2016 Can-Am Defender Preview

Lucas Cooney
by Lucas Cooney
New Utility-focused UTVs available with two engine packages

The only noticeable hole in BRP’s Can-Am off-road lineup coming into model year 2016 was Utility-specific UTVs. BRP filled that hole with the announcement of the new Can-Am Defender.

“The Defender side-by-side vehicle brings tough features, capable performance with control and clever adaptability to consumers looking to reach remote locations to work, farm or hunt,” BRP says in a release.

Rotax HD10 Engine

Rotax HD10 Engine

The Defender family features two, new rear-mounted, Rotax V-Twin engine options – the 72-horsepower HD10 and 50-horsepower HD8. BRP boasts that the HD10 delivers up to 20% more torque at 4,000 rpm (61 lb-ft) than “the top selling competitor.” While that vehicle was not revealed, it is likely BRP is taking aim at the Polaris Ranger XP 900. BRP says the HD8 produces 50 lb-ft torque.


A new PRO-TORQ Transmission, according to BRP, was designed specifically for the Defender.

“This new generation of transmission features a Quick Response System (QRS) that enhances low-speed riding, delivers smoother and more responsive power delivery and offer precise engagement,” says BRP.

It features larger CVT ratios with a work-specific low gear. At low speeds, BRP says optimized ventilation improves belt durability and ensures more efficient power transfer. The Electronic Drive Belt Protection monitors the CVT belt to determine its condition and alerting the driver when necessary.

2016 Can-Am Defender Family

“This device offers belt-spotting protection for if a driver is in high gear, but should be in low gear,” says BRP.

The vehicle is designed to not move and a “LOW GEAR” message will appear on the gauge, alerting the driver.

The Defender side-by-side vehicles come standard with Park, Reverse, Neutral, High and extra Low. It also comes standard with integrated hill descent control and a helical gear transmission.


BRP says that the Defender requires no break-in maintenance and has a yearly maintenance schedule, which helps reduce total maintenance costs. The yearly advised maintenance is 1,865 miles (3,000 km) or 200 hours. BRP backs up the new Defender with a promotional three-year limited warranty.

2016 Can-Am Defender Frame

The Defender is built around an all-new, laser-cut tongue-and-groove chassis. BRP says the chassis has automotive-like technology and fabrication tolerances that are in line with modern pick-up trucks. As well, BRP boasts that the High-Strength, Low-Alloy (HSLA) grade steel means a more rigid design.

2016 Can-Am Defender Traction

Also new on the Defender is a 4-mode traction system designed to provide choices for varying terrain or tasks. Users, via a separate front-and-rear toggle switches, can select between a 2×4 open rear differential, a 2×4 lockable rear, a 4×4 open rear, and a 4×4 locked rear for maximum traction.

While standard on HD10 models, the lockable rear differential is part of the Convenience Package on HD8 versions.

2016 Can-Am Defender Profile

Cushioning the Defender’s ride is a double A-arm front suspension system, providing 10 inches of travel. The Torsional Trailing A-arms (TTA) rear suspension, which was designed specifically for a utility and recreational usage, also provides 10 inches of travel.

“The Defender vehicle’s TTA-HD wears more bushings than some competitive units and are also larger and greaseable on both the chassis and knuckle, resulting in a more durable setup,” says BRP. “In addition, the TTA-HD features a wear plate between the suspension and the chassis, preventing direct friction between those two.”

The front and rear suspension combine to give the Defender 11 inches of ground clearance.

Cargo Box and Storage
2016 Can-Am Defender Overhead

A work-oriented UTV is nothing without a good cargo box and the Defender boasts a cargo box carrying capacity of 1,000 pounds, along with dump assist levers. It also features a versatile configuration that can create a customizable dual-level setup or completely separate compartments.

Cargo box features include five-gallon pail recesses, integrated anchors on the sidewalls and several tie-down points. Consumers can divide up the box using the integrated recesses. The box allows for both 1×3 (inch) and plywood separators and accepts bed extenders for refining the bed’s overall dimensions.

The reinforced tailgate is designed to serve as a seat during a break in the work day with a maximum load capacity of 250 pounds. It can also be removed in seconds without tools.

Further storage is available in the open dash design, which features a water-resistant and quick attach 1.7 gal toolbox. The Defender also includes 6.0 gal of under-dash storage with an enclosed pocket. Both under-dash storage and waterproof and quick attach toolbox are part of the Convenience Package on HD8.

2016 Can-Am Defender Cockpit

Climb into the Defender’s cockpit and you’ll find room for three adults on the VERSA-PRO bench seat. The passenger seats, complete with integrated hooks on their underside, also can be flipped up to improve onboard storage. As well, BRP notes that a foldable central console and armrest with two cup holders allows more space in the cab.

BRP says the steering wheel has a larger diameter for improved handling and control. It offers automotive-style tilt with up to 25 degrees of adjustability.

The LCD gauge, which is located in front of the driver, displays speedometer, tachometer, odometer, trip and hour meters, fuel, gear position, seat belt and 4×4 indicator, diagnostics, clock, and auto shut off.

The standard Defender comes only in green. Prices have yet to be announced.

Defender DPS Package
2016 Can-Am Defender DPS

Upgrade to the Defender DPS to receive Dynamic Power Steering, Visco-Lok QE front differential, and 12-inch cast-aluminum wheels. The Defender DPS is available in Green, Yellow, and Mossy Oak Break-Up Country Camo.

Defender XT Package
2016 Can-Am Defender XT

The Defender XT package adds a 4,500-pound winch, 27-inch Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires, 14-inch cast aluminum wheels, full hard roof, enhanced bench seat with reinforced seat skin and adjustable driver’s seat, 16.2 gal of storage, full skid plate, three driving modes (Eco, Work, Normal), and multi-function analog/digital gauge cluster with enclosed storage. The Defender XT is available in Painted Intense Red, Painted Pure Magnesium Metallic, and Mossy Oak Break-Up Country Camo.

Defender XT with Cab Enclosure Package
2016 Can-Am Defender XT Cab

Only available in HD10 models, the Defender XT with Cab Enclosure package adds a full hard roof with liner, three-position full glass tilt up windshield with wiper washer kit, full doors with electric opening windows, rear glass with sliding opening, and integrated heater kit with 10 adjustable vents. The Defender XT with Cab Enclosure is available in Painted Intense Red, Painted Pure Magnesium Metallic, and Mossy Oak Break-Up Country Camo.

Lucas Cooney
Lucas Cooney

I have been working exclusively in digital media since 1997. I started out with TSN.ca, spending nearly nine years creating and editing content on Canada's leading sports website. I left to join VerticalScope, Inc., one of the world's largest online publishers, to start a number of powersports publications. While at VerticalScope, I've helped create and oversee content for a wide variety of different publications, including ATV.com, Off-Road.com, ArcheryTalk.com, Tractor.com, RVGuide.com, and many more.

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