2020 Can Am Maverick Sport X RC Review
Words: Lance Schwartz // Photos: Lance Schwartz and Can Am
The amount of innovation and new technology that has entered the UTV industry over the last few years is mind boggling. Can Am is one of only two companies that currently offer their customers the option to buy a brand new UTV, with a warranty, that is setup to do some proper rock crawling. New for 2020 is the Can Am Maverick Sport X RC. Based upon the Maverick Sport, the X RC package offers several very important enhancements that give this incredibly cool machine the capability to tackle serious rock crawling without forfeiting the ability to also comfortably rock the trails as well. Here is our 2020 Can Am Maverick Sport X RC Review.
- Smart Lok diff
- 30” Maxxis Liberty tires
- Fox QS3 suspension with 14.75” of travel
- Huge 15” Ground Clearance
- Full UHMW and skids
- 4500lb winch
Powering the Maverick Sport X RC is a 976cc Rotax Vtwin cranking out 100HP in this tune. This is the same engine architecture that powered the original Mavericks when they arrived on the market nearly ten years ago. We liked the Rotax then, and like it just as much today. This Vtwin has a tremendous amount of racing heritage and therefore, performs well while also remaining durable and reliable. Unlike the bigger brother Maverick X3 line that utilizes a triple cylinder Rotax, the twin cylinder offers an amazing exhaust note that only a twin cylinder thumper can produce. The engine management system features Intelligent Throttle Control (iTC) that uses electronic trickery to not only control throttle response, but to also automatically make adjustments behind the scenes to deliver optimum throttle control. The engine can also be toggled between Eco and Sport mode, to more easily dial in just the right amount of performance.
Like other Mavericks across the product line, the X RC utilizes a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with Can Am’s Quick Response System (QRS) with high airflow ventilation. The biggest difference between this transmission and other Maverick trannies is the Extra Low gear ratio. With the large factory 30” tire diameter and the additional weight of the tires and other rock-friendly accessories, the extra low ratio transmission gears are a welcome addition.
The Maverick Sport X RC also incorporates Can Am’s super-trick Smart Lok front differential with both Rock and Trail modes. In addition to 2wd, the Maverick has several 4wd modes. There is a traditional locking front differential that locks the front two wheels to the rear, essentially providing the maximum amount of traction. However, in fully locked mode, traditional vehicles struggle to go any direction but straight with the diff locked. With Smart Lok, Can Am gives owners the ability to choose from two different “smart” modes. Rock Mode keeps the front differential locked, but does make steering effort easier than a typical fully locked front end. In Trail Mode, the front differential is a little more conservative, providing excellent traction with considerably less steering effort and the ability to turn more precisely.
Unlike the larger and more expensive Maverick X3 X RC, the Maverick Sport X RC features both front and rear dual a-arms. While the trailing arms of the X3 models offer considerably more suspension travel, they don’t offer as much ground clearance. The front and rear a-arms are responsible for making the Maverick Sport X RC a better option, in many cases, for those that are serious about a rock crawler that is also incredibly nimble on the trail. At 64” wide, the Maverick Sport X RC has enough width to provide stability, while still being narrow enough to negotiate even the tightest, gnarliest lines on the trail. It does this all while also providing nearly 15” of suspension travel via Fox Podium QR3 compression adjustable shocks.
One of the most obvious features that sets the Maverick Sport X RC apart from the crowd, including other Maverick Sport models, is the 30” Maxxis Liberty tires wrapped around 14” cast aluminum wheels. These tires not only look awesome, they help provide the 15” of ground clearance. Front are rear brakes are hydraulically actuated twin piston discs located at all four corners.
Interior & Exterior:
Inside the cabin, the Maverick Sport X RC comes standard with automotive-style three-point belts. The seats and cage however, are setup to easily accept either four or five point harnesses through the comfortable factory seats. Covering the entire undercarriage are Ultra High Molecular Weight (UHMW) skid plates and rock sliders. Rather than bend and snag like aluminum or steel skids, UHMW products slide over the obstacles and do a phenomenal job of protecting the vital mechanicals that lie underneath.
Hopping into the cabin of the Maverick Sport X RC is nearly effortless. The large doors not only do a great job of keeping the elements out, they also provide plenty of room for “Daddy Long Leggers” like myself to easily get in and out. If you’ve ever spent some time in the Maverick X3 chassis, you’ll immediately notice the seats on the Maverick Sport X RC sit up much higher in this chassis. This is the primary reason that ingress/egress is so easy. The X package seats are super comfy and while there isn’t a tremendous amount of extra space inside the cockpit, everything has been intuitively designed well enough that there’s plenty of space, even for two full size adults.
With a flick of the wrist, the fuel-injected, liquid-cooled Rotax V-twin comes alive with an exhaust note and thump that sounds uniquely familiar to BRP loyalists. There are ECO and Sport modes accessible via a dash mounted switch that pilots can toggle between. These modes change the fuel map and vary power output electronically. To be honest, we’ve left our X RC in Sport Mode pretty exclusively and only chose ECO to see just how much less power it delivered. ECO would be great for first-timers, but seasoned thrashers will certainly put the machine in Sport Mode and never look back.
With a shuffle of the gated shifter, we slapped the X RC into high and let ‘er rip. I was immediately surprised by the amount of power and performance the machine delivers. It’s not “throw you back in the seat” powerful, but for a rig rocking 30” tires from the factory, it’s damn impressive! The reason the large Maxxis rubber doesn’t hurt performance is due to lower gear ratios on the X RC models. This is especially noticeable in Low, which is ……well…..LOW!
With the hammer down, the Maxxis Liberty tires hooked up to the varied terrain we have here in the northeast. They’re fairly soft and sticky, so they stick to the rocks really well. Due to the soft nature of the tires, I figured they’d get torn up pretty quickly. But, after numerous rides where we drove it like we stole it, the Maxxis rubber still looks great. The Intelligent Throttle Control (iTC) will cut the power to the wheels in the event that it feels the machine get air and wheel slippage is detected. Large diameter tires, heavy weight, and lots of power can spell disaster, so the iTC comes in handy helping to keep the Maverick driveline in one piece. At times, it feels intrusive and more like the “fun police”, but I get the reasoning behind it.
Hanging at all four corners are Fox Podium 2.5 shocks with QS3 compression adjustability. With three quick settings on the rotary know, I was able to dial the Podiums into my ideal setting. Since most of our time was spent trail riding and crawling, the #1 setting gave us the plushest feel. While I enjoy the quick and convenient adjuster knob, having a few additional settings to choose from would be awesome! Also, no compression adjustment is available on these particular shocks, which I would prefer.
Trail armor is plentiful on the Maverick Sport X RC. Fully HMWPE skid plates and UHMWPE rock sliders cover the whole belly of this beast. Not only are the plastic skids durable, they also allow the machine to slip over trail obstacles they contact rather than inhibit the ability to slide on the rocks. When the trails become too difficult to pass, a 4500lb winch stuffed inside the front end can help save the day! A cool little D-ring is also standard equipment to hook a winch line to help with extraction.
I don’t often comment on the styling and looks of a new UTV, but the Can Am Maverick Sport X RC looks as good as it performs. We had one of the first available in the orange/black color scheme and man….she’s a beaut Clark! The fit and finish on Can Am products has always been good, but as time goes on, they continue to evolve and get even better. 3D CAD design has been good to our industry, and the Can Am products have surely benefited from it!
From the moment I picked our Maverick Sport X RC up from the dealership, it’s kinda been love at first site. I’ve been in tune with every aspect of the UTV industry for the last 15 years or so, and I’ve watched the evolution of these machines happen very quickly. Manufacturers like Can Am have chosen to lead and innovate, while others have been far more conservative in their approach. Sure, the Maverick Sport X RC has its roots tied directly to the original Maverick and shares an incredible amount of its DNA with the vastly different Maverick Trail. However, for those in the market with the desire to trail ride, rock crawl, and do a little bit of everything in between, we’re huge fans of the 2020 Can Am Maverick Sport X RC!
ENGINE & DRIVETRAIN
- Type: 1000cc: 100 hp, Rotax® 976 cc, V-twin
- Cooling: Liquid
- Fuel Delivery System: Intelligent Throttle Control (iTC™) with Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI)
- Drive System Type: Lockable front differential with Smart-Lok. Four-mode traction system including 2wd, 4wd with diff lock, 4wd rock, and 4wd trail.
- Transmision: Quick Response System (QRS) CVT with high airflow ventilation & Electronic Drive Belt Protection Extra-L / H / N / R / P
- Drivetrain: Lockable front differential with exclusive Smart-Lok* technology. True 4 modes traction system: 2WD / 4WD with front diff. lock / 4WD ROCK / 4WD TRAIL
- Driving Assistance: Electronic Hill Descent Control
- SPORT / ECO™ modes
- Power Steering: Dynamic Power Steering (DPS)
- Front Suspension: Arched double A-arm with sway bar / 14.75 in. (37.5 cm) travel
- Front Shocks: Fox 2.5 Podium Piggyback with QS3 compression adjustment
- Rear Suspension: Arched TTA-T with sway bar / 14.75 in. (37.5 cm) travel
- Rear Shocks: Fox 2.5 Podium Piggyback with QS3 compression adjustment
- Front Brakes: Dual 220 mm ventilated disc brakes with hydraulic twin-piston calipers
- Rear Brakes: Dual 220 mm ventilated disc brakes with hydraulic twin-piston calipers
TIRES / WHEELS
- Front Tires: Maxxis Liberty, 30 x 10 x 14 in. (76.2 x 25.4 x 35.6 cm)
- Rear Tires: Maxxis Liberty, 30 x 10 x 14 in. (76.2 x 25.4 x 35.6 cm)
- Wheels: Cast Aluminum 14-in. (35.6 cm)
- Overall Vehicle Size (L x W x H): 122 x 64 x 74.25 in (309.8 x 162.6 x 188.6 cm)
- Wheelbase: 6 in. (230.1 cm)
- Ground Clearance: 15 in. (38.1 cm)
- Dry Weight (pounds/kg): 1000cc: 1,593 lb (722.6 kg)
- Cargo Box Capacity: 300 lb (136 kg)
- Storage Capacity:
- Total: 5.3 gal (20.2 L)
- Glove Box: 4.1 gal (15.6 L)
- Driver storage: 0.4 gal (1.5 L)
- Center console and Cup holders: 0.8 gal (3.1 L)
- Towing Capacity: 1500lb (680kg)
- Fuel Capacity: 10 gal (38L)
- Gauge: Multifunction digital: Speedometer, tachometer, odometer, trip and hour meters, fuel, gear position, SPORT / ECO modes, seat belt, diagnostics, clock
- Instrumentation: Lighter type DC outlet in console (20-A)
- Magneto: 650-W
- Lighting: Two 55 W reflectors with unique Can-Am LED signature and LED tail lights with halo glow effect
- Winch: 4,500lb winch utilizing synthetic rope
- Steering Wheel: Adjustable tilt steering
- Protection: Integrated front steel bumper, rear sport bumper, half doors, mud guards, front tow hook
- Hitch Type: 2-in hitch receiver
- UHMWPE rock sliders HMWPE skid plates
- Factory: 6-months limited warranty
- Extended: Up to 30 months B.E.S.T. coverage