Words/photos: Lance Schwartz
MSRP: Base-$18,299, Xrs DPS-$20,799
The Can Am Maverick 1000R has been a hit with long-travel, high performance SxS enthusiasts since the day it hit the market back in 2013. Not resting on their laurels, for 2014 Can Am released the Maverick in several new flavors, including the X xc, the X mr, and the MAX. While the X xc and X mr are certainly both different from the standard Maverick, they’re still only able to hold two passengers. The Maverick MAX, on the other hand, is capable of swallowing four passengers in its cavernous chassis. To help fill the rear seats and scientifically test back seat passenger comfort and vehicle performance, editor Brad Howe and I were able to charm two beautiful models into occupying the back seats with our boyish good looks and insatiable charm. Rumors have recently surfaced that the models were bound by contract to be nice to us and were actually paid to pretend they liked our driving, but the truth should never be allowed to get in the way of a great story.
Nuzzled under a cowl between the rear seats sits Can Am’s legendary liquid-cooled, 1000cc Rotax V-twin. Clocking 101hp at the crank, the MAX never felt short on power, even with four passengers buckled in. The engine is coupled to a CVT transmission with High, Low, Neutral, Reverse, and Park gears. No matter what gear I selected, the Rotax screamed like a nest of ferocious bees all simultaneously being kicked in the nuts. The clutching is nearly perfect, keeping the Rotax spooled up high in the RPM range where torque and horsepower are best. With the ability to switch in and out of four-wheel drive on the fly, and the addition of an automatically locking Visco-Lok QE (Quick Engaging) front differential on the X rs DPS model, the Maverick can pull some serious mud duty as well.
The most obvious difference that’s impossible to mask is the added length. Just a few inches shy of a school bus, the wheelbase is almost 114” and the overall length is 148”(that’s over 12 feet long)! Negotiating tight turns or narrow wooded trails is not the MAX’s forte. Instead, this lengthy beast feels more at home in the dunes or on wide open terrain with stretches long enough for the MAX to stretch its legs.
Suspension numbers mirror the two seat Maverick, with both the front and rear delivering 14” of travel. Base MAX models get Fox Podium 2.0 HPG shocks with compression and rebound dampening. MAX X rs DPS models get premium Fox Podium 2.5 HPG shocks with both high and low speed compression and rebound dampening.
The added wheelbase length produces an exceptionally smooth ride, even over the gnarliest terrain. With four passengers, we repeatedly aired the MAX out over a small table top jump and were able to pound through whoops almost effortlessly. The long wheelbase is impressive in nearly every situation, with two exceptions. Tight turns are difficult to negotiate, simply because the MAX wheelbase is so long. Additionally, both Brad and I high centered the MAX on a hill climb with a short plateau section that dropped off steeply on the other side. In all fairness, we were taking it easy on the ladies occupying the back seats. But, after our incidents and the knowledge of the MAX’s propensity to high center in certain situation, the girls convinced us to just punch it and launch off the backside of the hill. PROBLEM SOLVED!
The $2,500 price tag to upgrade from the base model to the X rs DPS seems steep, but it’s actually a modern day bargain. The upgrade not only nets EPS, it also adds bead lock wheels, a Visco Lok QE (quick engaging) front differential, Fox Podium 2.5 shocks, an upgraded steering wheel, premium gauge package, and custom stitched interior. A lack of Electric Power Steering in 2013 when the Maverick hit the market drew some criticism, especially since the machine really needed it in certain situations. With the addition of Tri-Mode Dynamic Power Steering (DPS) now available on the X rs DPS model, it really seems to be worthy of the upgraded price.
Up front, the interior accoutrements are identical to the standard Maverick. The rear seats have an easy ingress/egress and the seats provide plenty of support and leg room for rear seat passengers. The rear seats are also raised slightly, giving rear passengers a “stadium style” view and the ability to see over front passengers. An easily adjustable driver seat and tilt steering wheel allow the Maverick to quickly adapt to pilots of all shapes and sizes. A push-button starter, performance key, Sport mode selector, and a seat belt safety mechanism designed to limit speed when the driver seat belt isn't buckled are all excellent carry-overs from the standard Maverick.
When the original Maverick was launched, I think most of us could see the writing on the wall that a four seat model would be on the way in the very near future. When that time finally arrived, the Maverick MAX did not disappoint. It’s powerful, comfortable, and now has enough room to bring the whole family (or a couple of models) along on an epic adventure!