arched A-arms handle that movement, and the 2-inch Fox shocks are preload and three-position (QS3) compression adjustable.

The XT-P package comes with all the goodies, such as a front bumper, LED light bar, winch and 30-inch tires. Ground clearance is great with at least 13 inches all the way back.

Under the Commander, a similar A-arm-style suspension system is found with 14 inches of travel on all four corners via larger 2.5-inch Fox QS3 shocks. The Can-Am does have a 6-inch-longer wheelbase at 90.6 inches. That fact just about evens out the suspension battle. This longer wheelbase, as well as the 1/2-inch-larger shocks, helps the Can-Am soak up the bigger bumps just as well as the Yamaha—and in some cases better.

Yamaha’s XT-R package is similar to Can-Am’s, offering a winch and front bumper. The RMAX’s headlights have a bulb that shines to the side of the trail to act as a sort of rock light.

WHICH ONE IS FASTER?

The Yamaha, but not by a lot. It gets a slight jump off the line most likely because of its Ultramatic clutch system. The Yamaha easily holds the lead all the way up to an equal top speed around 70 mph. The Commander gets its power from a proven 976cc V-twin engine, CVT transmission, and locking and unlocking front and rear differentials. Yamaha uses a parallel-twin cylinder with 999cc total mated to a CVT transmission and locked rear axle. The front has full locking capabilities.

In the rocks and tight trails, both machines are super capable. However, Yamaha did their homework during the design process. No matter how narrow of an area you squeeze the car through, the bodywork can take it. From the steel tubes running under the doors to the recessed lights, you won’t be leaving parts on the trail.

Yamaha gives the CVT belt a 10-year warranty on this machine. On the other hand, Can-Am gives you a spot to carry an extra belt behind the driver’s side rear fender. You can find out how easy the belt is to change by looking at our UTV Action YouTube channel. The procedure is the same as it is on the Maverick Sport.

The Adventure Pro is Yamaha’s current version of their navigation system. It’s much more than a high-end GPS unit. You can also view tons of vehicle functions, as well as record lap times and lots of other data along your ride.

CAN THEY HAUL?

Both machines have the same listed hauling and towing capacities, with 600 pounds for the bed and 2000 pounds towing. To test the difference in cargo hauling, we strapped a 55-gallon barrel of water in the back of each machine and drove it on a variety of steep and off-camber trails. We thought the weight would affect the Can-Am more, as it has such a high bed height. We were wrong; both machines handled the test very well. Yes, you could feel the weight in both machines, but neither was tippy or unstable.

Can-Am did a great job finding clever places to make cargo areas out of. Your spare CVT belt and belt tool hide behind this panel.

HOW CAPABLE ARE THEY?

For one test, we took the pair of machines up one of the gnarliest trails we could find. Both machines’ front differential styles made it up and over the obstacles easily. We love how Yamaha has always hidden the lower bodywork behind metal framework, so no matter how badly you scrape the underside of the machine, you are not tearing up bodywork. The Commander’s lower bodywork wraps around and joins the skid plate. So, if you climb over a rock or high-center dropping off a ledge, the plastic bodywork takes abuse. Furthermore, the bed side that we mention before that hides the CVT belt storage can be peeled away if you scrape it against a rock or tree. It’s fastened to the machine in the rear, but it only has a slip-fit up front.

At the rear of the RMAX, 16.9 inches of travel is controlled with Fox QS3 shocks, or they can be upgraded to iQS. The A-arms bushings are super strong and have held up well to over 1000 miles of testing.
The rear of the Commander uses a lower A-arm and a single upper arm to control 14 inches of travel using Fox QS3 shocks. It provides a comfortable ride in all conditions.

Where the two showed more of their differences was in the cockpit, comfort and visibility. There is a night-and-day difference in how well you can see out of the RMAX versus the Commander. Leg and shoulder room, seat foam and position are also dramatically better in the Yamaha. In this type of car, enjoying your surroundings is just as important as enjoying the ride. Plus, being comfortable for all-day rides is mandatory.

The bed height in the Commander (left) is 2 inches higher than the RMAX. Not only did it make things harder to load, but it was much tougher to see out the back of the car when seated.

FINAL DECISION

Performance-wise, these two couldn’t be more equal. Speed and suspension contests were all nearly tied. Acceleration and top speed were comparable, plus they both have the ability to smooth out throttle input if needed. Yamaha uses a three-position D-mode switch, while Can-Am offers the Eco-mode toggle switch. The Commander was a tad better in the bumps, but the RMAX was a tad more stable in the corners and on off-camber trails. It’s by far a better view when sitting in the RMAX and more comfortable, too. In the Commander, you feel more like you are sitting in an X3, which some people won’t mind. If you are one of them, you might prefer the Commander over the RMAX. We did not.

See the 2022 Polaris General XP 1000 Trailhead here: 2022 POLARIS GENERAL XP 1000 TRAILHEAD  | UTV Action Magazine

See 2022 Can-Am Commanders here: 2022 Can-Am Commander: Expedition Side-By-Side Vehicle (brp.com)

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