Can-Am Defender Side-by-Side Vehicle – What You Need to Know

Can-Am Defender Side-by-Side Vehicle - What You Need to Know

Can-Am offers a full range of ATV and side-by-side vehicles. These off-road vehicles are suitable for drivers of all experience levels. The Can-Am Defender was an exciting addition to the line-up of vehicles when the company first announced it. Today we’re going to discover everything you need to know about this vehicle and some surprising facts you may not know about it.


The History of This Off-Road Side by Side Vehicle

A couple of years before the introduction of the Can-Am Defender, the company stated that they intended to enter into every part of the side-by-side market. The Defender is their first true UTV vehicle, which is short for utility terrain vehicle. Can-Am’s products are all made by BRP, a company based out of Quebec, Canada. This playful yet robust vehicle has a variety of features which sets it apart from the competition, with direct comparisons to the Polaris Ranger often made about it.


The Can-Am Defender was first announced in 2015 at the brand’s semi-annual dealer meeting. It was designed from the ground up, with the aim of establishing a new standard when it comes to both power and torque. The Can-Am Defender was designed to cater to a variety of outdoor activities, using the new Rotax 50-hp HD8 or 72-hp HD10 engines.



What is a UTV? What does UTV stand for?

As we mentioned above, the Can-Am Defender is an example of a UTV, which stands for utility terrain vehicle. This side-by-side vehicle is a recreational off-highway vehicle, which can usually seat between one and six people depending on the brand and model. UTVs are smaller than your typical car, but still offer four-wheel drive and good power. The unique vehicles can be used for work or recreational purposes, which is why models, such as the Can-Am Defender, are still so popular to this day.



Can-Am Defender Awards

The Can-Am Defender Pro recently won the 2020 Utility UTV of the Year in the awards. This contest was a very crowded category with stiff competition, but it was exciting to see the Defender Pro come out on top. It just goes to show how well recognized this vehicle is now within the industry, and we expect these awards will continue in the future as the new editions of the vehicle are released.



Common Problems or Complaints from Can-Am Defender Drivers

Any off-road vehicle on the market today is going to receive some complaints from drivers, and the Can-Am Defender is no exception to this general rule. Many of the reported issues with this vehicle are due to poor maintenance, which is something you need to keep in mind as an owner.


An overheating engine is one of the biggest issues with the Can-Am defender, which can lead to issues with the head gasket. Many drivers also report a grinding noise when they are trying to shift gears. This issue is usually due to worn-out pawls within the transfer case, which you’ll want to get resolved as soon as possible to avoid further issues. Some drivers have reported failures with the factory default front and rear differentials. Halo Performance can help you prevent this problem by selling you differentials that are much stronger than the standard Can-Am Defender differentials.


While the Can-Am Defender is a great off-road vehicle, it can sometimes struggle to take tight corners. This limitation is a result of a lack of power or issues with the racks and pinion. Finally, poor fuel economy is another common concern, especially if you are trying to use the Defender for longer outings / journeys. With good maintenance, you can avoid some of these issues, which will often get far worse when left unattended.



Surprising Can-Am Defender Facts

The Defender is powered by a Rotax engine, which needs no break-in maintenance. In 2020, Rotax celebrated their 100th anniversary, showcasing just how dominant they are in the industry. There have been a variety of Defender vehicles on offer over the years.


The 2016 model was originally intended for use by farmers and hunters, but over the years it has been appreciated for a variety of sports. At the time of the launch of the Can-Am Defender the company also went into a partnership with sports brand Kappa. Can-Am became a sponsor of the company’s racing team in the NASCAR 2016 Sprint Cup, spreading the word of the new Defender to a wider audience.



Can-Am Defender Driver Reviews

Reviews of the Can-Am Defender are typically very positive. It was designed to withstand tough conditions and performance levels, with good functionality and versatility. Each of the Can-Am Defender vehicles is built with a heavy-duty Rotax engine which is tuned up to deal with quite demanding conditions. Drivers appreciate the option of the 72-hp Rotax HD10 or 50-hp Rotax HD8, which both offer smooth engagement and a good belt life.


Another thing that really stands out for customers about the Can-Am Defender is the fact that the system requires no break-in maintenance. Instead, you can immediately get to work with your new Defender. Drivers also appreciate the cargo box, which is versatile and can carry up to 1,000 pounds in weight. It’s easy to dump once you are finished with your work, and you can add various accessories as needed to make your day out easier.



Can-Am Defender Pricing

The Can-Am Defender starts at about $11,699 in 2022, with the Defender DPS starting at $13,199 and the Defender XT starting at $17,599. Of course, if you opt to buy an older, used model, you’ll be likely to save a fair amount on your next Defender. Expect starting prices for these to be around $8,000 or less, depending on the condition and year of the vehicle. Keep in mind that the Can-Am Defender does need to be taken good care of, so ensure there are none of the common issues we’ve shared above when testing a used vehicle.


The Can-Am Defender is the perfect example of a side-by-side vehicle which can be used for a variety of applications. You’ll find that it’s a very versatile UTV, which added to the company’s excellent range of models already on the market. While there are a few concerns from drivers about the Can-Am Defender, you’ll find that it is generally well respected for its power and handling. We highly encourage you to consider the Can-Am Defender when you are next in the market for this type of vehicle, as you’ll find that it’s one of the strongest options out there.



Can-Am Defender Upgrades

Are you a current Defender driver looking to upgrade your vehicle? One of the best upgrades you can make to strengthen your UTV is to replace the front differentials in your Can-Am Defender. Halo Performance sells differentials that solve the default problem of weakness in the standard Can-Am factory units. For more information on Can-Am Defender differentials (sometimes called lockers), please visit:



About Halo Lockers

Based in Odessa, Florida, Halo Lockers is the UTV division of OX Off-Road. OX has been making selectable lockers and off-road related components for over 20 years. Exceptional quality and product strength define our UTV products.  Our products are NOT made in China. We only use the best materials, manufacturing, and metallurgical processes in the United States. When you call Halo Performance to discuss upgrading your Can-Am Defender you are going to talk with an expert. We look forward to hearing from you. Please call 727-230-7803 with any product questions or for assistance with the ordering process.