2013 Can-Am Maverick X RS First Ride 0

13_Maverick_x_rsThere’s no doubt about it; Can-Am’s Maverick 1000R X rs is one mean looking machine. When set next to the ultra-popular Polaris RZR XP900 the Maverick overshadows it in every way. It just has a presence that the no other side-by-side can match. If based just on looks alone, the Can-Am would dominate the competition, but what really matters is how it performs when it leaves the showroom floor. We finally got our hands on the 2013 Maverick X rs to find out for ourselves.

The Can-Am Maverick gets through the corners better in four-wheel drive, but it's more fun with power going only to the rear wheels.

The Can-Am Maverick gets through the corners better in four-wheel drive, but it’s more fun with power going only to the rear wheels.

The Maverick is Can-Am’s top dog when it comes to side-by-side performance, boasting a 976cc V-Twin engine that pumps out 101 horsepower. This is the same powerplant that is found in the less powerful Commander, but larger intake and exhaust valves, a 12:1 compression ratio and revised F.I. setting pull the extra ponies out of the Rotax motor. A reshaped air intake and new dual exhaust also contribute to the additional juice on tap.

With that much motor pushing the Maverick the suspension needs to be up to the task, and the specs suggest that it is more than capable. Up front, dual A-arm suspension strokes Fox Podium X 2.0 shocks through 14 inches of travel. It’s all standard engineering for a side-by-side front-end, but when you move to the back suspension things get technical. Can-Am’s new Torsional Trailing A-arms (TTA) independent rear suspension is a compact version of a five-link system that also gives 14 inches of wheel travel. Bump-steer is non-existent and tire scrub is reduced with this set-up allowing for better tire-to-ground contact.

The 1000R X rs is the premium model in the Maverick line-up that adds features such as the Fox Podium 2.5 shocks, bead-lock wheels wrapped in Maxxis Bighorn Tires, digital/analog gauges and specially trimmed seats. Jumping behind the wheel of the X rs, the first thing you notice is how well those specially trimmed bucket seats support and hold you in place. Usually seats are on the short list of aftermarket changes for a side-by-side, but not these units. They are much better than what the other manufacturers have to offer. The rest of the cockpit is roomy and feels much more put together than the usual fare.

Turn one of the two keys provided (one limits the top speed to 44 mph), press the start button and the Rotax V-Twin lumps to life with a throaty rumble. Selecting gears is via a gated shift lever on the left side of the center console with the standard park, reverse, neutral, high and low selections. Power is transferred from the engine to the transmission through a CVT system.

Throttle and CVT response is snappy and puts power to the ground almost immediately. While Can-Am claims the Maverick has the best torque output in the business, right off the bottom I was expecting more of a kick to the rear. But once above 30 mph the amount of thrust is eye-opening to say the least. The power just builds and builds all the way 75 mph. You can squeeze a few more mile-per-hour out of the 1000R if you have a long road as we topped out at 78 mph after a mile long run. There is no doubt the Maverick has one of the best powerplants in its class and could possibly be my personal favorite.

When the going gets rough the 1000R X rs keeps going – fast. With so much wheel travel, slowing for whoops and jumps is optional. In just about any situation you can power through the bumps in complete control. The Fox Podium X 2.0 shocks are slightly stiff in rocks and cross-ruts, but the trade off for the bottomless feel in the big stuff is worth it. We found that backing off the compression damping helped the compliance in the bumps but felt the stiffer setting was better for high performance driving.

In the corners the Can-Am has more body roll than we’d like, but once you get used to the feel it’s not a huge issue. In 2WD the tail-end is happy and steps out with ease. Judicious use of the gas pedal is needed to get around tighter bends quickly, although it is more fun just to stand on it and do your best Ken Block impression. 4WD tightens up the arcs, and still allows a bit of oversteer. When the dirt gets really loose the front end will pull the Maverick through the corners when the rear looses traction.

The suspension of the Can-Am Maverick X rs feels bottomless.

The suspension of the Can-Am Maverick X rs feels bottomless.

One criticism of the Maverick’s handling is when the speeds are low in tight confines such as crawling or maneuvering through trees. The steering is heavy when the speed is below 5 mph and works your arms until around 15 mph. Power steering will be available on the 2014 models, and we would say the extra charge will be worth it.

Braking performance from the four-wheel 214mm discs is powerful and will haul the 1300-pound Maverick to a stop in short order as long as there is sufficient traction. Jamming the brakes on loose surfaces will lock up the rear before the front, and careful application in slippery conditions is required.

Bed capacity is minimal as there is only a small platform hovering between the rear fenders, but this is a machine for hauling ass, not hay. However, Can-Am’s LinQ attachment system will allow you to install a host of accessories such as a storage box, bags or rack extensions. The glove box is the largest we’ve seen on a side-by-side. There are also dual cup holders in the center console, but the heat from the engine will turn your iced tea to hot tea in minutes. We preferred to keep our bottled beverages in the glove box.

The 2013 Can-Am Maverick is a true ripper in the side-by-side world. A powerful engine, bottomless suspension and unparalleled comfort make the 1000R X-rs high on our list of machines for ripping up the trails and desert. Jump in, stomp on the gas and you’ll be instantly hooked as the scenery flies by in a flash.

The Can-AM Maverick's engine response is snappy in the mid-range.

The Can-AM Maverick’s engine response is snappy in the mid-range.

2013 Can-Am Maverick X rs Technical Specifications:
Engine: Liquid-cooled 4-Stroke, SOHC V-Twin
Displacement: 976cc
Fueling: iTC with EFI
Transmission: CVT, sub-transmission with H/L/P/N/R, standard engine braking, selectable 2WD/4WD
Final Drive: Shaft
Front Suspension: Dual A-Arm, Fox Podium X 2.0 shocks with compression and preload adjustment, 14 in. travel
Rear Suspension: TTA independent with sway bar, Fox Podium X 2.0 shocks with compression and preload adjustment, 14 in. travel
Front/Rear Brakes: 4-Wheel dual 214mm ventilated discs, twin piston calipers (front), single psiton calipers (rear)
Front Tires: 27 x 9-12; Maxxis Bighorn 2.0
Rear Tires: 27 x 11-12; Maxxis Bighorn 2.0
Wheels: Cast Aluminum
Wheelbase: 84.3 in.
Dry Weight: 1,297 lbs. (claimed)
LxWxH: 118.8 x 64 x 74.2 in.
Ground Clearance: 13 in.
Fuel Capacity: 10 gal
Rear Rack Capacity: 200 lbs.
Cargo System: LinQ quick-attach
Lighting: 4 60-W projectors with tail/brak light
Instrumentation: Multifunction Gauge, Speedometer, Odometer, Tachometer, Tripmeter, Hour Meter, Clock, Gear Position, Fuel Gauge, Seat Belt and 4X4 indicator, Diagnostics, Auto Shut Off
MSRP: $17,799
Warranty: 6-month limited

The Can-Am Maverick X rs is powered by a 976cc Rotax V-Twin.

The Can-Am Maverick X rs is powered by a 976cc Rotax V-Twin.

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