TEST: CAN-AM MAVERICK X3 MAX X DS

— When Can-Am’s Maverick X3s came out, most performance-minded UTVers were elated. The X3s offered all the power and suspension serious drivers could ask for with outstanding handling and ergonomics—awesome if you drive alone or only have one friend. Families hoping for four-seaters were like kids who found nothing under the tree on Christmas morning, and four-seat X3s became the most anticipated UTVs in years. Well, we got our hands on a 2017 X3 Max X ds, and we won’t keep you waiting with our reaction; it’s time for families to rejoice.

The four-seat Maverick X3 Max DS’ seating position keeps the riders’ weight low in the machine, which gives it a secure, glued-to-the-ground feel.

HOW DOES COST COMPARE?

As with 2017 two-seat X3s, there are three X3 Max four-seaters. The base X3 Max is $24,999, the X3 Max X ds is $27,399 and the X3 Max X rs is $29,099.

The four-model 2018 X3 Max family was announced just as we finished testing the 2017 model. The 2018 base X3 Max is $21,999. The 2018 X3 Max Turbo R is $24,999. The X3 Max X ds is $27,499 and the 2018 X3 Max X rs is $29,399.The Polaris XP 4 Turbo is $27,499. The Maverick Max Turbo is $22,499, the Maverick Max X ds Turbo is $25,199 and the Maverick Max Xrs Turbo is $26,099.

WHAT’S MAKES A MAX A MAX?

The X3 Max X ds is 64 inches wide and has the same 20 inches of front and rear suspension travel as the two-seat X3 X ds, but it isn’t just a two-seater with extra seats. The wheelbase was stretched from 102 to 135 inches to create a roomy, adult-sized rear seating area. The front and rear seats are fore, aft and height adjustable. Rear passengers get console and door-mounted handholds.

Like the two-seat X3s, the X3 Max X ds has a 900cc, three-cylinder, double-overhead-am, 12-valve engine with154 horsepower—plenty even for four people.

WHAT POWERS IT?

A turbocharged, 900cc, three-cylinder, double-overhead-cam, 12-valve engine. The 2017s make 154 horsepower. The 2018 X3 Max produces 172 horses, and it’s only $100 more.

WHAT KIND OF TRANSMISSION DOES IT HAVE?

A fully automatic, dual-range, belt-type continuously variable transmission. Can-Am designed the entire transmission to cope with the X3’s tremendous power, and we’ve been impressed with its durability. The transmission is also engineered to be simple to service, and the rear engine design makes the transmission cover very accessible, so replacing belts isn’t hard. The gated range selector has a smooth, solid action.

The huge Fox 2.5 RC2 piggyback reservoir front shocks are fully adjustable.

WHAT KIND OF 4WD SYSTEM DOES IT USE?

Selectable 2WD/4WD and Can-Am’s Visco-Lok automatic-locking front differential. The Visco-Lok system doesn’t engage a speed or rev limiter, so you can use full power with it switched on.

HOW FAST IS IT?

It’s a rocket. The X3 Max ds weighs 1735 pounds dry, which is 245 pounds more than the two-seat version, so its acceleration is a bit less explosive, but it’s still astounding. The machine we tested also had Can-Am’s accessory roof rack, cargo box and lights that added weight, and it still had tons of reserve power for anything we wanted to do.

The X3’s styling is racy and aggressive from front to back. The styled center exhaust shows Can-Am’s attention to detail.

HOW IS THE POWER DELIVERY?

As immediate and controllable as you want it to be. We have a lot of seat time in X3s, and their responsiveness and lack of turbo lag still seems amazing every time we mash the gas pedal. The turbo is cast as part of the compact exhaust manifold, so boost builds instantly. You get solid power off the bottom that just keeps building. As strong as this thing is, it’s still very cooperative in difficult, technical terrain. If you want to make the power less aggressive, you can switch to the Eco throttle progression map with a switch on the dash or use the standard key rather than the sport key.

The cabin is roomy, even for four adults, and all four seats are fore, aft and height adjustable.

WHAT KIND OF SUSPENSION DOES IT HAVE?

The X3 Max X ds comes with Fox Podium 2.5 RC2 piggyback reservoir shocks front and rear. They’ve got adjustable high- and low-speed compression and rebound damping and adjustable spring preload. The arched front dual A-arms and rear trailing arms provide 20 inches of travel, and front and rear sway bars fight body roll. The 72-inch-wide X3 Max X rs has Fox 3.0 Podium RC2 remote reservoir rear shocks and 22 inches of front and rear suspension travel.

HOW DOES THE SUSPENSION WORK?

It’s outstanding. With 20 inches of travel front and rear, the Max X ds glides through G-outs and drinks up jump landings with smooth, unflinching comfort. If you’re not used to this much travel and the level of control the high-end Fox shocks provide, you’ll find you can push this machine harder than anything you’ve driven. It’s a fun adjustment to make. We expect four-seaters shine in high-speed whoop riding, but the X3 Max ds is insanely good, certainly the most composed stock machine we’ve driven in whoops. Knowing that the wider, longer-travel X3 Max rs is likely even better is mind-blowing.

The trailing arms’ beefy, boxed construction and the way the wheel recesses into the arm’s shape contribute to the X3 Max’s composed handling.

HOW DOES IT HANDLE?

It’s a long-wheelbase story. As we said, the X3 Max ds’ straight-line high-speed stability is remarkable. The long wheelbase that helps it on straights subtracts some of the agility we enjoy so much with the two-seat X3 ds. In loose conditions, the X3 Max ds will push its front somewhat in sudden, sharp turns. Even so, the X3 Max ds is a great-handling machine. The low seating position keeps the riders’ weight low in the machine, which gives it a secure, glued-to-the-ground feel. Three position-adjustable power steering makes turning light and easy, and body roll is minimal. It slides predictably too.

HOW ARE THE DETAILS?

The X3 Max DS is the newest four-seat high-performance UTV design out there, and it shows. Despite the low, laid-back seating position, the vehicle is easy to enter and exit. The cabin is roomy and comfortable for the riders up front and in back, and passengers’ hand-holds are naturally, comfortably located. The seats feel like high-quality sports car seats, and the roller-type adjuster track adjusts seat position and height. The analog instruments are directly in front of the sturdy D-shaped wheel and tilt with it. Beadlock wheels are standard equipment, and so are quarter doors and a rear-view mirror. The stock exhaust looks and sounds cool. What’s it missing? A roof and door inserts would be nice.

We expect four-seaters shine in high-speed whoop riding, but the X3 Max X ds’ long wheelbase, rigid chassis, and excellent suspension give it outstanding stability and control.

WHAT IS OUR FINAL ANSWER?

Can-Am’s X3s give UTVers a higher-performance combination of power, handling and ergonomics than they ever experienced, and the X3 Max ds lets more riders experience that combination at once.

SPECS:

CAN-AM MAVERICK X3 MAX X DS

ENGINE/TRANSMISSION

Engine type Turbocharged, liquid-cooled, DOHC,

12-valve, inline triple

Displacement 900cc

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

Air filter:

  Type Paper pleat

  Transmission Dual-range CVT

Drive system Selectable 2WD/4WD w/automatic

front diff-lock

Final drive f/r Shaft/gear

DIMENSIONS/CAPACITIES/WEIGHTS

Fuel capacity 10.5 gal.

Wheelbase 135”

Overall length/width/height 164.4”/64”/65”

Ground clearance 13”

Dry weight 1735 lb.

Rear Rack capacity 200 lb.

Storage capacity 2.5 gal.

ROLLING CHASSIS

Frame Dual-phase 980 steel tube

Suspension/wheel travel:

  Front Dual A-arms & shocks w/ adj. high- & low-speed

compression, rebound, preload/20”

  Rear…Trailing arms & shocks w/ adj. high & low-

speed compression, rebound, preload/20”

Brakes:

  Front Twin-piston hydraulic 262mm discs

  Rear Twin-piston hydraulic 248mm discs

Tires:

  Front 29×9-14 Maxxis Bighorn 2.0

  Rear 29×11-14 Maxxis Bighorn 2.0

DETAILS

DC outlet Auto-style waterproof plug

Lighting:

Front LED headlights

Rear LED tail/brake lights

Instrumentation Speedo/odo/tach/trip/hour/fuel/

gear position/diagnostics/clock

Colors Circuit Yellow, Triple Black.

Minimum recommended operator age 16

Suggested retail price $27,399

Contact .Bombardier, (877)4-MY-RIDE or www.brp.com

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