Compact trail UTV hits the mark
The 2020 Can-Am Maverick Trail 1000 DPS is one of the top dogs in the highly popular 50-inch trail-rated UTV segment. And while these compact trail machines are not about to gain stardom like that of the wide and long dune blaster side-by-side vehicles, in our opinion they really should.
Honestly, the Can-Am Maverick Trail 1000 DPS (Dynamic Power Steering) is is worthy of stardom. The U.S. Forest Service and other state agencies limit powered backcountry exploring on forest trails to vehicles that are 50-inches wide, and for these situations the Maverick Trail delivers some serious “wow.”
For the UTV manufacturers, building a 50-inch high-performing-and-comfortable-for-two-occupants-UTV was, and is, a daunting task. Polaris was the first to accomplish this with a sport UTV. Given that, Can-Am took the needed engineering time to build a Maverick to uphold the Maverick tradition of comfort, performance, safety and styling.
The 2020 Can-Am Maverick Trail 1000 we tested was a premium-equipped model. There is one model below, which is still a 1000, that lacks full length doors and the nice blacked-out aluminum wheels. This base model has side webbing for the driver and passenger and steel wheels; overall, a good package.With so many trails restricted to 50-inch wide vehicles, the Can-Am Maverick Trail 1000 DPS is a perfect fit.
The 2020 Can-Am Maverick Trail 1000 DPS has a strong competitor, that being the 2020 Polaris RZR Trail 900 Premium with Electronic Power Steering (EPS); we’ve compared the two trail models in a technical all-day ride and soon you’ll soon read this comparison ride in an upcoming article.
Let’s begin with the specifics and give a conclusion.
2020 Can-Am Maverick Trail 1000 DPS: The Mechanical
The Maverick Trail with DPS comes with doors that fully encase the diver and passenger entrance and exit ways. It has a 12-inch wide front push bar that serves a to protect the vehicle and occupants from Douglas Fir trees that jump up onto the trail. The Trail Mav has 12-inch (30.5 cm) aluminum wheels.
Its four stroke motor is a 976 cc V-Twin rated at 75 horsepower. The Maverick’s Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) fuel delivery system is Can-Am’s Intelligent Throttle Control (iTC). What’s this? Throttle by wire – electronic – rather than a mechanical cable. The Maverick’s transmission is Can-Am’s Quick Response System (QRS) CVT (constant velocity transmission) with high-airflow ventilation and Electronic Drive Belt Protection. Shift pattern is L / H / N / R / P. The lever is notched to assure accurate placement and lock.
Furthermore, the transmission is a selectable 2WD / 4WD transmission with Visco-Lok QE, which is an auto-locking front differential. What is Visco-Lok? A Visco-Lok differential is where the wheel receiving power-input, has to slip for the differential lock to engage. Meaning, the rotating axle engages a hydraulic pump in the differential, which then engages the clutch pack and locks the differential. The slipping wheel needs to rotate a couple times to engage the differential to lock.
The 1000 Mav also has Electronic Hill Descent Control, which is nice when driving down a steep grade. To keep the motor sporty or economical, the operator can set the motor to either SPORT or ECO modes. We like and use in all-needed cases, both modes.
The speed sensitive steering, DPS, increases or decreases steering wheel rotation pressure – how heavy or light the steering wheel feels – as speeds fluctuate. This helps prevent the driver from over driving or under driving the Maverick Trail at a given speed, and too helps reduce arm fatigue.
The Maverick Trail’s tilt steering wheel swings up and down a total 25-deegree. The driver’s seat moves forward and back five-inches. The cab is designed to place the occupants in a center-cab configuration (horizontal and vertical) in what Can-Am calls Ergo-Lok. This allows for sufficient leg, elbow, arm and shoulder room.
Mounted to the tilt wheel is a 4.50-inch digital display that gives all the vitals. It’s nice.
The Maverick Trail does not come with a roof, front windshield or mirrors.
What We Learned
The 2020 Can-Am Maverick Trail 1000 DPS is confident in trail skills. It’s chassis at 118 inches long and 50 inches wide (300.5 x 127 cm), and its most-capable front and rear suspensions make it an in-control vehicle on washboard trails. The chassis provides ample leg room for drivers who are taller than 5’8”. Don’t expect a machine like this to be comfy and roomy like a full-sized UTV or for that matter, your SUV or pickup; it is a compact trail-rated off-road vehicle. For what it is, the Maverick Trail 1000 is roomy, and we are a fan of that; you would be too.
Not to drop the “room” topic from these pages, the Maverick’s storage box in the cab, ahead the passenger seat, is spacious. It’ll hold a large bag of corn chips, gloves, and an extra pair of goggles.
But the Maverick’s length can be a little bit of a annoyance when wrapping around a cinched-in tight corners; some two- and three-point turns will bring you around said corner.
One day, when spending a long day trail riding (following a previous day’s ride), we learned the value of the Maverick’s ECO (economy) mode. We had driven the Maverick for a couple short hops throughout the previous day, and when on this long day’s drive, we noticed our fuel level was low; we forgot to top off the fuel tank prior to the day’s ride.
As we rounded the mid-point along the Bear Gulch trail in-and-around Island Park, ID, our fuel was at one-quarter. With that, we set the motor to ECO mode, and in ECO mode, the Maverick became a fuel-sipping side-by-side. It was as if, “Does this Mav even need fuel to run?” Here is what we discovered. In tight trail conditions where speed is kept somewhat low due to turns and obstacles, the Maverick showed no performance loss. In ECO mode, the Mav Trail was as lively as it was in SPORT mode; again in these conditions. By way of information, the Mav’s fuel capacity is 10 gallons (38 liters).
Given the above, the 2020 Can-Am Maverick Trail 1000 DPS in ECO mode may be just the only mode it needs be set in when in the backcountry. This is good to know when planning a long trip and especially if, like we did, there are no fuel stops along the way, and extra fuel was not carried (in an approved container properly stored away from engine heat).
The front and rear suspensions handle trail impact energy through four twin-tube gas-charged shocks, which we learned are wholly perfect for the Forest Service trail riding. The front suspension is a double A-arm with sway bar and the rear suspension is Can-Am’s Torsional Trailing Arm (TTA) independent rear suspension. This compact and lightweight five-link system eliminates bump-steer and scrub to optimize tire-to-dirt contact.
Can-Am reports the Mavericks Trail’s ground clearance is 10 inches. We dispute this, as we believe it is greater. This we’ll discuss in our comparison article to the 2020 Polaris RZR Trail 900. But for now, from our Joe-dirt analysis, we believe ground clearance is at 10.50 inches, which is good.
Speaking of ground clearance, the 2020 Can-Am Maverick Trail 1000 DPS comes with skid plates. These were much appreciated as we bucked up over Forest Service gates and rocks at the Stinking Springs area near Idaho Falls, ID. When skid plates grind over an obstacle, one can’t help but cringe while at the same time breathing easy as the plates perform as designed.
Carlisle ACT tires connect the Maverick Trail to the ground and they are sufficient for forest trial riding. For us, we ran the tires’ pressure at 10 psi; this provided the best traction for all the conditions we encountered on the trails, especially rock. The tires’ lug pattern is just right for all conditions.
Despite our best efforts, the brakes never showed heat-fade when we descended down some steep embankments. The dual 220 mm ventilated disc brakes with hydraulic twin-piston calipers, like the tires mentioned above, are sufficient for the work the Maverick Trail will perform.
The 2020 Can-Am Maverick Trail 1000 DPS has superb fit-and-finish – call it sport SUV appeal – especially with its instrument (gauge) pod. This is something we’ve always appreciated from Can-Am; it is a fine moment to show off a Maverick to the home crowd.
The motor is quiet. We always ride with helmets, which helps deaden the sound, but on those quick spins in the country behind our Western location, the Maverick Trail’s intake and exhaust note is bearable.
We give credit to the seat belts that kept us secure. The seats, too, are snug and surround one’s upper body.
The question asked of us, even after comparing the 2020 Can-Am Maverick Trail 1000 to the RZR Trail 900, is “would we have one?” The answer is a resounding yes. We like the Maverick Trail’s comfort, its full-length doors and its leg room. We like that fact it has front end protection and a skid plate.
Additionally, we like the Maverick’s wheelbase, as it delivers a comfortable ride over choppy trails. This wheelbase cancels out two-point turns around sharp turns; there are trade-offs – every side-by-side vehicle has some gives-and-takes.
If the Maverick Trail was ours to keep (and keep it we would love too), what we would do? Add a roof, full glass windshield (oncoming trail dust from an out-front car is no bueno), rear window, mirrors, a sound system and storage compartment for the rear bed. All these can be purchased from your local Can-Am dealer.
Lastly, the 2020 Can-Am Maverick Trail 1000 DPS is powerful enough for mountainous trail riding. The motor is responsive, even in thin air, 5,000 feet to 6,000 feet. For dirt-season, the Maverick Trail 1000 is a sweet, sassy and highly-capable 50-inch SxS for narrow trail riding.
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