By Jon Crowley
We have had our Can-Am Maverick X3 X RC for just a few months now. Our first trip was in the rocks at Sand Hollow State Park in November ( see Can-Am Maverick X3 X RC Turbo R Review). The net of this trip was Can-Am hit a home run with their new Smart-Lok front differential and made the Maverick X3 a capable rock crawler.
Quick Phase 1 Build
After I determined that the RC was good to go for rock duty, I knew that I would keep this X3. While I was really happy with the car in stock form, I am never one to keep a vehicle stock for long. I wanted this build to be capable in a wide variety of terrain and types of rides so I decided to add some strength and functionality.
First up was some suspension upgrades from No Limit RD out of Loomis, CA. The owner of No Limit, Phil Blurton, is a Can-Am racer (2017 Best in the Desert Champion) and builds products that have been tested on his race car. We added No Limit upper and high clearance lower a-arms, tie rods, front gusset kit and sway bar links. With the front-end taking shape, we then attacked the rear with ZRP billet high-clearance radius rods, and double shear rear knuckles.
After the suspension was handled, we added a No Limit cage and tire carrier setup all powder coated by Superior Powdercoat in Roseville, CA. No Limit did the installation on the suspension and cage. With suspension and cage handled, we needed to add a few electronics. With our busy schedule, I needed help, so we enlisted the help of Alpine UTV in Placerville, CA.
Alpine UTV added 3.7-inch Mini Cannons from Vision X to the a-pillar, then a bunch of 1.7-inch Mini Solo Pods in blue for accent lights. Up on the roll cage, Buggy Whips supplied us with 4 foot blue LED whips. Helping to tie all the 12 volt wiring together we got with UTVWiring.com and utilized their power distribution center. Next up, added Rugged Radios RRP660 2-Person System with 60-Watt Car-2-Car radio, Mac 3.2 two person helmet air blower with variable speed controller and Magellan TRX7 GPS. To make room in the dash for all this, we added a Fourwerx carbon fiber dash.
And to add a little more storage to the RC, we picked up a set of PRP X3 Door Bags. These attach to the stock doors with velcro loops and install in moments.
With phase 1 complete, I wanted to see how this “Rock Crawler” member of the Can-Am Maverick X3 family would do outside of the rocks. Farthest thing away from rock crawling is blasting through the dunes. I loaded up and headed south to the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area and took it out for a spin for a few days. I swapped out the dirt tires for a custom set of sand shoes spec’d out by Fullerton Sand Sports mounted on HiPer Cheyenne beadlock wheels.
I spent three days ripping around the dunes in the RC and absolutely loved it! I was either in 2 wheel drive, or more commonly in 4 wheel drive in the “Trail” setting the entire three days. In the 4WD Trail mode it felt very similar to my 2017 Maverick X3 X RS in 4WD. I did not notice any issues at all in the Smart-Lok system.
The extra power in the 2018 Maverick X3 is a noticeable improvement over the 2017. While everyone is always looking for more power in the sand, I think 172HP is a very solid setup. It is currently the most factory horsepower available in a UTV and it is also very reliable.
The stock suspension on the Maverick X3 X RC is very good. The 72-inch wide stance coupled with its 102-inch wheelbase make the RC super stable in the dunes. I found myself just hucking it off 2-foot drop offs just because it was fun. Hit the throttle and lighten that front-end and wow, did I just pull the front-end off the ground?
Overall the 2018 Maverick X3 X RC is a riot to drive in the dunes. The new Smart-Lok does not affect dune performance and it works great in the rocks. I am very pleased with these results and I can’t wait to get back out in the sand, rocks or desert in this new car. We have a few more upgrades in store for this X3, so stayed tuned as we get out there and put it through its paces!
Sand Mountain, NV