Review: Can-Am’s Defender brings heavy-duty value to heavy chores


The landscaping project in front of my house had been on my radar for the past two years — there were odd-shaped boxwoods, weedy soil, and more “volunteer” plants than my wife and I could count. The goal was to rip it all out and start from scratch. Can-Am’s Defender utility vehicle was our most vital tool for the task.

With just a little bit of pre-digging, the winch-equipped Defender ripped boxwood after boxwood from the ground. We hauled the weed-filled dirt out, and brought loads of composted horse manure back in. It was amazingly convenient to have this vehicle here to help.

My yard work attracted the attention of two of my rural neighbors, who came over to offer their help.

“Wow!” one neighbor said as he walked up. “That thing’s got power.” I agree, and those few words probably sum up my favorite thing about this vehicle. Well, that and torque.

With the growing number of companies putting their branding on UTVs, Can-Am’s vehicles stand out as being some of the very best in their class. Strength. Durability. Versatility. Capabilities. There was no shortage of ways in which this vehicle added value to what I needed to get done around my little farm.

Truth is: That landscaping project — boxwood removal included — was one of the simplest tasks I put the machine through. Within a couple of days of arrival, we were using it to move fallen trees out of a wooded section in our horse pastures. Load after load of deadwood was moved (thanks to the addition of a headache rack and bedwall extenders, we were moving several hundreds of pounds of wood at a time).

My property is quite hilly, and making the trek up steep grades with a full load proved no problem for the three-seater Defender. And the hydraulic bed emptied it all with ease. We also loaded up drills, saws, and nails, and strapped on 8-foot rough-cut boards to replace fencing in some of our most hard-to-reach areas. There were no limitations to taking the vehicle through rough terrain, and it’s equipped with over-the-shoulder seatbelts to ensure a safe ride.

The Defender models have scores of add-ons, some of which have already been mentioned (such as the winch). They can also be fitted with soft-cab enclosures, rear bumpers, and side-body protectors.

While those are the add-ons, here are the basics:

  • Rotax HD10 976CC engine at 72hp
  • 120 inches long, 62 inches wide, 76 inches tall
  • 10.5-inch ground clearance
  • VERSA-PRO bench seat (I was impressed with how comfortable this seat was, even after hours of use)
  • Drive train is a selectable 2WD/4WD with Visco-Lok auto-locking front differential
  • Multifunctional digital gauge that includes a speedometer, tachometer, odometer, trip and hour meters, fuel, gear position, seat belt, diagnostics, clock, auto shut off

If you have a Defender and you feel like lazing around, my advice would be to hide that honey-do list, because there’s no way that you’d be able to blame Can-Am for not getting every last checkbox completed.



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