Can-Am’s X3 UTV family changed the UTV game overnight. Many UTVers were so overwhelmed by the stats of the top-of-the-line X3 X rs, they were stunned. It’s hard not to brain-lock when you see a 72-inch-wide machine with 24 inches of travel that costs 27 grand. Lots of enthusiasts thought all the X3s were 72 inches wide, had 24 inches of travel and cost $27,000. We’ll, that’s not true, and we’re glad, because a narrower, cheaper machine makes more sense for a lot of UTVers. The X3 X ds is 64 inches wide, has 20 inches of travel and costs $24,999, which is just outrageous enough, and it has some cool qualities that could make you like it more than the X3 X rs.
HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
The X3 X ds is $24,999, which makes it the mid-priced X3 model between the X rs, which is $26,699 in Triple Black or $26,899 in gold and red, and the $22,999 base X3. Polaris’ 2017 RZR XP Turbo is also $24,999, which is no coincidence whatsoever. Arctic Cat’s Wildcat X Limited is $19,499, but with a bit more than 90 horsepower, it’s in a different class than the 154-horsepower Can-Am. We expect Arctic Cat will solve that problem shortly.
WHAT POWERS IT?
Exactly the same turbocharged, three-cylinder, 154-horsepower engine you get in the top-of-the-line X3 X rs. How cool is that? Really cool, because the X 3 X ds is 95 pounds lighter than the X rs. You don’t have to be a physicist to see that the less-expensive X ds can out-accelerate the X rs. That means you win the drag race, or the race to the top of the dune, or the race to the first turn—and you spent almost two grand less! Just watch what you eat, who you pick for a passenger and avoid races on terrain with really huge whoops and you can smoke X rs’! Polaris’ new 168-horsepower XP Turbo could be a different story. We haven’t had our X3 X ds and XP Turbo test units together to find out—yet.
The base X3 is 20 pounds lighter than the X ds.
WHAT’S THE TRANSMISSION LIKE?
It’s an easy-to-use, fully automatic, dual-range, belt-type CVT just like the X rs, with the same over-designed belt, clutches and cooling system. If you do need to replace a belt, the process is simple due to the X3’s rear-engine design, not the time-consuming ordeal you face with mid-engine Mavericks. The range selector is one of the best in the game too. Its smooth, positive action is part of Can-Am’s plan to give the X3 automotive-level refinement, a big departure from the crude feel some UTVs have.
WHAT KIND OF 4WD SYSTEM DOES IT HAVE?
Selectable 2WD/4WD with Can-Am’s Visco-Lok automatic-locking front differential. Unlike some systems, Can-Am’s has no speed or rev limiter, so you can take advantage of maximum traction at full throttle.
HOW FAST IS IT?
It’s ridiculously fast. Prepare to be shocked and amazed. The X3’s acceleration and speed has a way of compressing vast, open spaces and defying deep sand’s power-sapping effects. Every time we encountered situations that called for serious power, we came away amazed at how much more power it had than we needed. The Can-Am’s power delivery is as remarkable as the amount of power it has on tap too. There’s no turbo lag—just instant, controllable thrust in massive amounts, if you like. Drivers who want smoother throttle progression can switch to Eco mode with a switch on the dash. Owners who want to tame the X3 for less-experienced drivers can replace the sport key with the standard key.
WHAT’S THE SUSPENSION PACKAGE LIKE?
It’s pure high-performance hardware. The X ds has Fox Podium 2.5 RC2 piggyback reservoir shocks front and rear with adjustable high- and low-speed compression, rebound and spring preload. Arched front double A-arms and rear trailing arms provide 20 inches of travel, the most on any 64-inch-wide UTV at the moment, and there are sway bars front and rear to fight body roll. X3 X rs’ have Fox 3.0 Podium RC2 remote-reservoir rear shocks to control the 24 inches of rear suspension travel.
HOW DOES THE SUSPENSION WORK?
Its limits are so high, many drivers may never find them. It’s not impossible to use all 20 inches of travel on a surprise bump or G-out, but you have to be a fast, aggressive driver and really push the X ds hard to fully use the suspension, which is how a high-end, high-performance UTV should be. The suspension devours whoops with astounding ease and control. For now, only the X3 X rs is significantly better in whoops. The X3’s 154-horsepower requires an extremely high level of suspension performance, and this machine has it.
Surprisingly, the suspension package also works remarkably well for cruising and relaxed riding. You don’t need to drive like a racer to enjoy excellent comfort, control and ride quality in the Can-Am. If you find you want to fine-tune the ride to your conditions or driving style, the X3’s suspension is as adjustable as they come.
HOW DOES IT HANDLE?
The X ds is stable and composed at speed, and it corners accurately and effortlessly. The Can-Am always feels balanced and in control, and body roll in corners is minimal—a surprise for a machine with 20 inches of travel at both ends. This machine is a joy to drive, because there’s no odd-handling quirks or shortcomings you have to drive around or hold back for, and the chassis and suspension are completely up to speed with the wickedly powerful engine. The low-seat positioning keeps the driver’s and passenger’s weight where it can’t compromise handling, and the quick-steering ratio and variable-rate power steering make steering input instant and easy. You can drift through turns with power, square corners off or follow chicane-like trails at a furious pace with ease.
HOW ARE THE DETAILS?
They’re on a whole new level for sport UTVs. A rear-view mirror is standard. The seats aren’t only better than other stock UTV seats, they’re better than the seats in some high-end cars. Instead of non-adjustable seats or stubborn slide adjusters like on some UTVs, the Can-Am’s seat adjusters work as smoothly as a car’s and offer height adjustment, as well as moving forward and backward. The clear analog instruments are directly in front of the D-shaped wheel, and they move with the adjustable steering column to keep them at the perfect angle, regardless of the wheel adjustment you choose. The passenger’s handholds are comfortably, naturally positioned. The X3 ds comes with 14-inch aluminum beadlock wheels with 29-inch Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires, quarter doors that open and close easily and solidly, and gold- or Matte Black-painted bodywork. The build quality and finish are very impressive overall. Room for improvement? There’s some. The quarter doors are nice, but full doors, or getting the optional door inserts as standard equipment, would be better.
WHAT IS OUR FINAL ANSWER?
As awesome as the X3 rs is, not everyone needs or wants a 72-inch-wide machine with 24 inches of travel. The 64-inch-wide X ds is nearly as well equipped, almost $2000 less and quicker, if you put its weight advantage to work in the right conditions. For many drivers, this is the ultimate X3!
CAN-AM MAVERICK X3 X ds
Engine type Turbocharged, liquid-cooled, DOHC,
12-valve, inline triple
Bore x stroke 74mm x 67.9mm (3)
Compression ratio 9.1:1
Lubrication system Wet sump
Induction 46mm EFI
Starting/back-up Electric push-button/none
Starting procedure In any range, brake engaged
Type Paper pleat
Transmission Dual-range CVT
Drive system Selectable 2WD/4WD w/ auto
front differential lock
Final drive: f/r Shaft/gear
Fuel capacity 10.5 gal.
Overall length/width/height 131”/64”/66”
Ground clearance 14”
Dry weight 1490 lb.
Rear rack capacity 200 lb.
Storage capacity 2.5 gal.
Frame Dual-Phase 980 steel tube
Front Dual A-arms & shocks w/ adj. high- & low-speed
compression, rebound, preload/20”
Rear Trailing arms & shocks w/ adj. high- & low-peed
compression, rebound, preload/20”
Front Twin-piston hydraulic 262mm discs
Rear Twin-piston hydraulic 248mm discs
Front 29×9-14 Maxxis Bighorn 2.0
Rear 29×11-14 Maxxis Bighorn 2.0
DC outlet Auto-style waterproof plug
Front LED headlights
Rear LED tail/brake lights
Colors Circuit Yellow, Triple Black
Minimum recommended operator age 16
Suggested retail price $24,999
Contact .Bombardier; (877)4-MY-RIDE, www.brp.com