By Jon Crowley
We recently picked up a new 2020 Can-Am Maverick X3 X RC Turbo RR. First we took it on a quick desert ride in Nevada, then we wanted to try it out in the rocks, so we scheduled a trip to the world famous Rubicon Trail here in Northern California.
The big changes for the 2020 Can-Am Maverick X3 X RC Turbo RR are:
- 32-inch Maxxis Liberty tires (up from 30″)
- 195HP (up from 172HP)
- CVT was recalibrated to match the new performance levels, larger tires and improve belt longevity.
- 7.6-in. digital display. An all-new onboard keypad simplifies drive mode, trip and DPS selection.
Smart-Lok Front Differential
The X3 RC first came out a few years back and the big advance for this model was the Smart-Lok front differential. The Smart-Lok system has two automatic modes for 4×4: Rock and Trail. Rock mode is all automatic and works very well for most rock crawling situations. But the unique thing about Can-Am’s Smart-Lok is they also allow you to fully lock the front differential as well. This system is a blend of all other manufacturers systems and works very well in extreme terrain and for all driver’s style/preference.
Nothing has changed for the 2020 Can-Am Maverick X3 X RC Smart-Lok Front Differential, so here is a quick demonstration we filmed for the 2018 model that still applies:
For our trip to the Rubicon, I wanted to focus in on the tire size changes and the CVT calibration since these features are a big deal for technical rock crawling. More horsepower doesn’t really apply on the Rubicon, but it sure makes a difference in the dunes and desert. Plus if you want to race King of the Hammers, big horsepower definitely comes into play for qualifying and also for the desert loop.
We decided to do a day trip and try to cover all the more difficult parts of the trail, then turn around and get back before sunset. This takes you through Little Sluice, down to Buck Island, down Big Sluice, into Rubicon Springs and then up Cadillac Hill. We also added Old Sluice which is much more difficult than the slabs when coming down the hill to Buch=k Island. Once you turn around at the Observation Point at the top of Cadillac Hill, it is like you are on a different trail . This that were easy dropping off, become more difficult ascending.
One thing to note is all rock crawling is not the same. Some features that are a minus on the Rubicon (e.g. longer wheelbase) are a plus in Moab.
- Low range gearing is low enough to allow for extreme technical challenges without belt slip.
- 32-inch tires stock with enough clearance for 35-inch tires and a low range that is geared low enough to do so without worrying about belt slip.
- Smart-Lok front differential system works well and has something for every situation and personal taste.
- 4-point harnesses are comfortable and allow for shoulder movement.
- Great suspension articulation.
- Comes with a winch already installed.
- Comes with a HMW skid plate,additional rocker protection and suspension protection.
- I want a vehicle that can handle all terrain (rocks, desert and dunes) well, and the X3 X RC is certainly top of the food chain.
- Can-Am finally has the ride height set appropriately from the factory
- Front visibility is poor. Low seat position and long/high hood don’t allow you to see directly in front of vehicle.
- Clunking sound in the suspension/chassis.
- Longer wheelbase translates to a larger skid plate and therefore more area to high center on.
- Flat surface of the bed isn’t friendly for hauling gear – ice chest, tools and other gear.
- Turning radius is big due mostly to the extended wheelbase. This isn’t as big of a deal in Moab or Sand Hollow, but on the Rubicon and Johnson Valley you’ll find yourself having to make some 3-point turns.
- I would like to see the c-pillar on the roll cage to directly connect to chassis.
Overall, the new 2020 Can-Am Maverick X3 X RC Turbo RR is a home run for sport UTV market segment. With 195HP and a suspension that can eat up rough terrain, it absolutely slays the dunes and desert. And with its new 32-inch tires, excellent low range gearing and Smart-Lok front diff, it is quite the rock crawler as well. If you are looking to do it all with one UTV, the 2020 Can-Am Maverick X3 X RC Turbo RR is at the top of the list.