The reasons that we bring a particular affection to the ATV activity are numerous. Among them, the advantage of using this vehicle regardless of the season and weather conditions is a privilege that the motorcycle and snowmobile cannot make possible. Our preferences and the ways we use our vehicles dictate our choices. The benefits and conveniences of an ATV to accomplish a multitude of tasks make this vehicle a partner of choice for both utility and recreation.
In addition, BRP is one of the manufacturers who strive to offer vehicles tailored to the needs of each of its customers and this is a motto they constantly put into practice. The Can-Am ATVs, as soon as they leave the factory, offer so much standard equipment that it is often a selection criterion that tips the balance for the consumers when it’s time to make a choice.
Long-term test vehicle
It was a nice surprise when we had a call from the BRP marketing team to offer us a 2019 Can-am Outlander Max XT 850cc. We were already on the lookout for this model and it was already raising some form of covetousness among the members of our team. This offer from Can-Am created an immediate desire and we had to be patient so that we could perform an exhaustive test, each in turn.
As you read this, we are already in the mid-term of our test which is carried out over a full year. We can already commit to an analysis because we have a good idea of the capabilities and strengths of the 2019 Can-Am Outlander Max XT 850.
Engineered and manufactured for a multitude of situations
When the vehicle was delivered to us, the fall of 2018 was rapidly coming to an end, giving way to a hasty winter. The winter of 2019 has been particularly difficult at times, and we have experienced periods similar to the Ice Age with Siberian colds and record amounts of snow. These inconveniences didn’t slow us down. As the saying goes, there is no bad weather, only bad clothes. Our winter clothing would be the envy of many and in this case, we were pampered with CKX and FXR clothes from head to toe. So, 30 degrees below zero and snow in abundance would never frighten us and we didn’t have to make any compromise for our tests.
During our long-term test which began during the winter season, we were also able to test the vehicle’s general capabilities. Despite its weight and dimensions being slightly above average, but similar to comparable two-seater vehicles in its class, the 2019 Can-Am Outlander Max XT 850 shows exemplary agility. The snow-covered trails were a perfect environment to exploit its full potential and this vehicle has nothing to envy to a sportier ATV.
The Outlander Max displayed remarkable stability in all types of snow and terrain it was facing. Its 26-inch ITP Terracross tires have greatly contributed to this great performance. Their versatility matches the general abilities of this vehicle. The ”V” shaped treads grip the snow, mud, sand and evacuate at the same time for constant traction. Their good grip on icy surfaces is also worthy of note, as they have been of great assistance during some icy climbs.
Who said that it was not allowed to have fun while working?
We took advantage of the situation to equip the Outlander Max XT with a snow plow, thanks to Kimpex; that was the perfect occasion to test its ability to do a good job quickly. The rapid back and forth movement during the frequent snow removal process made it possible to note the effectiveness of the vehicle’s clutch and transmission. The constant gear changes and the repeated use of the winch have been flawless. The time spent on the ATV to move the snow was much more as a pleasure rather than a tedious task.
Our tests allowed perfect circumstances to test the drivetrain system. At all times, the 4×4 selector was engaged to maximize traction in our analysis conditions. If we go back in time, the first generations of the Visco-Lok differential system had attracted some criticism from the experienced consumers and journalists. The complaints mostly focused on the speed of the gear lock response when needed. The rapid reaction of the front axle can also prevent the vehicle to get stuck. On this point, Can-am seems to have corrected the problem.
Since we can enjoy our Can-am Outlander for an extended test, we have had the privilege of submitting it to different seasons. We are well aware that the conditions differ greatly from a season to another. So, we have left aside the winter features of this vehicle for a context where the heat replaces the cold, and snow has given way to sand and mud. It is in these extremes that we can evaluate the versatility of the Outlander Max 850cc. The spring season has allowed us to leave out the 4WD mode (mandatory in trails during the winter season) for a rear-wheel drive mode. With technical trails that demand a daring dose to exploit its full potential, the 2019 Can-am Outlander Max XT 850 meets our expectations and even more. To be honest, the great traction this vehicle offers from one season to another is pure pleasure. The overall combination of its efficient traction mode and great performance tires is giving a good advantage of this vehicle compared to its closest rival.
Is the engine adapted to the requirements?
On many occasions in the past, we’ve had the privilege to ride the Can-am Renegade and Outlander models powered by the vigorous 1000cc Rotax engine. We are therefore able to make a good comparison. Can-am made the decision to offer 3 engines in its XT versions. The entry-level model is equipped with the 650cc 62 HP Rotax, our test vehicle had an 850cc engine with 78 HP, while a brand new Rotax 1000R engine developing an impressive 91 HP is also offered as a third option. Obviously, the Rotax 850cc demonstrates less vigor than the Rotax 1000cc but in a common opinion, our vehicle has allowed us all possible fantasies with great ease. Would we have liked more HP? Of course! But would that have been justified? Not really. In fact, the throttle response is felt when needed for our great pleasure, creating an unparalleled engine roar. Firm grip on the handlebars is prescribed to keep full control of this vehicle. The more experienced users can afford the luxury of a controlled skid of the rear wheels to get in the perfect axis to face the next straight. If the rear passenger is as audacious as the rider, the performance of the 850cc Rotax will fill his appetite.
The XT versions are available in three color options: intense red, Mossy Oak camouflage and, as our test vehicle, in a black tone with Can-Am red accents. In our humble opinion, our vehicle has one of the more perfect layouts in this regard. This contrast gives it a racy look and a sporty appearance. However, we doubt the ability of this black body paint to go through the years. Will it be able to keep a good aesthetic and finish for years when it has faced a multitude of obstacles and has been exposed to repeated washing with the abrasion of the materials and debris encountered on our playground? The future will tell. However, in return, its 14-inch black aluminum wheels enhance the general appearance and complement its elegant look.
The version we have is equipped with red color steel bumpers which contrasts with the dominant black color. For this model, Can-am has welded steel end caps as opposed with the plastic that still equips some Can-Am models. This is a step forward because the plastic tips have the annoying habit of being fragile during an impact. Therefore, these new bumpers provide permanent protection to the bodywork and help counter obstacles that may come up against us during our off-road excursions.
Its suspension offers more than adequate travel for most terrain with this ATV. Even in extreme cases where the shocks have been stretched to their full capacity, they have absorbed the impacts with ease. This feature is much appreciated when we have a passenger on the back seat.
The passenger seat offers excellent comfort. Its backrest also provides good lumbar and lateral support to keep our passenger in place. The fabric used in the design of the seats is non-slip and of a quality that guarantees its long-term durability. The rear and front seats are independent of each other and they are easily removeable to have access to the battery or to maintain the engine air filter.
All Can-Am vehicles equipped with electronic power steering feature a well-known and proven power steering system. This Outlander is no exception to the tradition. The system is switchable to three different assistance levels for customization according to the preferences of the pilot. Its effectiveness is flawless to face all unstable conditions on the trail.
Storage capacity to make the competition blush
On our excursions with the Can-Am, we had to carry luggage several times during our stay with various outfitters. The front and rear racks worked great to accommodate our bags and video equipment. These multifunctional racks are ultra-resistant to slippage and feature the exclusive LinQ quick attach system. Several accessories designed by Can-am can be added to carry all kind of material and accommodate anyone and for all type of activities. The finish of these supports is remarkable, of high quality and non-slip at the same time. The rear trunk should be an example for all manufacturers. Its load volume is greater than anything we’ve seen in the past and we were able to store a lot of gear on our daily rides. Finally, its tight seal left our equipment dry, which is unfortunately not the case for all manufacturers.
Over the miles on the Can-Am Outlander Max XT 850cc, we really grew to appreciate the versatility and capability of the machine. This ATV can be used in any situation, whatever the season and in any activity to which it will be invited. Its overall capabilities and flawless reliability reflect Can-Am’s seriousness in offering vehicles that live up to expectations. No defects or mechanical problems whatsoever were detected during the months tested. We simply had to do the normal periodic checks and maintenance and a random check of the air filter. In short, the 2019 Can-am Outlander Max XT 850cc is a vehicle that offers great driving pleasure in all seasons: isn’t it the primary goal of our sport?