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Can Am grows the UTV

More power and six-wheel drive boost the newest Defender

When the announcement from BRP about its latest and biggest Can Am Defender model for 2020 arrived in Country Guide’s inbox, it was just a couple of days ahead of the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

The images of the new Defender immediately brought to mind the six-wheel drive military truck that made its first major appearance during that war and got dubbed the “Deuce and a half” by soldiers for its 2-1/2-ton rating. Later versions of the truck remain in military service today.

Can Am’s newest Defender HD10 is also a 6×6, and it’s much bigger and more powerful than its next largest HD10 brother.

Sporting an 82 horsepower, 976 cc V-twin, liquid-cooled Rotax engine, the new Defender gets a 3,000-pound (1,360 kg) tow rating.

Add to that the Mossy Oak camo paint scheme and it means this Defender really does have a bit of that military feel to it. (If you really want, you can order it in white, the only other colour option.)

Factory photo of an early GMC CCKW 2-1/2-ton 6×6 closed cab short wheel base transport, Pontiac, Michigan, 1940-1942.
photo: Courtesy World War II Database

By adding more capacity, capability and power, BRP says it’s paying attention to customers and giving UTV buyers exactly what they want.

“BRP is committed to the full-size utility-recreational segment because it is one of the fastest growing in the market,” Bernard Guy, senior vice-president of global product strategy for BRP says in the press release.

“The 2020 Can-Am Defender family is the direct result of merging tangible insights from customers around the world with our own strict innovation standards.”

As for the rest of its stats, the 6×6 has a total payload capacity of 1,700 pounds (771 kilograms), and 1,000 pounds of that can be loaded into the six-foot box behind the passenger compartment.

Aside from the load rating, that long box gives this model the most cargo capacity of any of the Defender line. It’s long enough to pile in fence posts, and it has the muscle to pull a post pounder behind for fence building chores on the farm — or a pretty wide range of other tasks.

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The company says that building the 6×6 wasn’t just a matter of tagging on an extra axle to an existing Defender Chassis. Instead, the new version was given a complete “frame-up and front-end refresh” to provide improved ride and better durability.

Part of that refresh includes double arched A-arms with 11 inches (27.9 millimetres) of travel on the front axle. Suspension travel is the same at the rear and includes a sway bar for stability. There are 13 inches of under-body clearance to help make this machine capable in rough terrain.

For traction, there are selectable four- and six-wheel drive modes with an auto-locking front differential. The hill-descent feature adds more stability in rough terrain, and this model, like its other Defender siblings, offers three driving modes (ECO, ECO off, and Work) to maximize performance depending on the type of travel needed.

To stop all that weight, the big Defender gets dual-piston disc brakes at the front and rear.

Of course all those additional capabilities affect the price tag. The 6×6 DPS starts with a base price of $21,399.

Just as with the smaller Defenders, there are a host of accessories that can be added to the base machine. For instance, the unit can be spec’d out with a two-inch hitch receiver for towing.

As well, the high-end Deluxe RT Rigid cab will add another $5,999 but it will provide automotive-like all-weather comfort for the driver. That includes climate control and even power windows.

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CG Machinery Editor

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