CAN-AM X3 X RC TURBO
If you’re looking for a sport UTV and you’ve wondered if you really need a rock-crawling model, you do. If you never enter the King of the Hammers race or go to Moab, you’ll use every extra the X rc has in normal trail riding sooner or later, and some of those extras can help a lot. We tested the Can-Am X3 X rc Turbo to see how well it worked for rock crawling and regular riding.
WHAT KIND OF UTV IS THE X3?
It’s a 65.6-inch-wide, turbocharged sport machine with 120 horsepower.
WHAT DO YOU GET WITH X3 X RC?
Lots of good stuff. The base X3 has the Visco-Lok front differential. The X rc has the true-locking Smart-Lok front differential. The base X3 Turbo has 28-inch Maxxis Bighorn 2 tires. The X rc has 30-inch Maxxis Liberty tires. Both models have 14-inch non-beadlock aluminum wheels, but the X rc has reinforcement rings that help the wheels resist rock dings. The base X3 is 64 inches wide. The X rc is 65.6 inches wide. Compactness is good, but a wider, more stable stance is good, too. The base model has no front bumper and no front tow hook. The X rc has a front bumper, front and rear tow hooks and a 4500-pound winch. The X rc also has numerous guards the base model lacks, including front and rear suspension arm guards, differential and under-bumper skid plates, and rock sliders. The base X3 has a 4.5-inch instrument display, while the X rc has a 7.6-inch display. The Carbon Black and Orange X rc also looks cooler than the base model’s color schemes. Interestingly, the base X3 has 20 inches of front and rear suspension travel, and the X rc has 18, yet both machines have 14 inches of ground clearance.
HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
The 2020 X3 X rc Turbo is $23,999 and the 2021 model is $24,099. The 2020 and 2021 base X3 Turbo is $18,999. Looking for a less-expensive rock crawler? Can-Am has the 2020 64-inch-wide Maverick Sport X rc for $21,499, and the 2021 model is $21,599. If raw power is more important to you than extra capability in rocks and tough terrain, Can-Am has the 2020 or 2021 172-horsepower X3 X ds Turbo R for $20,999. If you have to have it all, Can-Am also offers the 2020 195-horsepower X3 X rc Turbo R for $29,599, and the 2021 is $29,799. Polaris’ RZR XP 1000 Trails and Rocks Special Edition is $23,599.
WHAT POWERS IT?
A turbocharged, three-cylinder, 900cc, double-overhead-cam, 12-valve engine with 120 horsepower. X3 Turbo R models use an inter-cooler and different tuning to produce 172 horsepower. X3 Turbo RR models have an intercooler, larger turbo, even more aggressive tuning and 195 horsepower.
WHAT KIND OF TRANSMISSION DOES IT HAVE?
The most common and easiest-to-use type of UTV transmission—a fully automatic, dual-range, belt-type CVT. The same transmission is impressively reliable on the 172-horsepower X3 Turbo R models, so it should have no trouble dealing with the X3 X rc Turbo’s 120 horses. There’s no automatic engine braking, but the X3’s transmission stays engaged longer than some in off-throttle situations. The range selector has a smooth, positive action.
WHAT KIND OF 4WD SYSTEM DOES IT HAVE?
Can-Am’s lockable, on-the-fly, Smart-Lok front differential. The differential offers 4WD Rock, 4WD Trail/ 2WD and 4WD modes. Smart-Lok lets you vary the degree of front differential lock or fully lock it, which makes it better than Can-Am’s Visco-Lok automatic-locking front differential, especially in very challenging terrain.
HOW FAST IS IT?
Pretty stinkin’ fast. The X rc’s 120 horsepower sounds close to the 110 or 115 horsepower of some non-turbo sport UTVs, but no naturally aspirated machine accelerates like the X3 Turbo. Most drivers will find the Turbo’s 120 horses are more than enough for nearly any situation.
HOW IS THE POWER DELIVERY?
Get on the throttle hard and the X rc Turbo cuts loose with a serious rush of acceleration. In normal driving, the Can-Am has strong, solid throttle response with almost no turbo lag, but healthy non-turbo 1000s like the RZR XP 1000 and Honda Talon feel stronger right off idle. The X rc’s smooth off-idle throttle response helps it in some sketchy, low-traction rock crawling and trail situations. You still need to do your part controlling the throttle. When the Turbo starts making serious power, it builds in a hurry. A Kawasaki KRX 1000 is much more tractable. If the X3’s power is too much for the conditions or for a learning driver, you can use the normal key, which reduces power output and top speed rather than the performance key.
WHAT KIND OF SUSPENSION DOES IT HAVE?
The double-A-arm front end and trailing-arm rear suspension both have 18 inches of travel using Fox 2.5 QS3 compression and spring preload-adjustable piggyback reservoir shocks. That’s less travel and adjustability than the higher-end X3s have, but it is a bit more than you get with most non-turbo 1000s.
HOW DOES THE SUSPENSION WORK?
It’s very good, with some room for improvement. The X rc’s suspension provides impressive bottoming resistance and control, and a balanced feel that makes drivers feel comfortable going fast or creeping through technical terrain. It could be smoother on small, low-speed impacts, but so can most sport machines. We switched to the shocks’ soft setting to reduce harshness in rugged terrain, and we used firm for more bottoming resistance for fast riding. The Fox QS3 shocks’ three-position compression adjusters don’t require tools, so trail-side adjustments are easy.
HOW DOES IT HANDLE?
The X3 X rc has all the good X3 handling traits we like. It’s balanced, stable and predictable. It corners well whether you want to turn in or use the healthy power to steer with the throttle. With a wheelbase a foot longer than a RZR XP 1000, it’s very calm at speed, even in whoops or choppy terrain. Correct weight distribution, a low seating position, and front and rear sway bars keep it flat in corners. The power steering provides good feel at speed and plenty of assist at low speeds.
HOW IS IT IN ROCKS AND OTHER DIFFICULT TERRAIN?
The X3 X rc’s forward visibility isn’t as good as most of its competition’s in steep terrain, but it has more power and stability than most drivers will want to use on hairy climbs. There’s no automatic engine braking, though the transmission stays engaged briefly in off-throttle situations. Great stability and powerful brakes make steep drop-offs and ugly downhills seem like just another part of the trail.
Sand Hollow’s rocks, sand and surrounding trails were perfect for testing the X rc’s 30-inch Maxxis Liberty tires, and like the tires, the machine performed well on the rocks and off. Thanks to the tires and the versatile Smart-Lok front differential, we always had the traction we needed. Any aggressive driver can appreciate the X rc’s well-shielded chassis and 4500-pound winch for rock crawling or other rugged trails.
HOW ARE THE DETAILS?
We already mentioned the X rc’s many useful extras, though the X3 platform is full of nicely done details of its own. The cabin has plenty of shoulder and leg room, and a rear-view mirror is standard equipment. The seats are very comfortable and supportive, and they offer fore, aft and height adjustment. The D-shaped steering wheel is sturdy and adds leg clearance.
WHAT IS OUR FINAL ANSWER?
Can-Am’s X3 X rc Turbo is a substantial step up from the base X3 Turbo in price and rough-terrain readiness. If driving aggressively in challenging terrain is your thing, the X3 X rc Turbo is a great choice, whether you like rock crawling or not.
See the 2021 Can-Am UTVs here: https://utvactionmag.com/2021-can-am-utvs/
CAN-AM MAVERICK X3 X rc Turbo
Engine type Turbocharged, liquid-cooled, double
overhead cam, 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/ automatic
front differential lock
Final drive f/r Shaft/gear
Fuel capacity 10.5 gals
Overall length/width/height 133”/65.6”/66”
Ground clearance 14”
Dry weight 1642 lb.
Rear Rack capacity 200 lb.
Storage capacity 2.5 gal.
Frame Dual-Phase 980 steel tube
Front Dual A-arms & shocks w/ adj. compression,
Rear Trailing arms & shocks w/ adj. compression,
Front Twin-piston hydraulic 262mm discs
Rear Twin-piston hydraulic 248mm discs
Front 30×10-14 Maxxis Liberty
Rear 30×10-14 Maxxis Liberty
DC outlet Auto-style waterproof plug
Front LED headlights
Rear LED tail/brake lights
Color Carbon Black & Orange
Minimum recommended operator age 16
Suggested retail price $23,999
Contact .Bombardier, (877) 4-MY-RIDE or