It’s not uncommon for us to spend long summer hours beneath the punishing sun, or to have to battle the bristle of winter wind during the first couple months of the calendar year. It’s part of our life in rural America, where chores don’t stop just because things get a little uncomfortable outside. It was in the hot conditions of West Texas that I got a chance to test Can-Am’s new Defender Limited HD10, which offers a complete HVAC system for keeping you nice and cool in summer and toasty warm in winter. With so much to explore with this machine, we wanted to dive right into our 2020 Can-Am Defender Limited review.
The marquee feature for 2020 is the introduction of the industry’s first auto-climate controls for this kind of vehicle. What this means is that you set it at whatever temperature you want and basically forget about it — the vehicle automatically selects whether heating or air conditioning is needed to reach your desired temp. It’s perfect for those brisk 45-degree mornings that ultimately warm up to 80 degrees. Pick your 68-degree temp, put the HVAC setting in automatic mode, and don’t worry about adjusting anything for the remainder of the day.
To augment this, the Defender Limited has a variable compressor, which provides double the cooling power at low RPMs. This is important because it’s safe to say that we’re primarily using utility vehicles at low RPMs, like while hauling or towing on our farms and ranches.
I drove the Defender Limited HD10 in the height of the Texan afternoon, embracing the air conditioning in lieu of some open-cab options that Can-Am had available. The sturdy doors included power windows, and the enclosed cab helped keep external noises and distractions to a minimum. The dusty, rocky terrain was exciting to test drive in, and even the little things (I’m looking at you, windshield wipers and upgraded dust filter) made the ride all that much better.
Because of the shorter (126-inch) wheelbase compared with larger siblings like the Defender PRO or Defender 6×6, there was some front-to-back sway that required some extra caution when traversing a dry creek bed or other uneven obstacle. But the 12 inches of ground clearance overall did well on even the longest and bumpiest of trails (in fact, I was happy to have the shorter machine in some of the spots where I had to wedge it between obstacles or make particularly tight turns). The machine’s suspension uses an arched double A-arm with sway bar up front and an arched TTA with external sway bar in the rear.
The Defender Limited can carry up to 1,000 pounds in its 3-foot-long cargo box, and has 12.7 gallons’ worth of storage space, including 5.6 gallons of waterproof storage under the passenger seat. The towing capacity sits at 2,500 pounds, powered by a Rotax 976 cc V-twin engine and PRO-TORQ Transmission with its Quick Response System.
The Limited has Can-Am’s True four-mode traction system with Turf Mode and front auto-locking Visco-Lok QE, giving you the option to find the right mode no matter whether you’re on delicate or rugged terrain. The tires are 27-inch Maxxis Bighorns 2.0.
This being a Limited model, the special perks had to go well beyond the cab’s HVAC. The machine also has an XT premium bumper, a 4,500-pound winch, and signature LED headlights and taillights. Couple that with a three-position flippable windshield (in case you want a little extra fresh air in the cab) and a generous-sized dashboard display, Can-Am’s new Limited will tackle just about any test you can come up with. Grab yourself something from the huge array of Can-Am’s line of accessories, and you’ll be set to roll.
This machine is the peak of four-season comfort.