CAN-AM Defender

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DEFENDER OF THE FAITH


With the Outlander Pro now starting to make a reasonable impression on the quad market, Can-Am are now taking the marketing of their Defender UTV or side-by-side a little more seriously. Granted, it’s a strange combination, the Canadian-American name producing ATV’s and UTV’s down in Mexico and powered by Rotax engines built under license once again in Mexico.


But don’t let this geographical mixture put you off, Can-Am’s Defender as capable a UTV as it gets. With three to choose from the basic Defender comes in just plain green whilst the DPS and XT versions arrive resplendent in Mossy Oak Break-Up Country Camo. The other difference is that whilst the basic and DPS are powered by 50hp 800cc engines the XT draws from a 1,000cc unit that delivers 72hp. More suited to the leisure market which is where BRP or Bombardier Recreational Products in many ways made their name, it’s the 800cc DPS that is seen here and kindly supplied by Guy Machinery. And take it from us, the 50hp version is more than ample for any farmer or keeper, the slightly smaller engine possessed of more than adequate power for all applications.


Following the conventional UTV or side-by-side layout and sat on a substantial box section chassis the Defender DPS has a length, width and height of 305cms x 157cms x 193cm with an extremely well protected 28cms ground clearance. A quick glance underneath the Defender reveals extensive skid plates which can be augmented by additional factory supplied protection should the buyer consider it necessary whilst an angled plate at the front protects the front Visco diff and other vital components.


Most noticeable are the high cut front wings and rear clearance beneath the rear cargo bed, the double A-arm and twin gas shocks on the front able to articulate freely with 25.4cms of travel, the external sway bar and twin rear shocks also able to move freely over the same 25.4cms of travel, the black cast alloy rims able to make full use of the front 25x8.00-12 and 25x10.00-12 rear Maxxis tyres. Equally, even fitted with the optional BesTop cab, entry and exit of the driver and passenger compartment is unhindered, no grab rails or narrow sections to be negotiated.


At the short overhang and steeply curved front the 140-W twin headlights are deep set and well protected even without any of the optional nudge bars being fitted. Similarly, the radiator is positioned as high as possible and behind a protective egg crate style grille. Move to the side and apart from the 10.6 gallon fuel tank filler that sits just behind the passenger entrance, the interior provides comfortable and spacious accommodation for three passengers and enough for unimpeded walk-through, Can-Am rapidly gaining a reputation for operator and occupant comfort and ease of use.


Within the cab the dash roll offers plentiful stowage, a large glovebox complimented by large cup holders and deep storage bins. The fully adjustable thick rimmed steering wheel sits just in front of a simple multi function LCD digital readout that relays the information the operator needs, the transmission selector at hand height and to the immediate right of the instrument panel. Also of note is the fact the Defender doesn’t have conventional handbrake, placing the shift in P or Park immediately applying the parking system.


To the left of the wheel the lights rocker switch sits in fast and easy reach whilst to the right of the steering column the 2WD and 4WD selector, rear diff lock rockers and 12v socket can be accessed the moment they are required. Already mentioned, with the front wheels controlled by Can-Am’s Visco diff, this takes care of itself so the operator has only to concern themselves with the rear diff setting. Likewise, 2WD and 4WD can be engaged or disengaged seamlessly ‘on the fly’, only the selection of low range requiring the Defender to be brought to a halt.


Apart from the two well sized pedals the operator’s other concern is as to whether they want full or reduced power. Drive without wearing the seatbelt and power is reduced for reasons of safety, strap in an all 50hp become available. For those who elect to fit the optional BesTop cab and front screen Can-Am’s convenience and simplicity is carried over. Unlocked by a large, easy to find handle and supported by twin gas struts, the screen folds outwards and upwards to 90o making lamping and shooting whilst still inside easy and once again unhindered making the arrangement very attractive to keepers and estate managers.


To the rear the 454kg manual tipper and hinged tailgate cargo bed is unlocked via adjoining levers, the basic 96.5cms x 138.4cms x 30.5cms standard space able to be expanded by fitment of the folding load extender. Located just beneath the bed the adjustable towing hitch adds 907kg of towing capacity, a longer tongue available to suit various trailers. Housing the small rear lights, on lifting the bed access to the V-Twin liquid cooled Rotax engine and transmission is as near unrestricted as it currently gets, the unit, auxiliaries and exhaust system all neatly tucked within the chassis framework.


But it’s driving the Can-Am that counts, Guy Machinery able to supply not only the Defender but an extremely testing route across their family farm. As European and National Off-Road Champions, the farm incorporates some purposefully challenging terrain and obstacles all of which the Defender was more than able to cope with. In both low and high ratios with the rear diff locked and unlocked, deep mud, steep bankings, rock strewn surfaces and narrow gullies were all crossed, climbed, straddled and climbed over with noticeable ease. On steep descents the engine braking is sufficient to bring the Defender to a complete halt irrespective of angle whilst maximum power when required is immediate.


Nice to hold and comfortable to grip, something other manufacturers at times fail to take into account, reaction from the front wheels is as quick as the driver’s instructions. From precise negotiation of narrow ditches to the oft required application of opposite lock, the Defender reacts straight away. Vision even with the cab in place allows each corner of the Defender to be seen so allowing exact positioning when working or dropping cargo.


Like all Can-Am products a comprehensive selection of accessories can be acquired for the Defender, all of them practical in nature. Various nudge bars, snow ploughs, hydraulic kits, winches, drawbar kits, racks, auxiliary lights and track system all feature many of them part of Can-Am’s quick release LiNQ arrangement


Price wise, the basic Defender comes in at £11,799 whilst the cab and other accessories as fitted to the tester adds about another £3,000 all of which require VAT to be added. The Defender DPS as tested though will cost you £14,750 plus VAT that besides taking in the BRP accessories also includes Guy Machinery’s own conversion. Not factory approved or supplied, Guy Machinery has fitted an LPG conversion that costs around £1,200 once again plus VAT. This adds a small 25-litre gas tank located beneath the centre passenger seat, the small filler on the left side of the bodywork along, a neat switch on the dashboard and the valve and controls that are tucked neatly away on the right side of the chassis next to the engine.


Transition from petrol to gas is flawless and automatic unless the driver wishes to transfer manually, the power and performance remain exactly the same, the tank and fitments little weight so don’t affect the Defender’s carrying capacity. The significant upside is that at the time of the test, LPG costs somewhere in the region of 40p per litre, noticeably less than petrol. It’s also a given that if you opt for the full package as seen here Guy Machinery are able to work out a far more attractive and comprehensive final figure package.


For further details on the Defender and Outlander range visit www.Can-AmOffroad.com and for the Defender DPS as tested visit www.guymachinery.co.uk or give them a call on; 01200 445555.


I’d like to extend my thanks to Graham and Mark Guy for the provision of their Can-Am Defender DPS, access to their off-road facilities and time.



       

By; Mark Stone