Can-Am Moves Into Utility UTV Market with the Defender | Living the Country Life

Can-Am Moves Into Utility UTV Market with the Defender

With a multifunction cargo box, 1,000-pound hauling capacity, and the ability to tow 2,000 pounds, the Can-Am Defender was designed for hard work.

The visionaries behind the Can-Am Sea-Doo and the Spyder three-wheel motorcycle have taken their innovation and creativity to a new arena – the utility side-by-side market.

“Innovation is our biggest driver in product development,” says Matt Tandrup, the design manager for Can-Am’s new Defender utility UTV. “With a utility vehicle, we wanted to apply innovation, but we wanted to do it in more of a conservative way that fits this consumer.”

When you get into the new Can-Am Defender, you can see what Tandrup means by conservative innovations. In the cab, there is a removable toolbox where the glove box would normally be. In the cargo box, there are four indentations that will securely hold 5-gallon buckets. These features are simple yet bring more functionality to the machine.

“We’ve put a lot of Easter eggs like this into the Defender to make the consumer's day a little easier,” adds Tandrup.

You’ll find one of these Easter eggs when you open the tailgate. The 250-pound-rated tailgate has cup holders, making it the perfect place to take a break from a long day on the farm. When you get back to work, the tailgate can be removed without tools to haul larger loads.

Engineered for hard work
While the Defender is Can-Am’s first player in the utility-UTV market, Can-Am is no stranger to the side-by-side world. In 2010, Can-Am introduced the Commander, designed for recreational use, and two years later the company rolled out the Maverick – a pure sport machine.

“For years we’ve had dealers and customers asking us to build a Commander for the utility market,” explains Tandrup. The Defender is Can-Am’s answer to this frequent request.

For 2016, the Defender will be available in two models, each with a bench seat for three people. The HD8 is powered by an 800-cc Rotax V-twin engine that cranks out 50 pound-feet of torque. The larger HD10 has a 976-cc Rotax V-Twin engine with 61 pound-feet of torque. The engine is placed in the rear of the Defender to reduce vibration and keep the cab cool and quiet.

Power is transferred via a new Pro-Torq Transmission engineered for hard work. “We spaced the pulley and drive farther apart to give us a larger CVT that will bring more power down to the wheels,” says Tandrup. “In addition, we have an extra-low gear that will distribute and bring torque to an area that’s good for towing and low-speed maneuvers.”

Both Defender models can tow up to 2,000 pounds and haul 1,000 pounds in the cargo box. The multifunction cargo box is designed to be as versatile as you need it to be. In addition to the bucket recesses and cup holders, the cargo box has four tie-down points, a built-in LinQ quick-attach system for accessories, and multiple recesses so you can separate the box. The base Defender model comes with a hydraulic cylinder for lift-assist, or you can upgrade to the electric power tilt bed.

If you need more space, the bed works with extenders, and Can-Am also has a bed wall extender accessory. The bed wall extender, which works in conjunction with a headache rack, increases the capacity of the box by three times.

Off-road capabilities
To handle tricky terrain, the Defender has double A-arm suspension in the front and heavy-duty Torsional Trailing A-arms in the rear that provide 10 inches of travel. In addition, the Defender has 11 inches of ground clearance and a rigid chassis, fully welded frame, and full skid plates.

Riders can choose between three driving modes and four traction systems. The normal mode provides no filtering in the accelerator, work mode provides minimal filtering without reducing power, and eco mode increases the filter and limits the speed to reduce fuel consumption. Based on your terrain, you can select two- or four-wheel drive with an open or locked rear differential.

Available models
The HD8 Defender starts at $10,999, moving up to $12,799 for EPS. The Defender XT comes equipped with many factory-installed items, including 27-inch Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires, 14-inch wheels, EPS, a roof, and more for $15,599. The Defender HD10 XT cab has a full cab enclosure with a tilt-up windshield and wiper kit, doors with electric opening windows, a rear window with a sliding opening, and a heater kit for $23,699.

Can-Am will be releasing a new product every six months for the next four years. A crew cab Defender will most likely be one of the next introductions.

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