Story by Seth Fargher, Photography by BRP, Oct. 01, 2012
Editorís Note: ATV.com contributor Seth Fargher worked with Can-Am as it gathered promotional photos and videos for the new Maverick. Heís the one you can see driving in most of the photos in this article, as well as the articles from most other publications. These are his impressions from putting the Maverick through its paces. ATV.com will have a complete review of the Maverick from another of our contributors in the coming weeks.
Since its release to the public just weeks ago at the Sand Sport Super Show, the Can-Am Maverick has been creating quite a buzz. My social media channels have been flooded with images, articles and plenty of opinions about this innovative new side-by-side.
Over the last few months I have had the privilege of working with Can-Am as it has put together its promotional materials leading up to the release of the Maverick. I had several opportunities to drive the machine for photography and film crews in a variety of locations. While this certainly wasnít an all out test, it provided some unique opportunities to put the machine through its paces and see how it performed.
Back in July I traveled to Oregon for the first segment of film and photos taking place at the Oregon Dunes. There were several units available, including two base models, a Maverick X and a parts and accessories unit equipped with genuine Can-Am accessories.
Upon climbing in, the first thing youíll notice is that Can-Am retained the use of the Commander cockpit. Iíve always felt the Commander has one of the more comfortable and stylish cockpits on the market so I was pleased with that from the get go. The ease of adjusting the seat much like an automobile, with no tools required, helps taller riders like myself make adjustments easier.
From the driverís seat, although it may look and feel like a Commander, a quick push of the start button reveals that this really is an all-new beast. The dual exhaust provides a deep throaty sound that screams high performance. Whatís impressive is the inclusion of a catalytic converter on this closed loop exhaust system. Most of the time emissions control spells less horsepower, but no such sacrifice is made with the Maverick.
Even just tooling around on the short access road out to the dunes I could feel the difference in horsepower and acceleration. Stabbing the throttle with your foot, the Maverick lurches forward immediately thanks to the 54mm throttle body, dual fuel injectors and the intelligent throttle control (iTC).
Without question, the biggest news surrounding the Maverick is the improvement in horsepower. Itís not just a minor improvement over the Commander or a little bit quicker; itís dramatic and itís immediate. Without a doubt the Maverick is the most powerful and hardest pulling side by side on the market.
Iíve had a couple of opportunities to drive the Polaris XP 900 in the dunes and was very impressed with its performance. Following the Maverick shoot, I got back into an XP and it just wasnít the same. I noticed the difference in acceleration immediately. Once I got out and opened it up, the power just wasnít there. Even with paddle tires, the XP didnít seem to pull nearly as hard or as long as the Maverick.
Driving for photos and film gives you a unique opportunity to test a vehicle. If it doesnít perform well, youíll know. After 30 or so passes through a whoop section I can say with confidence, the Maverick eats whoops alive. Thanks to the new Torsional Trailing A-arm (TTA) IRS system complete with 14 inches of suspension travel, we could easily blitz through whoops without ever losing control or being rattled to death. The mere fact that we could make 30 or more high speed passes through a whoop section without getting nauseous or beat up proves to me that whoops are no issue for the Maverickís suspension. Landing from jumps is smooth as well and the Maverick carries itself well in the air. We got a little sideways a few times, but part of that comes with jumping uneven dune faces.
Steering was precise and controlled. When driving through whoops we could easily dart from side to side without over steering or feeling out of control. When carving dune faces, the balance of weight keeps the front end light and there was no threat of pushing in turns. And of course thereís always a little bit of extra power to break the back end loose and steer with the rear without ever feeling out of control. The front end stays planted and responds immediately.
While the Maverick isnít specifically targeted at hardcore trail enthusiasts, we did spend a couple of days shooting in some deep wooded trails. Obviously these arenít the type of trails with a 50Ē width restriction, but they definitely werenít fire roads either. The Maverick was quite at home and when driving on dirt as opposed to sand Ė you can really feel the improvement in acceleration. There were a number of switchback turns that required hard steering and we had no problem navigating them regardless of how fast we were going.
Despite not getting to give the Maverick a complete shake down, the testing we did coupled with the increase in horsepower was enough to convince me that the Maverick is a game changer. We put the Maverick through the paces and it performed exceptionally well.