With the release of the new Can-Am Maverick Trail just over a week ago, the roster of eligible players in the 50 inch side by side category just got wider. Now with four contenders offering true 50 inch side by sides, trail enthusiasts have more options at a variety of price points and varying levels of performance to choose from.
As the newcomer to the group, we’re anxious to see how this new trail ready Maverick is received by the masses. Like other models in the Can-Am lineup, the Maverick Trail is available in two different engine configurations, an 800 and 1,000. For the purpose of our comparison we’re using the 1,000 model’s specs so that we can compare apples to apples but it’s worth mentioning the available option.
Maverick Trail 1000
In the horsepower department, the Maverick Trail puts out 75 ponies from it’s 976cc Rotax V-twin engine. It offers the same Visco-lok auto locking front differential that can be found on most Can-Am ATVs and UTVs and includes electronic descent control for controlling speeds when traveling downhill. Trail riders will appreciate the extra low “Low” drive gear in instances that require some extra low end grunt to overcome an obstacle.
Twin tube gas charged shocks matted to dual A-arm independent suspension provides 10 inches of front suspension travel and Can-Ams Tortional Trailing Arms provide 10.5 inches in the rear. On the flip side, you’ll find impressive full length body armor should you find the 10 inches of ground clearance to be insufficient. At 90.6 inches, the Maverick Trail features the longest wheelbase in class and is the longest overall at 118 inches. A ten gallon fuel tank is the largest of the four machines and will ensure you don’t have to stop your fun to refuel frequently. In the cockpit you’ll find a multifunctional digital display, over five gallons of storage space and an adjustable tilt steering wheel. MSRP $12,999
Polaris RZR 900
Tied with the Maverick Trail, the Polaris RZR 900 puts out 75 horsepower from its ProStar 900 twin cylinder engine. ZF Sachs front and rear shocks provide the damping and dual a-arm front and rear suspension offer 10 inches of suspension travel on all four corners. Obviously Polaris engineers felt that engine breaking is a priority to trail enthusiasts because the RZR 900 model offers it where several of the larger displaced Extreme Performance models do not.
The RZR 900 has the highest ground clearance of any these models at 11 inches and a 9.5 gallon fuel tank. It’s 79 inch wheel base is significantly less than the Maverick Trail but if space comes at a premium in your toy hauler, you’ll appreciate the 105 inch overall length. MSRP $12,999.
More: Polaris RZR 900 Review
Textron Wildcat Trail
Though slightly underpowered at just over 60 horsepower, the Textron Wildcat Trail is still big fun, due largely in part to its FOX Shocks. The Wildcat ties the Maverick for best in class suspension with 10 inches up front and 10.5 inches in the rear and offers the same 10 inches of ground clearance. A Rapid Response clutch with electronically selectable 2WD/4WD and differential lock lets you decide how the power gets to the ground. Although slightly underpowered, the Wildcat Trail offers the best in class power to weight ratio thanks to its trimmed down figure.
Smaller 25 inch tires can be found on the Wildcat Trail as opposed to 26’s found on both the Maverick and RZR. If you’re one that commonly runs your machine out of fuel, be mindful of the smaller 7.5 gallon fuel tank so you don’t end up stranded. The Wildcat Trail offers a wheelbase of 86 inches which is just about right between the RZR and the Maverick and drivers will appreciate the infinitely adjustable tilt steering wheel. MSRP $11,499
Honda Pioneer 500
The Honda Pioneer 500 is sort of the odd man out in this comparison but as a 50 inch contender, we wanted to include it in our comparison. For the consumer who wants to hit the trails but has a tight budget, this might be the easy go to. Although the Pioneer 500 shares the same 50 inch stance as these other models, it’s “smaller” in just about every capacity.
For starters, the single cylinder 475cc engine puts out just over 28 horsepower. Independent dual wishbone front and rear suspension supplies 5.9 inches of front and rear travel and ground clearance measures 8.5 inches. The Pioneer 500 is significantly shorter at 102 inches long with a wheelbase of 73 inches; thats 17 inches shorter than the Maverick Trail.
A couple of features that set the Pioneer apart however are its five speed speed automatic transmission with optional paddle shift manual transmission. Honda was the first OEM to put paddle shifters on a side by side and while the Pioneer 500 might not set any land speed records, controlling when the vehicle shifts provides an entirely different, and very sporty experience. MSRP $8,999
Trail Width Comparison
There are a great number of trails around the United States and Canada that have a maximum vehicle width of 50-inches, so it is great to see more competition in this market segment.
With the exception of horsepower, three of the four machines are remarkably similar. The Maverick Trail, RZR 900 and Wildcat Trail are within half of an inch of one another in suspension travel and one inch in ground clearance. All four of the machines include a trailer hitch with the Maverick Trail, RZR 900 and Wildcat Trail capable of towing 1500 pounds, though we find it odd that Polaris went with a 1.5 inch receiver over the more common 2 inch. We doubt anyone would buy one of these machines expecting to put it to work, but it’s nice knowing these machines could rise to the occasion if absolutely necessary.
None of the base models we compared feature power steering but upgraded versions of each machine (with the exception of the Pioneer) are available with power steering as well as a handful of other upgrades. Whether you consider yourself loyal to one brand or not, it’s great to see manufacturers stepping up to the plate and meeting the specific demands of the industry.
50-inch UTV Specifications
|Can-Am Maverick Trail 1000||Polaris RZR 900||TEXTRON Wildcat Trail||HONDA Pioneer 500|
|Horsepower||75 HP||75 HP||60+ HP||28.7 HP|
|Transmission||CVT Featuring Electronic Belt Protection & Extra Low “L”||Automatic PVT||CVT with Rapid Response Clutches||5 Speed Automatic with MT/AT & Paddle Shifters|
|Electronic Fuel Injection||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Suspension Travel Front/Rear||Dual A-Arm 10”/ TTA-T 10.5”||Dual A-Arm 10”/10”||Dual A-Arm 10”/10.5”||Independent Double Wishbone 5.9”/5.9”|
|Shocks||Twin Tube Gas Charged Shocks||ZF Sachs||Premium FOX Shocks with Spring Pre-Load Adjustment|
|Front Tires||Carlisle ACT 26x8x12||PXT 26x8x12||Carlisle Trail Pro 25x8x12||24x8x12|
|Rear Tires||Carlisle ACT 26x9x12||PXT 26x9x12||Carlisle Trail Pro 25x10x12||24x10x12|
|Overall Dimensions LxWxH||118” x 50” x 69”||105” x 50” x 69.5”||110.5” x 50” x 64.3”||102.6” x 50” x 71.3”|
|Overall Weight||1349 Wet||1150 Dry||1060 Wet||1025 Wet|
|Fuel Capacity (Gallons)||10 Gallons||9.5 Gallons||7.4 Gallons||4.1 Gallons|
|Trailer Hitch||2” Receiver||1.5” Receiver||2” Receiver||2” Reciever|
|Towing Capacity||1500 lbs||1500 lbs||1500 lbs||1000 lbs|