We've never been disappointed by a Can-Am. Whether it's a top-of-the-line Defender, Outlander ATV or Maverick side x side sports car, they are the definition of off-road excellence.We recently got a chance to test drive the new Can-Am Defenders and Mavericks at Georgia's Iron Mountain Resort.
MANY DEFENDERS TO CHOOSE FROM
Can-Am's Defender models broke new ground in an area previously the domain of Deere's Gator, Kubota and Polaris Ranger. At its core, the Defender is a hard-working machine, but innovative features, immense power and the ability to offer a sporty ride set it apart from other models in its class. It has all the tools for the job but also a fun side!
There are initially 20 different Defender base packs, each highly customizable and creating a virtually infinite number of different models, but they share many core features. Highlights of the Defender series are:
- A total of 20 different base packages with major differences such as single seat, 6 person double cabin configurations, 6 wheel units, flat base units and three different engine options
- Seasonal and region specific models such as the Louisiana X-MR Swamp Lover or a complete cabin designed for extreme northern winters.
- Three Rotax engine options with the 52hp HD7, 65hp HD9 or 976cc 82hp HD10.
- Reliable, easy-to-use CVT transmissions with a dash-mounted shifter.
- Fast, agile handling and excellent stability on the trail thanks to the low center of gravity and balanced chassis.
- Clean, stylish cabin areas designed for comfort, with extra legroom, easy entry and convenient features.
- Prices for buyers of all levels start at $11,699
DEFENDER DETAILS - UNDER THE SKIN
The basis of every Defender is a high-strength steel chassis designed to carry heavy loads. Like most Side x Sides and ATVs, the Defender features double wishbones up front, with hydraulic disc brakes on each wheel and an A-arm suspension system in the rear. Flexible, adjustable shock absorbers at each corner help control the vehicle and ensure a smooth ride.
Heavy-duty machines require a lot of torque for towing, hauling and tasks like snow removal. The Defender's three engine options offer just that. The HD9 and HD10 engines feature Can-Am's PRO-TORQ CVT and QRS clutch system. This ensures an immediate response to throttle inputs. The Defender is equipped with an equally capable CVT transmission. One of the features we appreciate the most is a high-flow ventilation system to keep the belt cool and a handy electronic seat belt warning system that alerts the driver when they should shift into LOW gear. A simple dash switch lets you choose between a locked or unlocked 2x4 differential, an open 4x4 differential for more traction, or when things get really bad, a fully locked 4x4 differential. The electronic hill descent control also helps when driving down steep slopes.
All of the Defender's engines are located under the rear bed, which helps curb engine noise but also makes routine maintenance that much easier. We can't thank the engineering team enough for the easy access to dipsticks, oil filters and high-capacity canister air filters. Under the hood are fuses, electrical accessory connectors, and the brake fluid reservoir. Other critical parts like the battery, sockets and even the lamps have also been strategically placed for easy maintenance.
OFFROAD REFINEMENT INSIDE AND OUT
As much as we love the Defender's chassis and engine, Can-Am really demonstrates its mastery of vehicle design with the overall body style and cabin interiors. Both are excellent! The body style has a strong and solid look and all the panels match perfectly. At every opportunity, the Can-Am has built in useful features. The bucket's sidewalls are shaped to include slots for bulkheads, and the tailgate includes four cutouts and a ruler. Body supports are molded into the strong rear cargo area and wheel arch liners protect underbody components while hot air from the radiator is channeled to the side instead of through the cabin. At the front, headlights are recessed into the body, while steel bumpers protect key suspension components and the body above.
Inside the cabin is a beautifully sculpted dashboard with intuitive, easy-to-reach controls. Light and accessory switches are located on either side of the tilt wheel, and a digital display lets you toggle between all relevant trip and vehicle information. We really appreciate that the seats fold flat and they have plenty of legroom underneath. There is a folding center armrest between the seats. The Defender has plenty of in-cab storage and one of the smartest features in the off-road world. The dashboard glove box can be removed and doubles as a tool box! Flip up the handle and you can take it with you. We love it! With full cabin models, you won't be disappointed. The interior of the Can-Am's cab rivals that of your truck and almost makes us feel a little guilty about walking in with muddy hunting gear. Nearly. One area that particularly impresses us is the doors. They are robust, fit well and feel valuable. The inner door panel is padded and some models even have power windows!
FOR THE WOOD OR THE WORK, TIME FOR THE DEFENDER TRAIL
Every Can-Am Defender is a hard-working machine. After all, this unit can just as easily haul a full-size round bale, a set of tractor wheels, or enough gear for a two-week National Guard camp. In fact, the Defender Pro has such a huge covered storage area that we actually crawled through it and emerged from the other side. Whether you need a weekend garden errand or a 50-mile fence repair, the Defender can do it. With no cows to herd or cinder blocks to haul, we were ready to explore the Defenders' sporty side on Georgia's slippery red clay hills.
The first thing that strikes us about all Defender models is the comfort. They're easy to put on and take off, and once you settle into the perfectly shaped seat, everything feels natural. The pedals are at a good angle and the steering column pivots easily into its perfect position. The base model we tried has side nets that close with a safety clip, but we miss the seatbelt latch that Can-Am has used in the past. Many models in the Defender family have a robust set of connectors that work perfectly, but we understand that this is simply a manufacturing budget decision based on the target price of each model. We started the engine and headed to the trails.
The Defender engines make for a healthy-sounding exhaust note, but because it's under the bed and behind the cabin, the sound isn't obnoxious and it's easy to talk to the passenger. We like how the dash-mounted positive-engagement shifter fits into the transmission. True to Can-Am's penchant for performance in everything they build, the Defender responds quickly to throttle inputs but without the feeling of jerking. Thanks to a very smooth clutch, the Defender picks up speed quickly, and there are no abrupt downshifts when you let off the gas.
We particularly like the Defender's power steering. It's one of those features that's so good you don't even think about it. It's the perfect blend of trail feel and feedback, with just the right amount of steering assist. We also like the sight lines over the Defender's hood, which is sloping and gives you a better view of the trail ahead. This comes at a price, because an open hood area also means less splash protection. If you opt for a base Defender model, you get an additional windshield. Worth it.
A SMALL ADJUSTMENT TAKES A LONG TIME
Before we start testing, let's first check the tire pressure and damper settings. Defender shocks offer 5 preset options. Ours was set to the softest setting, while tires are typically inflated to their recommended ceilings during dealer setup. Both make a huge difference in ride quality, not just on the Defender but on any SUV. We found that the factory shock setup responded well to, but was able to overcome, most obstacles on the trail. Harder tires, however, transmit more small bumps through the suspension and steering and are detrimental to traction. Since it had rained a lot before and during the tour, we preferred a change. We lowered the tire pressure by 4 pounds while setting the suspension setting to the middle setting. This effectively stiffened the suspension for slightly less body roll and less tendency to bottom out, while the tires were now able to soak up small bumps and definitely got better traction in the slippery red mud. It's a simple tweak that makes a noticeable difference.
HE WAS HOOKED
Powerful features and a powerful engine don't necessarily mean rough, rough riding. Can-Am engineers proved that with their Defender. The engine produces incredible torque for hauling heavy loads or, in our case, climbing some pretty big hills and you'll never run out of power. Equally important, when descending a large, slippery runway, the Defender's engine braking could control the descent in high gear, but was more noticeable in low gear. When you're looking up a steep, greasy hill with a hairpin at the bottom and a deep ravine right at the edge, you need a chassis that holds its line. Missing the curve would have been a concern for his immediate family. Luckily, the Defender's chassis is nimble enough to maneuver with confidence on tight trails and off-cambers. The chassis feels firm with no noticeable flex, and we didn't notice any squeaks or suspension noise. The Defender can handle tight, twisty trails, but outdoors it's ready to run!
WHICH MODEL SUITS YOU?
With 20 different Defenders to choose from, from the extremely capable yet fuel-efficient 3-passenger base model priced at $11,699 to the premium 6-passenger luxury Defender Max Lonestar model priced at $33,199, there's bound to be a Defender model for you. There are even 6-wheel Defender 6x6 models for hauling extreme loads, and each Defender is highly customizable thanks to a long list of accessory options. If you can't find a Defender that works for you, we want to know where you go!
Whenever we've tried a Defender, we've been impressed. Despite being extremely capable work machines, the Defender is also incredibly close to a trail-loving crossover model. A wide-open section of track will tell you this quickly. You can't beat its innovative features, smart design and superb build quality. Again, we've never been disappointed by a Can-Am.
Are Can-Am defenders any good? ›
In short: The 2022 Can-Am Defender is a versatile thoroughbred of a workhorse. Its chassis and powertrain are rugged enough to tackle a variety of conditions. And with a starting price of less than $12,000 ($13,200 for the HD7), it's a great alternative to tearing up your work truck.Is a Can-Am Defender better than a Polaris Ranger? ›
In all aspects, the Can-Am Defender comes out on top. The seats are more comfortable and we have no problem riding for hours at a time while harnessed in. The cab feels more spacious too. In reality, it's not that much bigger than the Ranger's, but the angles of the cage make it feel much bigger.Are Can-Am Defender seats comfortable? ›
The Can-Am Defender review is incomplete without mentioning comfort. While you might not prioritize your comfort, Can-Am does. Regardless of choosing a single bench seat option, there's plenty of room in the Defender.Can-Am Defender 2022 changes? ›
The new 2022 Can-Am Defender is now available with Rotax HD7 and Rotax HD9 engines to replace the older HD5 and HD8 units. The new engines bring more power along with more refined operation that is cooler, quieter, and smoother. Together, these changes should make the 2022 Defender the most capable utility Can-Am ever.Is Can-Am better than Polaris? ›
The Can-Am has a slightly larger engine at 999cc compared to the 976cc Polaris Ranger engine. Both are regarded as some of the sturdiest UTVs around, and this shines through in their engine performance. If you need to know you have the bigger engine, Can-Am is the way to go. If you don't, then go Polaris.Is a Can-Am Defender good for trail riding? ›
Thankfully, the Defender chassis is nimble enough to maneuver tight trails and off-camber slopes with confidence. The chassis feels firm with no perceivable flex and we didn't notice any squeaks or suspension noises. The Defender can handle twisty, tight trails, but in the open it's ready to run!How many miles will a Can-Am Defender last? ›
ATVs are intended to last 10 years or 10,000 miles.Which Defender has the best engine? ›
The new Land Rover Defender V8 offers arguably the best engine in the lineup, bringing in the all-new P525. This 525 BHP petrol engine offers the Defender 90 and 110 a new level of performance entirely.Who makes Can-Am Defender engines? ›
Industry-leading torque, quiter Rotax engines
The HD7 Engine (52 hp / 41 lb-ft torque) is the king of the mid-cc class!
Adding the optional air suspension helps to smooth out the ride. The Defender is not quite up there for comfort with the best luxury and large SUVs but it's the best-riding of the proper, off-road-biased SUVs. It's much smoother in town and on a motorway than the Jeep Wrangler and Toyota Land Cruiser for example.
How many miles per gallon does a Defender do? ›
2023 Land Rover Defender MPG & Engine Options
Step up to the available 3.0L inline-six turbo engine, and you enjoy 22 mpg hwy and 17 mpg city.
The Defender's class-leading HD10 engine makes 82 hp and 69 pound-feet of torque, which means this UTV makes good speed. With the right combination of setup and road surface, Can-Am says the Defender can hit 62 mph.What is the difference between 2022 and 2023 Can-Am Defender? ›
The biggest changes on the Defender Max Limited are on the doors. The new Defender doors close a lot better and are more rigid than the 2022 model. Can-Am also improved the visibility on this machine by replacing the side black panel on the previous model with a window.How long of a wait to get a Can-Am Defender? ›
In total, we are talking about delays that range between 60 and 90 days. We encourage you to stay in touch with your dealer to keep informed about Can-Am off-road vehicles availability.Which is better Can-Am or Yamaha? ›
If you are looking for a best of the best ATV you are sure to have come across the Yamaha Grizzly and the Can-Am Renegade. Though both of these ATVs offer excellent performance, we think that the Yamaha Grizzly takes the lead for its outstanding performance in every aspect.Which UTV is most reliable? ›
What is the most reliable UTV side-by-side? Honda is known for making reliable ATVs and UTVs, like the Pioneer 1000-5. Yamaha also has a good reputation for reliable vehicles, so you may also want to check out the Wolverine X2 850 or Viking VI EPS Ranch Edition.Who makes Can-Am engines? ›
Can-Am ATVs and side-by-side vehicles are manufactured by Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) a Canadian company. BRP owns manufacturing facilities in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Finland and Austria and its vehicles are distributed in over 100 countries by more than 4,000 dealers and distributors.Is a Can-Am better than a RZR? ›
Simply put, the Can-Am is the faster of the two vehicles because it performs better at higher speeds than the other vehicle. On the other hand, the Polaris is a true all-terrain vehicle. If you're shopping for a UTV that can travel over any surface, the RZR is your best bet.What fuel to run in Can-Am Defender? ›
Easy: unleaded gasoline, 91 octane.Are Can-Am engines reliable? ›
Their machines are generally reliable. Rotax engines used in Can-Ams are considered the most reliable in the market, thought of as both powerful and dependable. The electrical system is also top-notch. What Can-Am is best known for is power and exciting features.
How Long Can-Am engine last? ›
Average engine lifespan
For some time, the average lifespan of a car's engine was eight years, or 150,000 miles. New designs, better technology and improved service standards in recent years have increased this average life expectancy to about 200,000 miles, or about 10 years.
|Part||Maintenance Interval Hours||Maintenance Interval Date|
|Air Filter||50||6 months|
|Engine Oil & Filter||100||6 months|
|Front Gearcase Oil||100||12 months|
|Spark Plugs||100||12 months|
You should buy the Defender if you want a luxury vehicle with exceptional off-road capabilities. It's a decent value for the luxury midsize SUV class, with base prices in the mid-$50,000 range and a long list of standard equipment. It's worth checking out some competitors, though.Why is the new Defender so popular? ›
So, why is the Defender so popular? For one main reason, it is extremely functional. And the emotional appeal has made the Defender withhold its iconic British presence around the world for the past 70 years.Which is the most reliable Defender? ›
While the 2021 2.2-litre TDCi is the most powerful and refined engine ever to call the Defender its home, we're willing to bet that more than a few Defender owners would argue that the old 300Tdi is by far the most robust and off-road friendly engine of all the iterations of years gone by!Where is the Can-Am Defender built? ›
Our Mexican footprint has grown over the years. We now have two plants in Juárez where we manufacture our Can-Am off-road vehicles. In Querétaro, we assemble our Sea-Doo watercraft and the Rotax engines for our Can-Am off-road vehicles. . manufactured at this facility.Can-Am Defender engine break in? ›
This is a period of 200 miles or 300 KM. During this period the engine should not be used at high engine RPM levels nor should you accelerate abruptly.Can-Am Defender engine differences? ›
The new engine is meant to be quieter, vibrate, and have a cooler environment for passengers resulting in a more comfortable ride. And the Rotax HD9 option replaces the HD8 in the Can-Am Defender lineup. It is a larger, more powerful engine that delivers 30%1 more horsepower than its predecessor.Is the Defender fun to drive? ›
The craziest part is that this is an off-road-capable SUV—not a performance-oriented model. But on the road, the 2022 Land Rover Defender 90 V-8 feels like it was born to please those who like driving fast. It handles straight-line driving and tackles twisty roads with ease.Is a Defender easy to drive? ›
The steering is very heavy and isn't very responsive. There are lots of turns lock-to-lock, but the turning circle is huge, and cornering is best done slowly. It also bounces around over rough tarmac. That said, if you love driving then there's real satisfaction to be had driving a Defender.
Is the Defender a daily driver? ›
The truth is that a Defender can be a lovely daily driver if you adjust your driving habits. You will drive slower, but enjoy the experience more.Is the new Defender reliable? ›
Yeah, I'd still consider it reliable. Despite the worrying (but cured) overheating glitch, everything that "broke" has been minor and relatively easy to rectify. I still wouldn't hesitate to hop into the MT Defender for a cross-country overlanding expedition. In fact, now I'm itching to.Does Defender require premium gas? ›
The vehicle manufacturer recommends the use of premium unleaded fuel with a minimum octane rating of 95 RON.What is the top speed of Defender? ›
The Defender V8 is capable of sprinting from zero to 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour) in 4.9 seconds, with a top speed of 149 mph (240 km/ph).Who makes the fastest side by side ATV? ›
The 2022 Polaris RZR Pro R Ultimate Dynamix is one of the fastest production UTVs you can purchase today, with its new 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine pushing out 225 hp. And, thanks to the upgraded 3.0 Fox Live Valve shocks, the R model has 22.5 inches of front travel and 24.5 inches of rear travel.What is the fastest most powerful side by side? ›
Engine & Drivetrain.
|Engine Type||4-Stroke DOHC Inline Four Cylinder|
|Fuel System/Battery||Electronic Fuel Injection|
The top-dog 2023 Can-Am Maverick X3 X DS Turbo RR will come with four-point harnesses and a sport roof as standard. Until now, buyers had to make do with three-point harnesses and an open top. The only option to get some shade and extra safety was to visit the accessory catalog or the aftermarket.Does the Can-Am Defender have air conditioning? ›
HVAC. HVAC: No sweat: Available climate control - Features an automatic & a variable compressor mode that improves efficiency. Dial in heating, ventilation or air conditioning to keep the cabin temperature exactly how you like and lock in that temperature with the painted full doors.Can-Am Defender pulling power? ›
TOWING CAPACITY: Industry-leading towing capacity. With engines, chassis, driving assistance work mode, and suspension all matched to work harder than any other side-by-side, the Defender can tow up to 2,500 lb. (1134 kg).Does Can-Am Defender have heat? ›
The Defender Limited offers a fully sealed cab with roll-up windows and a factory HVAC system. With onboard heating and air conditioning, passengers can cruise in total comfort.
How often do you change the oil in a Can-Am Defender? ›
The recommended service interval for front differential oil change on your Can-Am ATV is every 4,000 miles or 200 hours in normal driving conditions.How many miles for oil change on Can-Am Defender? ›
|Part||Maintenance Interval Hours (normal use / severe use)||Maintenance Interval Miles (normal use / severe use)|
|Engine Oil & Filter||200 / 100||2,000 / 1,000|
|Front Differential Oil||200||2,000|
|Rear Gearcase / Transmission Oil||100 / 50||1,000 / 500|
|Tie Rods||100 / 50||1,000 / 50|
WORK mode (if equipped) gives full power with smoother throttle response to negotiate job sites. NORMAL mode: More exciting than ECO, it's the best mode for the widest range of off-road conditions. SPORT mode (if equipped): Most engaging throttle response and performance—be warned that ear-to-ear grins may occur.What is considered high miles on a side-by-side? ›
What's Considered High Mileage for an ATV? The average annual mileage for an ATV is 1,000 to 2,000. While there are varying opinions and factors on this matter, most off-roaders consider anything above 5,000 miles to be high mileage. An ATV with 1,000 miles or under is considered to have low mileage.Does Can-Am Defender have turn signals? ›
The TSS (Turn Signal System) consists of a relay control box and horn that mounts under the hood and turn signal, and custom hazard/horn switches that mount in the dash. A supplied vehicle-specific rear harness integrates into the Can-Am Defenders OEM taillights converting them to turn signals.How fast are Can-Am defenders? ›
The Defender's class-leading HD10 engine makes 82 hp and 69 pound-feet of torque, which means this UTV makes good speed. With the right combination of setup and road surface, Can-Am says the Defender can hit 62 mph.Are old defenders reliable? ›
Much as they are well loved by owners, old Defenders aren't always reliable, so the first thing to look for is a complete service history.What is the top of the line Can-Am Defender? ›
However, for more specs, the Defender Max Limited is what you should look at. It is a closed cab model of the Defender, equipped with six seats and the most powerful engine in the trim, the HD10.Is Polaris or Can-Am faster? ›
Simply put, the Can-Am is the faster of the two vehicles because it performs better at higher speeds than the other vehicle. On the other hand, the Polaris is a true all-terrain vehicle. If you're shopping for a UTV that can travel over any surface, the RZR is your best bet.How much weight can a Can-Am defender pull? ›
BRAWN TO THE BONE. The HD8 and HD10 Defenders can pull at the top of their class with a towing capacity of 2,500-lbs (1,134 kg).
Can-Am defender pulling capacity? ›
UP TO A 3,000 LBS TOWING CAPACITY: Industry-leading towing capacity - With engines, chassis, driving assistance work mode, and suspension all matched to work harder than any other side-by-side, the Defender can tow up to 2,500 lbs (1134 kg), while Defender 6x6 boasts an industry-leading 3,000 lbs (1360 kg) towing ...Why are Defenders so popular? ›
So, why is the Defender so popular? For one main reason, it is extremely functional. And the emotional appeal has made the Defender withhold its iconic British presence around the world for the past 70 years.Are Defenders hard to drive? ›
Land Rover Defender Hard Top driving experience
The great news is that this means the Defender Hard Top is very easy to drive on the road, making mincemeat of long distances. The surprising news is that Land Rover claims it's also far better off-road as well.