Six-Passenger Can-Am Defender MAX Unveiled

Lucas Cooney
by Lucas Cooney
Utility Side-by-Side offered in two versions for 2017

Recent history tells us that when a manufacturer introduces a new Side-by-Side, it is followed fairly closely by a version with a second row of seating. BRP has kept that trend going with the introducing of a six-passenger version of its new Utility UTV – the 2017 Can-Am Defender MAX.

We liked the Can-Am Defender so much we named it our favorite Utility UTV of the year for 2015. It is an innovative machine with some very interesting storage solutions, including a removable water-resistant tool box in place of a traditional glove box. Needless to say, we were excited to hear the Defender line was expanding with the addition of the Defender MAX.

What Makes the Defender MAX Different?

The Defender MAX shares much in common with original Defender, but before we get into the similarities, we should look at what makes these machines different.

What sets the Defender MAX apart is its second row of available seating, which increases the UTV’s capacity from three to six passengers. To make room for that second row, the vehicle’s length was increased by 32.5 inches to 12′ 8.5″.

2017 Can-Am Defender MAX Top View

This overhead view shows some of the different configurations available in the Can-Am Defender MAX.

That added length also comes with a weight penalty of nearly 300 pounds. However, payload capacity increases from 1,500 pounds to 1,750 pounds, even if you aren’t carrying more people you can carry more cargo.

Another difference is tire size. The Defender MAX is outfitted with larger tires – 26 x 9-12 front/26 x 11-12 rear compared to 25 x 8-12 front/25 x 10-2 rear on the three-seat Defender. Even with the taller tires, ground clearance is a full inch lower on the Defender MAX at 10 inches.

2017 Can-Am Defender MAX XT Profile

Ground clearance on the Defender MAX XT is one inch less than what is found on the single-row Defender.

The Defender MAX also benefits from slightly more storage (an extra 0.7 gallons), six cup holders, four 220mm disc brakes with hydraulic twin-piston calipers, Five folding front and rear passenger seats, front and rear central armrests, and a rear lateral grab bar.

The Same Defender We Know and Love

Beyond changes listed above, the Defender MAX is largely the same machine as the three-seat Defender. That includes the two power options – the 50-horseper HD8 or the 72-horsepower HD10. Each engine is designed to deliver peak torque low in the RPM range and is mated to BRP’s Pro-Torque transmission.

Helping to put the power to the ground is a four-mode traction system, which gives drivers options for different situations. “Users, via separate front-and-rear toggle switches, can select between a 2×4 open rear differential for tight turning and turf protection, a 2×4 lockable rear for improved 2WD traction, a 4×4 open rear for more maneuverability in rugged terrain and a 4×4 locked rear for maximum traction,” BRP says in a release. “The rear differential is gear-on-gear to the transmission for better response, no maintenance, better efficiency and fewer components.”

2017 Can-Am Defender MAX Seats

Both engine options are rated to tow up to 2,000 pounds and the Defender MAX can hold up to 1,000 pounds in its rear cargo bed with dump option. BRP also beefed up the tailgate so it can hold up to 250 pounds – enough for most of us to use it to sit down and have some lunch.

Further storage space can be found by folding up any or all of the five passenger seats, which really opens up the possibilities of what you can carry in this UTV.

BRP outfitted the Can-Am Defender MAX with front double A-arm suspension and rear Torsional Trailing A-arm suspension, each offering up 10 inches of travel.

2017 Can-Am Defender MAX Camo

Other features of the new Defender MAX include standard Dynamic Power Steering, two-inch receiver hitch, 10.6 gallons of fuel capacity, six-month warranty (extended warranty available as an option) and no break-in requirements. Maintenance costs should also be lower thanks to yearly maintenance intervals of 1,865 miles or 200 hours.

Can-Am Defender MAX Packages

Along with the two engine options, BRP is offering the Can-Am Defender MAX in two trim levels – DPS and XT.

DPS is the base level package and comes with everything we mentioned above. Color options include Green, Yellow and Mossy Oak Break-Up Country Camo.

2017 Can-Am Defender MAX Family

For buyers who want to go upscale, the Can-Am Defender MAX XT has all the same features as the DPS, along with 4,500-pound winch, 27-inch Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires, 14-inch cast aluminum wheels, full hard roof, enhanced seats with reinforced seat skin, adjustable driver’s seat, removable waterproof under seat storage, full skid plate and three driving modes (Eco/Work/Normal). Color options include 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, 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,,,,, and many more.

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