— Testing the $19,999 120-hp version —
Can-Am’s X3 Turbo R sport UTVs became many UTV enthusiasts’ dream machines from the moment they appeared, and the jump from 154 horsepower to 172 for 2018 only increased its swoon factor. For UTVers without serious buying power, they had to remain a dream. Fortunately, Can-Am expanded the X3 lineup for 2018 with more affordable models like the new 120-horsepower, 64-inch-wide X3 Turbo so more drivers can stop dreaming and start driving.
HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
The new, 120-horsepower X3 Turbo is $19,999 and there’s also a new 90-horsepower, non-turbo X3 900 H.O. for $17,999. Prices for the 172-horsepower X3 Turbo R models start at $22,999 for the X3 Turbo R, the X3 X ds Turbo R is $24,999, the X3 X mr Turbo R is $25,999, the X3 X rs Turbo R is $26,899, and the X3 X rc Turbo R is $28,999. Polaris’ RZR XP Turbo is $19,999.
WHAT POWERS IT?
A turbocharged, three-cylinder, 900cc, double-overhead-cam, 12-valve engine with 120 horsepower. X3 Turbo R models use an intercooler and different tuning to produce 172 horsepower.
WHAT KIND OF TRANSMISSION DOES IT HAVE?
The easiest kind to use—a fully automatic, dual-range, belt-type CVT. The same transmission is impressively reliable on the 172-horsepower X3 Turbo R models, so it’s overbuilt for the X3 Turbo’s 120 horses. As with most sport UTV automatics, 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, solid, automotive-quality action.
WHAT KIND OF 4WD SYSTEM DOES IT HAVE?
Selectable 2WD/4WD with Can-Am’s Visco-Lok automatic-locking front differential. Unlike some systems, Visco-Lok has no speed or rev limiter, so you can get maximum traction at full throttle. Can-Am offers its new Smart-Lok fully lockable on-the-fly front differential with electronically controlled automatic modes on most X3 Turbo R models, but not on the X3 Turbo.
HOW FAST IS IT?
Fast enough and then some. The X3 Turbo isn’t quite as insanely quick as the 172-horsepower X3 Turbo R models, but if they’re honest, most drivers will admit they can’t fully use the Turbo’s 120 horses most of the time. If the X3 Turbo is too much for you or someone else who wants to try it, you can tame it with the valet key or the eco throttle map switch.
HOW IS THE POWER DELIVERY?
The Turbo feels fast, has a strong top-end hit and it’s easier to drive than the higher-horsepower X3s. In some situations it’s actually more fun because you can go flat out more often. You feel like you have the machine mastered, and you get the satisfaction of really using the power, which can make you feel like a better driver. The X3 Turbo has strong, solid throttle response with almost no turbo lag to speak of, but a RZR XP 1000 feels stronger off the bottom. The X3 can be rowdy or compliant depending on how you treat the gas pedal. You can steer with the throttle or finesse your way up ugly, traction-less hills.
WHAT KIND OF SUSPENSION DOES IT HAVE?
The double-A-arm front end and trailing-arm rear suspension each have 20 inches of travel using Fox QS3 compression and spring preload-adjustable piggyback reservoir shocks. That’s less travel and adjustability than the higher-end X3s have, but it’s still more than a RZR Turbo’s 16 inches of front travel and 18 inches of rear travel.
HOW DOES THE SUSPENSION WORK?
It’s extremely good. The X3 Turbo’s ride quality, control and bottoming resistance were unheard of on stock UTVs not too many years ago. This machine can’t match the longer-travel X3s in whooped-out, high-speed sections, but it’s impressively close nearly everywhere else. The Fox QS3 shocks’ three-position compression adjustments keep adjustments simple. The middle was clearly best for a wide range of terrains and speeds. We switched to the soft setting to reduce harshness in pounding, rocky terrain, and we used firm for more bottoming resistance when jumping in the dunes.
HOW DOES IT HANDLE?
It’s okay if you like excellence. The X3’s balanced, stable, predictable handling is hard to fault. Good mass centralization and the low seating position, along with front and rear sway bars, keep it flat in corners. It turns easily and slides like a rally car without feeling nervous or tail-happy, and the power steering provides good feel and three assist modes. Most of us liked the medium setting most of the time. The X3 goes where you point it, and thanks to a wheelbase a foot longer than a RZR Turbo’s, it’s very calm at speed, even in choppy terrain and deep whoops.
HOW IS IT IN UGLY TERRAIN?
Forward visibility could be better in steep terrain, but the X3 is a strong, confident climber. There’s no automatic engine braking, but the transmission stays engaged briefly in off-throttle situations. Powerful brakes make negotiating hairy downhills worry-free.
HOW ARE THE DETAILS?
The X3 Turbo hasn’t got a roof, full doors or beadlock wheels like the higher-end X3s, but it does come with a rear-view mirror, and the basics are very well done. The seats are very comfortable and easy to adjust. The instruments are big, clear and right in front of the excellent D-shaped wheels. The cabin is roomy and stylish with a decent amount of storage. The low, laid-back seating position is great for weight distribution, but it hurts forward visibility and makes the X3 kind of hard to enter and exit. That’s life with a sports car.
WHAT IS OUR FINAL ANSWER?
If you want to continue dreaming about an X3 and sleeping with your Can-Am X3 pillow, pajamas and bedsheets, that’s up to you. The X3 Turbo gets you all the X3 goodness most drivers can use for three grand less than the lowest-priced Turbo R model. How does it compare to the RZR Turbo that’s the same price? That’s another story for another issue of UTV Action, so stay tuned.
CAN-AM MAVERICK X3 TURBO
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/ automatic
Final drive: f/r Shaft/gear
Fuel capacity 10.5 gal.
Overall length/width/height 131”/64”/66”
Ground clearance 14”
Dry weight 1470 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, preload/20”
Rear Trailing arms & shocks w/adj. compression, preload/20”
Front Twin-piston hydraulic 262mm discs
Rear Twin-piston hydraulic 248mm discs
Front 28×9-14 Maxxis Bighorn 2.0
Rear 28×11-14 Maxxis Bighorn 2.0
DC outlet Auto-style waterproof plug
Front LED headlights
Rear LED tail/brake lights
Color White, Hyper Silver/Sunburst Yellow
Minimum recommended operator age 16
Suggested retail price $19,999
Contact .Bombardier, (877)4-MY-RIDE or www.brp.com