Review: Can-Am Outlander 6×6 makes its mark with muscle


When my wife posted a Facebook photo of the Can-Am Outlander Max 6×6 being delivered, one of the first comments read: “I don’t know what that is, but I know I need one.”

That’s been a pretty common reaction as this machine has traveled with me around my property and in my community. And the photos don’t even do it justice. Never have I felt such power while driving an off-road vehicle.

Another person commented on that same Facebook post that you’d easily believe this is the kind of machine they use to get baby ATVs out of tight spots. I had to giggle because that sounds about right. It’s a definite change from Can-Am’s already popular standard 4×4 Outlander.

Within the first two days of having the 2019 Outlander Max XT 6×6 to test drive, I put nearly 15 miles on it, winding my way through 60+ acres of pastureland, fire roads, hunting trails, and my neighbor’s wickedly fun ATV course. Because despite the power, the large size, and the dump bed in the back, that’s what this machine is: an ATV, with a third axle to give it extra torque on the trail. 

I’ve always been more of a utility vehicle kind of guy when it comes to the needs of my small farm. My land has rolling hills and lots of fencing, and most of the time I’m needing to haul firewood or feed or tools from one chore to another. So part of my early time with this machine was spent getting used to the ATV-style handlebars and hand controls. Right at your fingertips there are on/off controls, the throttle, brake, winch controls, the ability to shift from 4×6 to 6×6 mode, and headlight switches.

It wasn’t long before I was zipping through the trails or taking my wife for a ride (there’s room for two on the Outlander 6×6). I loved having the windshield to fend off errant branches, though I did have a quick moment of concern on the trail when one of those branches caught a loop in the keys and yanked them out of the ignition, bringing the machine to stop (luckily, I was able to quickly find where the keys had fallen to). The brush guard proved very useful in the thicket, and the hood storage rack was perfect for easy-to-access items. In some of the places I found myself, I was also pleased that the stock Carlisle tires were so aggressive — this has been a particularly wet year in my area, and many paths were muddy, if not downright waterlogged.

Especially on some of the trickier trails, the wide stance (48.5 inches) and good ground clearance (11 inches) always made me feel safe, sturdy, and able to overcome any bumpy obstacle.

The one detraction to this machine, which will be of no surprise to anyone who’s had to tow a dual-axle livestock trailer, is that it has a large turn radius, making life a little difficult dodging drainage ruts or trying to navigate tight spaces. With rear axles aligned immediately next to each other — and the fact that power is distributed to all of those rear tires in even the 4×6 mode — they didn’t always seem like they were operating in harmony on some of the particularly tight turns. Gravel or grass get torn up pretty easily on turns.

Because this is a machine that captures aspects of both a traditional ATV and a side-by-side (that whole work and play combination that we love so much), I had to set aside the joyriding for a moment and see what else I could do with this thing. My version was the XT, which means I got a winch (with a 3,000-pound capacity) and some other perks on it — perfect for a variety of ranching and hunting jobs. It revs up with an 82-horsepower Rotax 1000 V-Twin engine — without a doubt Can-Am’s hardest-working ATV to date.

I decided to put some real weight in the back, so when I got a delivery of 6 tons of gravel to fill in some bare spots on my driveway, guess which machine I called into duty. I filled the cargo box with load after load of gravel — I have no idea what kind of weight was in there, but Can-Am’s specs say it can handle 700 pounds in the box. I’m sure I was putting more than the average person would, but rest assured that it will carry a good bit of feed or a carcass or most anything else a normal person would want to use it for. 

Of course, it also had tilt-assisted dumping, though it was a manual function, so I sometimes had to shovel out some of the gravel before I was able to have the leverage and strength to lift the bed and dump it. There were fold-down options on the bed to give it more flat space, and mine came with a lockable cargo cover. Below the main bed was a nifty metal storage drawer to protect your most valuable items.

This is clearly a beast of a machine. Amid everything else, it also boasts 1,650 pounds of  towing capacity — not the kind of thing you see from a typical ATV. It also has the no-tool LinQ attachment points, allowing users to transform and tailor the machine to an even broader variety of tasks.

I almost hate to have to give this machine back to Can-Am.


The 2019 Outlander Max XT 6×6 starts at a price of $16,349 (transportation fee not included).


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