6 wheels are better than… anything!
By Mark Boncher
Go big, then go bigger!
Back in high school, I thought my grandfather’s Gator was the best utility vehicle ever imagined. We cut and hauled enough cords of wood to make Paul Bunyan jealous. Scroll forward many decades and a new 6×6 rules the roost when it comes to pulling, towing, gripping, and power. That would be the new Can-Am Defender six wheeled Limited… this thing is a beast! You will not find another machine that can do what this can when it comes to comfort and utility.
There are plenty of amenities on this “Limited” machine, but we’ll start with the basics that make this side-by-side the ultimate ranch hand. Power comes from a Rotax HD10 V-twin, liquid cooled engine pumping out 82 ponies and 69-ft.lbs. of trailer pulling torque and 3,000 pounds of towing capacity. Hook up that pontoon boat from the back of the barn to the 2-inch ball/receiver, and take it straight up a mountain if you want! But you will do it with ease and smoothly with an intelligent throttle control, fuel injection, CVT transmission with QRS secondary, and additional airflow to keep that belt on the CVT nice and cool. You’ll have confidence in the power of this machine, whether in low; high; reverse; 4-wheel drive, or 6-wheel drive.
At over 2,300 pounds dry, this one isn’t something you’re going to be ‘sending’, but that’s not what this burly brute is made for. With a Visco-Lok automatic locking front differential, it is meant to get all the wheels working for you easily when you need it. Plus, you’ll have electronic hill descent control, (yes, just like your $100k fancy new truck) but also 3 different driving modes including ECO, (most fuel efficient) ECO off, (little less efficient) and Work (meant for the toughest situations and least fuel efficient). If that wasn’t enough, you will be able to turn the wheel with one finger, due to the fact this has Dynamic Power Steering as well.
If you do get in a little trouble, or need to pull an entire oak tree around, which many of us think we do or will have to at some point, you can do that with the 4,500-pound winch on the front XT Bumper. And when you need to stop abruptly for that moose on the trail, there’s 220mm hydraulic disc brakes with twin piston calipers that will quickly do the job. The power gets put to the dirt via 14-inch cast aluminum wheel with Maxxis Bighorn 27 x 9 x 14-inch front tires and 27 x 11 x 14 rear shoes.
The cargo box on this mo-chine holds up to 1,000 lbs., and the bed has power tilt on it, so you won’t need as much icy-hot after a day of work… and the work will go faster! The tailgate holds up to 250 lbs. too, so your kids won’t break it when they run and jump out of the back-end (true story). The box is a full 72 inches long and 54.5 inches wide, so there’s a lot of space here, and with 13 inches of clearance, you won’t get hung up on those sneaky stumps and sniper rocks.
Speaking of obstacles, the arched double A-arm suspension up front comes with twin tube gas shocks and a sway arm to keep things on the level. The rear suspension is an arched TTA with similar gas shocks and it has an external sway bar. It is honestly not the ‘total off-road Baja race-edition’ shock package, but it more than gets the job done. There’s a full skid plate too, in case you do mow over something unexpected.
There’s a lot of them, and there better be for the mid-30-40k price tag (US/CA). The only real downfall is the blah blue color scheme, but it works with the blacked-out rims. With a full roll cage, windshield, full doors/windows, and a 3-person bench, this is meant as an all-weather rider. The seats flip up and the driver has an adjustable seat too. No more excuses to put work off due to the weather when you have this Defender in the toolbox.
All weather means hot or cold as well, so there’s an auto heating and air conditioning climate control system too! The front windshield tilts and has wipers on it, and there’s a big panoramic rear-view mirror. Put your side windows up and down with the touch of a button as they are electric. Vision at night is great as well with LED lighting all around.
You can watch all this side-by-side’s vitals from the nice 7.6-inch digital gauge, and use the keypad to check speed; odometer; trip and hour meter; fuel; gear; driving modes; 4×4 and 6×6; differential lock; engine temperatures; voltage, and probably stream the newest episode of Yellowstone. The hard roof with liner is perfect for use in all four seasons too, and it also has a dome light, but getting those liners clean isn’t always fun. But you can easily get in and out with a tilting steering wheel. Quite literally, the interior is twice as nice as my first Ford truck!
Thankfully, BRP outfits this cowboy Cadillac with a 1-year warranty, with a 30-month extended warranty available… for a price of course.
If you are not aware of this system from BRP, versions of it are used across many of their vehicles. From dirt to snow to water. It is a throttle by wire system instead of a cable system. Sensors and servos do the job here, and up until recently, there was a MUCH different feel than a cable system. Just one of the things BRP does to differentiate themselves on the technology front.