Can-Am Maverick X3: Decoding the Line Up

With three Can-Am models available to choose from, and dozens of sub-models and trim levels for the taking, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re trying to decide which one is right for you. Here at CA Tech, we’ve been testing, racing, breaking, and rebuilding side by sides for years, and we can help you make the right choice. In the Can-Am lineup, it’s pretty straightforward - when it comes to off-road performance, it’s all about the Maverick X3. 

The X3 sets the standard for a performance built SxS that’s ready to tear up the trails, no matter which version you go with. When it comes to all the submodels, abbreviations and letters tacked on to the names, things get a little messy, so let’s decode what you’re looking at, so you can make the right choice. Then we’ll get into our favorite ways to upgrade them.


Any X3 with a “DPS” attached to it comes with dynamic power steering from the factory. When it’s turned on, you get more power steering at lower speeds, and less, at higher speeds - that reactive steering makes it feel more intuitive, and it’s more responsive when you’re fighting resistance on the trails at low speeds. 


Taking more than one person on your adventures? You want a Maverick with the “Max” attached to its name. Max just means it’s a 4-seater.


Models with the X designation have a pretty incredible feature if you’re doing some more serious off-roading. They’ve got Can-Am Smart-Lok technology - meaning the rig can electronically lock your front diff while you’re moving (or trying to). With different modes you can select, the Smart-Lok system will progressively engage the locker by detecting your loss of traction, reading slip, and reacting accordingly.


While all X3s are meant for time in the dirt or sand, the XC models are specifically designed for off-road time spent on wooded trails - narrower width means flying through the trees on your adventures


MR models are built specifically for the mud, giving you the most traction and performance in especially slick conditions. They come with aggressive mud tires - the largest ones from the factory.


RC stands for rock crawling, and you’ll get the right tires and suspension tuning to make it all happen.


DS means “Desert Storm,” or maybe “Dune deStroyer.” They’re built for sand, complete with Can-Am’s Visco-Lok X limited slip diff, beadlock wheels, and Fox Podium 2.5 shocks with dual-speed compression and rebound adjustment. DS models are built with a standard 64” track width to maximize your suspension’s opportunity to work when you’re literally flying through the dunes.


If DS is Desert Storm, RS is racing storm. It’s the bigger, more aggressive brother to the DS. More suspension travel, and a substantially wider track, at 72”. It’ll handle wilder and more uneven slopes, and keep you from tipping over and toppling down Oldsmobile.

Turbo, R, RR

These mean slightly different things, but they’re all about power. Turbo is pretty straightforward. It means…you guessed it - there’s a turbo on your rig. R and RR just signal power ratings. More Rs, more power. The Turbo model comes in at 120 HP, the Turbo R is 172 HP, and the Turbo RR comes out of the factory at 195 HP.

With the alphabet soup out of the way, we can get to the fun stuff. With all the seat time and torture testing we’ve done, we’ve found the weak points, and know what the best modifications are, and we can get you the performance and trail-tested durability you want from your ride. Let’s get into our favorite ways to make these killer rigs even better.

The Basics: Shift Gates, Shift Knobs, and a Pull Plate

No matter which model you’ve landed on, one of the easiest upgrades you can make - and one that will change your driving experience immediately, is our Shift Gate. It doesn’t matter how you’re planning to use your rig - it’ll give you the ability to shift without taking your eyes off the trail ahead. While you’re at it, do the upgraded billet shift knob. Do these simple upgrades now; you can thank us later.

The X3 Pull Plate is a super simple upgrade that makes sense, no matter how wild you’re planning to get. We know you don’t get stuck on the trails, but when your “buddy” does, you can help “him” out. They’re factory color matched, machined at 1” for maximum durability, and they’ll fit perfectly. Whether you’re looking for recovery points, or just a secure way to keep your rig tied down on a trailer, look no further.


Suspension Kits

If you’re looking for something a little more serious, one of the best things you do to improve the comfort and capability of your X3, no matter which model you’re starting with, is to pick up one of the suspension kits we’ve been carefully specking out. These days, we’ve got a total of 5 to choose from, depending on just how wild you want to get.


If you’re just getting started, you might look at the CA Tech Level 1 Suspension Kit - it’ll get you started with front limit straps, a double shear gusset kit, a Gen 2 Pull Plate, and a set of high clearance radius rods - for either a 64” or a 72” model. It’s a solid starting point, but who wants to stop there?


As you move up through the levels, things just get better. At a Level 3 Suspension Kit, for example, you get all the lower level components, plus tie rods, rear sway bar links, lower control arms, and 300M upper and lower ball joints.


When you’re looking for the best for your rig, the CA Tech Level 5 Suspension Kit is where it’s at. Welcome to the party - you’re our kind of people. At level 5, yes, you get the parts we’ve already talked about. The fun comes with all the extras - with upper and lower control arms, and trailing arms, you’ll have the capability you want, and the durability you need to survive maximum abuse when you’re on trails or tearing through the dunes. You know it’s legit, because we’re backing it up with a lifetime warranty. You think you’re too hard on your parts? Challenge accepted.

If you’re not ready to go all out with the suspension, though - we get it. And we know we’ll talk to you later this year about it. In the meantime, though, there are some parts that you should probably look at beefing up before you get too far into the middle of nowhere and find yourself stuck. One of the most common failure points on the Can-Am Maverick X3 is the OEM control arms. The CA Tech Boxed Upper and Lower Control Arms take durability out of the question, with almost over engineered CNC construction, and pre-installed bushings. You can even choose the color you want your arms. They look good, they perform perfectly, and they’ll take whatever you can throw at them.

No matter what model Can-Am Maverick X3 you decide to take into the wild, we’ve got real ways to make it better. Keeping your rig functional and looking great when you’re out on the trails, shouldn’t get in the way of a good time. The ultimate in American-made reliability from CA Tech can get you what you need. If you’re looking for advice, need help with an install, or just don’t know what parts you might want to check out next, CA Tech has the experts on hand with the info you need. Give us a call at 423-790-0230 or shoot us an email at - we got you!

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