As the ATV and UTV world continues to evolve, the mid-level machine remains an integral part of the industry. For many buyers these vehicles bridge the gap between entry-level and big-bore four-wheelers, with satisfactory power and a body capable of withstanding the abuse of rough terrains, all while being reasonably priced. Can-Am has done just that, and has loaned us a 2023 Neo-Yellow Outlander XT 700 to put to the test on a multitude of northeast’s dirt, mud, and rock-strewn terrain, all of which the Outlander appears to be built to handle while starting at a palatable $9,799.
What is it?
The 2023 Outlander debuted a new and improved 650cc Rotax single-cylinder engine, sitting within a 48.8-inch wide body with heavy duty front and rear bumpers. In true Can-Am fashion it is offered with three different packages of features (Essentials, Hunt, and Snow) and also has the option for customizable options, ranging from cargo to winch to LED light bars and everything in-between. The XT model comes equipped with a 3,500-pound winch, premium glovebox with cellphone holder and USB charger, and LED headlights. Other optional features on the machine seen here are a windshield, hand guards, and mirrors. Its 4.5-inch digital gauge isn’t the most advanced, but it contains everything needed for trail riding.
New engine and a lot of pressure
A lot has been made of the switch by Can-Am from a twin-cylinder to single-cylinder engine within the company’s mid-bore quad as the Rotax V-Twin was a beloved brute of a motor that earned the brand favor in the hearts of many who rode them. Our first impression of the new 650cc Rotax ACE single left us feeling a little underwhelmed at the lower end of the throttle, but time on the trail will reveal if a more rider-friendly bottom end proves beneficial on tighter trails where handling and throttle control is critical. A dry weight of 858 pounds doesn’t bode well for the low end power’s ability to get the quad moving compared to its higher-powered brethren, but we’re excited to test the mid-range and top end at speed and in its natural environment.
Interestingly, the Outlander 700 shares a platform with the Outlander 500, even down to the same 650cc engine. To answer the question of how exactly this can be, the additional power in the 700 comes from a higher performance camshaft and ECU which gives it 50 horsepower and 41.3 lb.-ft. of torque, good for an additional 10 hp and 4.3 lb.-ft. of torque compared to the 500.
On the XT, the riding experience is enhanced by the Tri-Mode Dynamic Power Steering (DPS) which allows for easy toggling between Minimum, Medium, and Maximum help, and selectable 2WD and 4WD with the Visco-Lok QE auto-locking front differential. Spend any time on this machine and you’ll notice the high level of ride quality, thanks to the dual A-arms in both the front and rear. Take into account the 26-inch XPS Trail Force Tires (26x8x14 front; 26x10x14 rear), improved skid plates, and an impressive 12-inches of ground clearance (an additional inch compared to the previous year model) and concerns of rough terrain should be alleviated. Or so Can-Am says; we’ll report back on this after a proper test on our severely rocky and rutted trails.
Any good? Testing will tell
The Outlander XT 700 looks fantastic in its bright yellow paint that seemingly reminds you this hobby is supposed to evoke your childish smile, and by all metrics it is built to not just withstand, but thrive across the spectrum of terrain it will face. Winning on paper doesn’t always translate to the woods, but we’ll report back with our findings shortly after the Can-Am’s new offering is subjected to our gauntlet of testing so stay tuned to this site and the Off the Road Again Podcast for updates on how this quad fares.