hop in and drive like a pro; with the Can-Am, it takes a bit more skill and work to
keep up with the RZR’s pace.
WHICH IS MORE REFINED?
This one goes to the Can-Am. With
the most luxurious interior of any UTV
to date, the Commander conveys
the engineers’ long hours of interior
design and testing. The gauge cluster
is by far the most informative and
breathtaking to behold of any UTV,
and the push-button start adds a racy
feel. The Commander also features
a dual-mapped throttle response
program, with a normal mode and a
more aggressive sport configuration
for fast driving. The switches on the
Can-Am are backlit and have a nice
feel, and the seats are undeniably
the most comfortable and supportive
OEM pieces on the market. The RZR
has a much smaller cockpit, since it is
based on the narrowest UTV around,
and feels more cramped than the big
As far as sound levels go, the
Commander isn’t as quiet as the RZR.
The engine noise is subdued well and
sounds downright beastly, but the
CVT whine is largely audible at high
speeds and drowns out the V-twin’s
thunder by a long shot. You can hear
the Commander’s transmission from a
great distance when it’s charging, and it
WHICH ONE SHOULD I BUY FOR THE
It depends on what kind of duner
you are. If you like to jump, rail bowls,
and keep up with quads in the tighter
sections, the RZR S won’t disappoint.
We have surprised many ATV and dirt
bike riders in the dunes when we’ve
blown past them in the RZR S. It’s so
much fun it feels illegal. The Can-Am
has far more horsepower and torque,
and it really shines in the sand. While
the Commander’s suspension lacks the
whoop-soaking ability that the RZR S
possesses, it is still plenty good enough
for moderate duning and will eat the
RZR S alive at the sand drags. It’s not
as willing a jumper, as the rear end
bottoms far too easily, even with the
preload dialed in, making the rear end
skittish in the whoops and big G-outs.
Whereas the RZR S feels composed and
light, the Commander feels heavy and
cumbersome in the big bumps.
WHICH ONE SHOULD I BUY FOR
Buy the Commander, as long as
WHICH ONE HANDLES BETTER?
you don’t mind heavy steering. The
Commander’s more spacious interior,
better seats, grippier steering wheel,
and softer suspension make it more
comfortable for a long outing, but the
RZR’s almost effortless steering feel
trumps the Can-Am in every situation,
especially in 4-wheel drive. Both are
comfortable, but the Commander’s
cockpit feels more like a nicely appointed
SUV than a race machine.
In short, the RZR is the better
handler. It is much more stable
and confidence-inspiring than the
Commander, because of its extra 3
inches of overall width and lower CG. In
the RZR S, you feel like you’re driving
a rally car as you can pitch it sideways
and lean into the throttle hard. The
Can-Am is an able handler, but feels
quite a bit more top-heavy and doesn’t
turn in as quickly as the RZR S. In the
bumps, it’s no contest. The RZR’s well-engineered suspension setup soaks
up off-camber hits and whoops with
aplomb, leaving the Commander in the
dust (no pun intended).
WHICH ONE STOPS FASTER?
The RZR. Lighter weight and four-wheel disc brakes make hard stops
more comfortable than in the Can-Am,
which is a great stopper in its own right.
Being one of the heaviest UTVs around,
the Commander will still slap your
eyeballs against your goggles when you
stomp the brake pedal, but it doesn’t
feel as confident doing so.
WHICH HAS PLUSHER SUSPENSION?
In slower going, the Commander’s
softer suspension feels a little more
forgiving on hard-edged impacts. Its
rear suspension is valved too soft for
our liking, though, as it bottoms out
and drags the rear portion of the frame
on the ground quite often if you hit
the bumps hard. The RZR S is very
hard to bottom out, and even its less-expensive 2-inch body Sachs shocks
beat the Commander when the going
gets rough. The base model RZR S’
preload-adjustable shocks feel a little
stiffer initially than the Fox Podium units
on the LE, but resist bottoming just as
Picking a winner out of these two
comes down to personal preference.
Both are amazing sport machines, but
the Commander offers more utility-oriented features, like its two-part bed,
higher towing capacity, and larger
cargo box. The RZR still handles very
well with a full ice chest and 5-gallon
gas can in the bed, but that’s about
all that will fit in its smaller cargo box.
The way we have explained it to many
friends is this: If you’re going to buy
a UTV to drive fast and want to leave
The RZR’s class-leading 12 inches of travel
is controlled by these new Sachs 2-inch
body preload-adjustable shocks. While they
aren’t very customizable, they offer a plush
ride over the harshest terrain.
The Commander’s 10 inches of travel isn’t
tuned to be as sporty as the RZRs, so big
hits will cause the rear to bottom quickly. The
front suspension works very well, however.
New for 2011 is this multifunction gauge
in the RZR. It has a new look and some
added features, and is less stressful on the
eyes at night.
The Commander XT and X have the best
gauge cluster in the business, bar none. The
needles move opposite of each other for a
cool, wing-flapping effect, and the heads-up
display in the middle features a temperature
gauge—a first in the OEM world.