Reviewed: 2019 Can-Am Outlander – You Won’t Believe How It Handles (Video)

For 2019, Can-Am has redone its lineup of Outlander big bore models, overhauling the chassis, powertrains and available features. 

The 2019 Outlander 650, 850 and 1000R all receive the same host of changes, though the 1000R model gets a few unique features to help harness all that power. The suspension calibration has been entirely re-done to accommodate a new front sway bar that has been added to all three models. The Outlander is also wider now, sitting at a width of 48 inches rather than 46 inches like the older model.

Power is up across the board, with the 650 now making 62 horsepower, the 850 with 78 hp, and the big 1000R making 91 hp (though only with 91 octane fuel).

To harness all 91 hp from the 1000R, Can-Am has added its Intelligent Throttle Control (ITC) system to the model, a throttle-by-wire setup that takes away the direct link from throttle to engine. This allows Can-Am to achieve a few different advantages, the first of which is light thumb weighting, allowing for long rides and no fatigue in your hand. Because the ITC is taking away all the small jabs at the throttle that occur when bouncing down a trail, smooth power delivery is easy to get from this machine.

The other big advantage of ITC is the introduction of drive modes on the Outlander 1000R. Normal, Work and Sport modes have all been added. Normal allows for smooth trail riding with fairly quick throttle response. Work mode dials out the throttle response so you can manoeuvre around in tight spots, while Sport mode feels like a direct connection between the throttle and the engine, allowing you to get the power to the ground very quick.

And while the 91 hp from the 1000R feels incredible when you blast off down the trail, the most significant update to this machine is probably the front sway bar. Taking corners aggressively feels incredible on the Outlander because it stays so flat and planted, never feeling like it even want to lift a wheel. A 2018 Outlander was on hand for back-to-back comparison, and its clear that the 2019 model’s upgrades made it feel much more stable in all situations, a confidence inspiring trait that makes you want to ride it harder and harder.

The only real downside to all of this, is that the Outlander feels more geared toward aggressive sport riding than comfort. The suspension feels firm and is much more prepared to handle a high-speed corner than the provide a comfortable ride.

Possibly the best part of all though, is the price. Can-Am managed to make both Outlander slightly cheaper for 2019, despite all the upgrades and changes. The Outlander 650 starts at $8,399 ($9,899 CAD) while the Outlander 850 starts at $8,999 ($10,699 CAD). Adding DPS to those models is a $900 option, while the 1000R (all of which come with DPS) starts at $11,699 ($13,999 CAD).