FIRST RIDE: Defender HD8 and HD10 by CAN-AM - ATV World Magazine - North America's Best ATVing Magazine (2023)

The all-new Defender is Can-Am's first full-fledged, unrestricted entry into the side-by-side commercial and recreational vehicle market. If you follow us at ATV World, you probably already have a good idea of ​​how serious they really are. The Defender is a heavy payload, three-seater workhorse that aims to truly bridge the gap between work and play. Can Am engineers have spent the last three years developing the Defender line from the ground up to be tough, capable and smart.

Directly aimed at machines like Honda's Ranger XP 900 and Pioneer, the Defender's all-new, model-specific chassis is mated to either Rotax HD8 or HD10 V-twin engines. This real recreational work "market" or "segment" has remained fairly unchallenged for many years, and the Defender looks to shake things up with a handful of innovative ideas.


FIRST RIDE: Defender HD8 and HD10 by CAN-AM - ATV World Magazine - North America's Best ATVing Magazine (1)

First off, the Can-Am chassis uses a proprietary high-strength, low-alloy steel for incredible strength with minimal weight. The main body of the Defender cage uses a type of channel or "profile" tubing to allow for super easy installation of accessory doors and windows. The rolled channel is used for positioning on the ROPS cage where you would mount a front or rear windshield or doors. We found it to be very similar to the recent Polaris Ranger XP cage and the Can Am guys were quick to point out that they missed the boot to be first to market with it. Who came up with the design first is irrelevant at this point, but we really liked it on the Polaris, and it seems to work just as well on the Defender.

A great, all-round performing suspension system is another important factor for both work and play. Like most modern UTVs, the Defender’s front end gets a fairly standard-looking dual-A-arm setup, and the rear gets a modified dual-A-arm setup as well. This setup offers a smooth, controllable ride when driving aggressively and an incredible payload rating when it comes to the 'business' side of things. The Defender's suspension system offers 10 inches of travel, 11 inches of ground clearance, and easy-to-service grease fittings at each pivot point.

Motor & TrannyFIRST RIDE: Defender HD8 and HD10 by CAN-AM - ATV World Magazine - North America's Best ATVing Magazine (2)

When it comes to powering the Defender, Can Am has taken their proven V-Twin Rotax engine and recalibrated it for true heavy-duty performance. Setting the new standard for low-rpm torque and power, the HD10 is said to produce 20% more torque than its closest competitor. The 1000cc HD10 produces 72 hp (61 ft-lb torque) and the 800cc HD8 leads its class with 50 hp (50 ft-lb torque). Can Am engines have been completely redesigned, looking for every possible ounce of extra torque over the top speed normally desired.

Can-Am's all-new PRO-TORQ transmission is engineered to smoothly, quickly, and reliably deliver the torque needed for the extreme hauling and heavy payloads expected of the Defender. The new electronic drive belt protection system alerts the driver when a low gear is needed and even temporarily shuts down the vehicle until the correct gear range is selected. A hill descent mode is available to effortlessly crawl down steep hills or slopes.

Form & FunktionFIRST RIDE: Defender HD8 and HD10 by CAN-AM - ATV World Magazine - North America's Best ATVing Magazine (3)

You have to get up close and personal with the Defender to see just how innovative and well designed it really is. The body design was heavily influenced by ergonomics and details such as sight lines, rather than just looking for an exciting or stylish body. The bonnet may look short at first glance, but it slopes down for an optimal view of the ground in front of you. The cab offers tons of intuitive storage including a detachable glove box/tool ​​box that you can actually remove and take with you for trailside repairs etc. There is additional storage space under the seat with space to hide a huge accessory compartment container. We also immediately noticed that all the dash mounted controls, switches etc were easy to reach and operate.

The Defender's massive composite garbage box screams workhorse, and the internal frame makes it one of the toughest we've seen yet. The robust tailgate should even be able to hold an average adult man without any problems. Bed divider slots are molded into the bed to accommodate handy plywood dividers, and four super-smart recessed bucket brackets keep your 5-gallon buckets from sliding around.

How is it to drive?FIRST RIDE: Defender HD8 and HD10 by CAN-AM - ATV World Magazine - North America's Best ATVing Magazine (4)

We got to drive the Defender at Harpole's Heartland Lodge in Nebo, IL. The 1200 acres of trails ranged from easy dirt roads to creek crossings to tougher, obstacle-filled climbs and descents. Right off the bat you can tell the Defender is extremely fast for its intended market or class, especially the 1000cc HD10. The Defender's power really shines through, straight from the bottom, and it's impressive across the board. We found that both machines had enough power to easily climb any trail system available climbs, and the HD10 even felt like it picked up speed on the way up.

Clutching is top-notch too, with predictable engine braking and buttery-smooth shifting. The engine and clutch are truly designed for low-end work performance, but they still offer exciting acceleration and an all-around enjoyable driving experience. Power steering feedback and settings were also set up for work, but felt just as impressive on the trail.

Impressive maintenance plan

We all know the kind of neglect that most farm machinery will experience in their lifetime. The recreational supply market also consists of many less experienced users and owners. With that in mind, Can Am designed the Defenders to make ownership as easy as possible, with the most lax maintenance schedule in the industry. Can the Am engineers claim to have eliminated the entire break-in schedule with zero maintenance required for 3000km or 200 hours? That seems like a ridiculously long time, but Can-Am engineers swore by it and currently back it with an outrageous 36-month limited warranty.

What to improve

Während der brandneue Defender definitiv eine großartige Maschine ist und sich in vielerlei Hinsicht sehr raffiniert anfühlte, haben wir einige erwähnenswerte Mängel festgestellt. Zwischen dem Basismodell und dem XT gab es zwei verschiedene untere Sitzflächen. Beim günstigeren Modell ist uns die Schaumdichte als zu weich und etwas zu gering aufgefallen. Nach ein paar Stunden auf dem Trail hat man wirklich den Boden der Pfanne gespürt. Es fehlte ihnen auch an wirklicher Unterstützung, um Ihren Hintern dort zu halten, wo Sie ihn wollten. Die Jungs von Can Am haben erwähnt, dass einige der Modelle Prototypen waren, aber sie sollten auch sehr bald an den Händler geliefert werden.

Another area for improvement could be the seat belts. Riders of different sizes will appreciate the belt's new, adjustable pull point to avoid neck chafing, but we did notice a tendency for the waistband to lock and tighten. A final minor complaint was the storage compartment in the cabin, which needs some sort of gate or better angle to keep your belongings in and not thrown on the floorboard.

Final ThoughtsFIRST RIDE: Defender HD8 and HD10 by CAN-AM - ATV World Magazine - North America's Best ATVing Magazine (5)

This will be a great machine for anyone who wants to work, play, hunt, etc. with the same UTV. Incredible workability comes with its 1000 lb. boxing capacity and 2000 lbs would be hard to top. towing ability. The lack of seating comfort can be avoided with the better equipped XT models, or you might find yourself adding another layer of foam for those long days in the saddle. The Can-Am Defender is definitely innovative and exhibits many automotive or truck-like qualities.

2016 Can Am Defender HD8 & HD10 Specifications:

  • Motor:799cc or 976cc liquid-cooled 4-stroke; Rotax, V-Twin
  • HP:50hp HD8 or 72hp HD10
  • Torque:50 ft-lb HD8 oder 61 ft-lb HD10
  • Fuel:Intelligent Throttle Control (iTC) with Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI)
  • Transmission:PRO-TORQ transmission with Quick Response System (QRS), high airflow ventilation and electronic drive belt protection Extra-L/H/N/R/P
  • Drivetrain:Selectable 2WD/4WD with automatic Visco-Lok limited slip front differential
  • Driving assistance:Electronic hill descent control
  • Front suspension:Dual A-arm / 10" (25.4 cm) travel
  • Rear suspension:TTA-HD with external anti-roll bar / 25.4 cm (10") travel
  • Brakes front:Dual 220mm hydraulic discs with dual-piston calipers
  • Rear brake:Dual 220mm hydraulic discs with single-piston calipers
  • Tires:25×8-12 / 25×10-12Maxxis base model: 24x8x12 / 24x10x12
  • Long:305 cm (120 inches)Broad:157.5 (62 inches)Height:193 cm (76 in)
  • Wheelbase:211.5 cm (83 in)
  • seat height:73 cm (28.7 in)
  • ground clearance:28 cm (11 inches)
  • Fuel Capacity:40L (10.6 gallons)
  • dry weight:632.7 (1395 pounds)
  • turning circle:792 cm (26.0 ft)
  • towing capacity:907.2 kg (2000 pounds)
  • Payload:680 kg (1500 pounds)
  • Lighting:140W light output with 4 x 35W headlights and LED taillights
  • Magnet:650 Watt
  • Measuring device:Multifunctional digital: speedometer, tachometer, odometer, trip and hour meter, fuel, gear position, seat belt, diagnostics, clock, auto shut-off
  • Guarantee:3 year limited warranty
  • MSRP: $12.499 $, 14.549 $ DPS, 17.749 $ XT, 26.899 $ XT CAB

FIRST RIDE: Defender HD8 and HD10 by CAN-AM - ATV World Magazine - North America's Best ATVing Magazine (6)


Is the Can-Am Defender worth the money? ›

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.

Can-Am Defender HD8 new price? ›

Suggested List PriceAverage Retail
Base Price$12,399$11,195
Options (Add)
Total Price$12,399$11,195
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How fast does a Can-Am Defender HD10 go? ›

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.

Is a Can-Am Defender better than a Polaris Ranger? ›

From higher quality materials to precision seams on the dash, the Defender has the Ranger beat. Even the Defender's engine is a little bit quieter. When it comes to comfort, Can-Am is king.

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.

Is the new Defender a good investment? ›

Experts say that if you buy your Defender at the right price/model/specification that their prices should hold up well in the future, because demand remains very strong, especially abroad and in Austria (where the cars are particularly pricey).

How much horsepower does a Can-Am defender HD8 have? ›

Engine Type50 hp / 50 lb-ft , Rotax® 799.9 cc, V-twin, liquid cooled
Displacement799 cc
Fuel SystemIntelligent Throttle Control (iTC™) with Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI)

How fast is a Can-Am defender HD8? ›

Able to reach a top speed of about 50MPH, it has plenty of power for utility or light recreational use.

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.

Can you drive a Can-Am Defender on the highway? ›

Despite their popularity in Texas, side-by-sides such as the ones by BRP under the Can-Am brand are not permitted to be on any public roads. This is not exclusive to side-by-sides, however. It applies to all "off-road machinery", including four-wheelers, UTVs, and off-course golf carts.

What gas to run in Can-Am Defender? ›

Easy: unleaded gasoline, 91 octane.

What is the top of the line Can-Am Defender? ›

The basic model offers a decent amount of horsepower, towing capacity, and comfort. 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.

Which is better Land Cruiser or Defender? ›

Defender provides the mileage of 8.7 kmpl and Land Cruiser Prado provides the mileage of 11.13 kmpl.
Defender vs Land Cruiser Prado Comparison Overview.
Key HighlightsDefenderLand Cruiser Prado
Price₹ 80.72 Lakh₹ 96.30 Lakh
Engine Capacity1997 cc2982 cc
Power300 bhp171 bhp
TransmissionAutomatic (TC)Automatic
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What is the best Defender model? ›

The Land Rover defender 110 is likely the best Defender model for those again with fairly busy families or that often travel in groups because of the sheer practicality and versatility of the car.

Is a Can-Am better than a 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.

What are the common faults of Defender? ›

The Defender has also been found to be prone to a leaky brake vacuum pump, and the Defender's clutch and gearbox are also known to give the odd bit of grief. Defenders are designed for use off the beaten track, but some owners have reported that the car generates an odd knocking noise when being driven off-road.

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. Equipped with the ultimate engine option, a V8, Boca Raton drivers will achieve 19 mpg hwy and 14 mpg city.

How many miles do Defenders last? ›

Michelin assures consumers that Defender tires can last 90,000 miles or 144,840 km.

Does Defender require premium gas? ›

The vehicle manufacturer recommends the use of premium unleaded fuel with a minimum octane rating of 95 RON.

What to look out for when buying a Defender? ›

The Most Important Thing To Look Out For When Buying A Defender Is Rust. Rust is the biggest killer of the Defender and any old Land Rover. These vehicles were not rustproofed properly and that has led to a lot of issues as they get older. The most common rust spots are the bulkhead and floors.

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.

What size engine can-am HD8? ›

Defender Pro
CapacityFuel: 10.6 gal (40 L) Towing: 2,500 lb (1134 kg) Storage: Total: 10.4 gal (39.5 L) 6-passenger MAX configuration: Not available
Power SteeringDynamic Power Steering (DPS)
Ground Clearance11 in. (28 cm)
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Does Can-Am HD8 have power steering? ›

mounted V-twin engine, power steering, painted bodywork and cast aluminum wheels come standard. Job performance and trail excitement: that's what the Defender HD8 offers. With seating for three, this Can-Am ATV has a dump bed that can carry 1000 lbs. and a towing capacity of 2000 lbs.

Can-Am defender HD8 towing capacity? ›


With engines, chassis, driving assistance work mode, and suspension all matched to work harder than any other side-by-side, the HD8 and HD10 Defender can tow up to 2,500 lbs (1134 kg).

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 do you make a Can-Am Defender HD8 faster? ›

Increasing The Top Speed Of A Can-Am Defender

One of the easiest things one can do to increase the top speed of their Can-Am Defender -- be it an XMR, an HD8, an HD10, or anything in between -- is to reflash the Electronic Control Module (AKA the Electronic Control Unit, ECM, or ECU).

What engine to go in Defender Can-Am? ›

The Defender line features engines ranging from 450 to the 1000 Rotax® V-Twin engine. Here we have a remanufactured Defender HD8 engine which is often used to power the Can-Am Defender DPS and the Defender XT & Max Models.

What is high mileage for a Can-Am Defender? ›

5,000 and up is considered high miles for ATVs and UTVs.

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.

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.

Can you daily drive a Defender? ›

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. We've developed an exceptional sound deadening system that can make the cabin noise more tolerable, but it's still not a door-thunking-S-Class-Mercedes experience.

Why do Defenders cost so much? ›

Many people started buying them for investment purposes. High demand and low availability drive up the cost. So if you find a vehicle that is eligible for restoration the chances are that it is not going to be in good condition. For the US market, the vehicle needs to be older than 25 years.

Why was the Defender discontinued? ›

Following a continuous production run for 67 years, the Defender was discontinued in 2016 due to rising irrelevance and the costly EU emission standards. However, in 2020, Jaguar Land Rover released a new generation that differs significantly from the previous model.

What should I look for when buying a Defender? ›

The Most Important Thing To Look Out For When Buying A Defender Is Rust. Rust is the biggest killer of the Defender and any old Land Rover. These vehicles were not rustproofed properly and that has led to a lot of issues as they get older. The most common rust spots are the bulkhead and floors.

Can you sleep in the back of a Defender? ›

Overall, the Defender 110 is pretty great to sleep in. The two knocks against it are the length. If you're taller it's going to be a bit cramped. And the fact that you can't open the rear door from the inside.

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