CAN-AM has been causing quite a stir in the ATV market of late, claiming its latest round of updated Outlander models provide performance and practicality in equal measure.
To find out whether this is true or not we took the company’s smallest quad, the Outlander 450 Pro T3, and put it through its paces herding cattle on a beef unit and lugging loads on gamekeeping duties.
The main event with all Can-Am quads is the engine and this is no exception on the 450. Built by sister company Rotax, the 427cc engine produces a gutsy 38hp.
It is naturally high revving, with infectious power delivery characteristics.
However, it can be tamed via a ‘work’ mode for inexperienced riders. Using a different key, this sees top speed limited to 40kph, but crucially does not limit power or torque output.
Can-Am’s continuously variable transmission handles the power well, putting it to the axles almost instantly. The combination of the transmission and engine meant we never actually needed to put the bike in low box, for either ascending or descending banks.
The low-down torque is phenomenal for the engine size and, because the quad weighs in at about 320kg, it does not have too much bulk to lug around.
Engine braking is surprisingly strong for the size of machine and does a good job at keeping everything free of drama during descents.
Four-wheel drive is activated by a rocker switch just above the throttle and is seamless in engagement. However, the 450’s A-arm and torsional trailing arm suspension got a mixed reaction.
While it is adjustable, set ting it to every rider’s style resulted in it wallowing about in the softest setting or bone rattling in the stiffest.
There seemed to be little middle ground, but it coped well when cornering and under heavy braking whatever setting it was on. Brakes are sharp and effective, complemented by light, precise electric steering.
The seat is wide and comfortable, and a back rest for the rider is now a standard piece of equipment if the quad is homologated for road use, according to the manufacturer.
However, this is a nuisance when jumping on and off the quad, to such an extent that an Olympic gymnast would be proud of the flexibility required to vault on to the seat. It is not hard to remove, so this could be an option.
At the rear is a useful-sized, waterproof storage box offering nearly 11 litres of space.