When Can-Am introduced the four-seat version of its high performance sport side-by-side, the Maverick Max, at the 2012 Sand Sports Show it was a serious tease. The Max looked to be a serious threat to the Polaris RZR XP 4 900 claims as the fastest family wagon on the trails. But we would have to wait a year until it was ready to be released to the general public. It’s now here and ready to unleash 101 horsepower four-up fun. We assumed it would be worth the wait, but our expectations were high considering how much fun we had in the two-seat version in the 2013 Can-Am Maverick X rs First Ride.
Can-Am shipped us up to Albany, New York to get our first taste of the Maverick Max. On hand at the private riding club, the Canadian manufacturer had both the standard Max and the Max X rs with tri-mode DPS steering. We would have less than half a day with the Maxes, so we grabbed the top of the line X rs and headed for woods before anyone else called dibs.
The Maverick Max shares much with the smaller two-seat version, including the potent 101-horsepower 976cc Rotax V-Twin. Nestled between the rear seats, the mill’s mass is centralized to retain the balanced feel of the two-seater. Pressing the starter button brings forth a low V-Twin rumble, and a stab of the fly-by-wire throttle rewards the ears with a slightly raspy exhaust tone.
On the trail the Rotax puts the power to the ground with authority, although the 54mm Bosch throttle body is a little slow to react thanks to the iTC (intelligent Throttle Control) system. The system does smooth-out the ride when bouncing through rough terrain, but the slight lag off the line gives an impression that the Max is not as powerful as it really is. Once up to speed the lag isn’t as noticeable, and the forward thrust is addicting. It doesn’t feel like the extra weight (250 pounds) has an effect on the thrust. Even with three passengers, the Rotax pulls strong and gets up to speed quickly. The tight confines of the Albany woods didn’t give us room for a top speed run, but I would guess it could match the 78 mph top end we saw on the 2013 Maverick X rs.
Fox Podium X 2.5 shocks stroke through 14 inches on the 2014 Can-Am Maverick Max rs.
Can-Am’s unique iTTA suspension soaks up the bumps on the rear of the 2014 Maverick Max rs.
While I was impressed with the Max’s engine, the cockpit of this four-seater was the surprise of the day. In the front seats, the layout is identical to the smaller two-seat machine. There is plenty of shoulder room and the seats are absolutely the best OEM units out there. While rear legroom is cramped on some other brand’s four-passenger machines, the Max gives almost as much space as the front. Only the six-foot-plus crowd will be left wanting more room to stretch. The seating position is slightly raised to give a clear view of the trail ahead, and the center console mounted grab handles are a nice touch.
The Visco-Lok QE front differential works well on the 2014 Can-Am Maverick X rs.
The 2014 Can-Am Maverick Max X rs feels shorter than it is unless the trail gets real tight
The 2014 Can-Am Maverick Max X rs slides predictably.
When driving the Max, the rear seats and stretched 113.8-inch wheelbase don’t hamper the haul-ass handling traits of the Maverick family. In fact, in most situations the extra inches settle the twitchy or snappy tail tendencies of the shorter two-seater when flicking into corners. Slides are more predictable and controllable. The longer wheelbase also smooths the ride in small chop as well as nasty whoops. Only in the tighter GNCC style trails will you notice the turning radius has increased. Combined with the wide stance, there are times that you will be making some three-point turns. It’s a fair trade for the extra seats and settled handling in every other situation.
In those tight trails the tri-mode DPS power steering is appreciated. The lack of power steering was one of our biggest complaints on the 2013 model Maverick models. The driver can choose three levels of power assist – more for tight confines and less for high speed shredding. The difference between the modes is noticeable, and changing modes is as easy as pushing a button on the dash. A Visco-Lok QE (quick engagement) front differential is also part of the X rs package, and works seamlessly when it transfers power from a wheel that is slipping or spinning to the one with traction. There isn’t feedback through the steering wheel or odd handling when it is doing its thing.
Can-Am’s Torsional Trail A-arm independent rear suspension is the same as the smaller (shorter) Maverick, cycling the Fox Podium X 2.5 piggyback shocks through 14 inches. Up front a more traditional dual A-arm set-up also affords the occupants 14 inches of travel. The ride is less harsh than the two-set Maverick, but still soaks up big hits. We even launched the Max X rs four-deep over a sizable tabletop. The landing was smooth as silk when done right and even when I came up short the first time, not a peep or complaint was heard from the three poor souls strapped in with me.
At $20,799, the 2014 Maverick Max X rs is a bit pricey, but the level of performance, comfort and build quality is at the top of the four-seat heap. If you are looking for a side-by-side that will seat four but still haul the mail like a two-seater, the Maverick Max is the machine for you. It has raised the bar for family wagons to an all new level.