Ever since the premiere of the second season of Westworld—the HBO show that’s maybe best described as a mix of Jurassic Park and The Terminator, to give you some sense of its optimistic and uplifting tone—several people have asked me “what’s up with those space-looking buggies?” Well, the vehicles are real, and I’ve actually driven one.
We can’t really do this post without mild spoilers, so if you haven’t caught up yet or even started the show, you might not want to scroll down. But to be honest, I don’t think this info will really ruin any of the suspense for you.
Anyway, to make this as unspoilery as possible, I’ll just say that there some private security type-characters who get around in off-road vehicles that the show’s set designer obviously wanted to look futuristic.
The show itself is set in a vague, undefined future, ostensibly a few decades or more from today. But the vehicles in question are on the market right now. They’re Can-Am Maverick X3s. Powerful, fast UTVs that came out a couple years ago to rival the Polaris RZR. Mavericks can be had in three trim levels and two or four-seat configurations. The show uses the latter.
When I drove one off-road Baja in 2016, I was blown away by the vehicle’s speed and composure through rough stuff. The little buggies absolutely fly through sand and over stones. When it first came out, the Maverick had a 154 horsepower turbocharged 900cc three-cylinder Rotax engine, CVT belt-based transmission (so there only two pedals) and are on-the-fly switchable between 2WD and 4WD.
Today, the engine’s output is up to 172 HP and Can-Am claims that means the vehicle can storm from 0 to 60 in 4.4 seconds. 24 inches of suspension travel and 15 inches of ground clearance translates to plenty of ability to do your sprinting over rough terrain, too.
These things cost between $22,000 and $30,000 depending on how well equipped yours is, and the aftermarket is quickly growing, because who can resist bolting more shit to their adventure vehicle?
The only modification that the Westworld Mavericks seem to have over the standard ones are the wheels. Or “Tweels” such as they are. These are airless tires which can never pop because, again, airless. They’re in production too, made by Michelin, and I’d be tempted to recommend mounting them on all UTVs but they’re extremely heavy and not meant to go more than 37 mph.
That should be plenty for running around a theme park infested with humanoid robots, but maybe not enough for Baja racing.