Can-Am has twenty-six 2020 Defender models to choose from, and we got to check out three all-new HD10 Defenders at the press introduction at West Texas’ YO Ranch—the all-new Defender Pro, Defender HD10 Limited and the HD10 6×6. All three 3-seat Defender HD10s included five years of upgrades and refinements, and we tested th e Pro in the January issue. The Can-Am Defender HD10 6×6 is as capable and impressive as the Pro, as it shares the long convertible bed and has even more traction.
WHAT IS NEW FOR 2020?
For 2020 Defender HD10 models got several upgrades, and new head work boosted power from 72 horsepower to 82 horsepower, along with 69 foot pounds of torque and reduced vibration. Additionally, the HD10s got improved CVT tuning, a new drive mode and a new muffler combined with a new rear firewall to reduce engine noise in the cabin. The 2020 HD10 6×6 is also all new and designed for 30-inch mud tires, but comes with 27-inch Bighorn 2.0s stock. Both the new 6×6 and Pro have a Visco-Lok QE front diff for extra traction when needed. Essentially, the new 6×6 combines the HD10 front end (with the engine behind the cab) with a frame extension and the long bed of the Pro tested in January. It tows 2,500 pounds and stows another 1,000 pounds in the convertible bed.
HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
The 2020 Defender HD10 6×6 is $17,999. The Defender HD10 Pro DPS is $17,899, and the HD10 Pro XT is $20,099. Three-seat Defenders start at $10,299 for the HD5 and jump to $18,999 for the HD10 XT-P. The Mossy Oak Edition HD10 is $19,699, while the HD10 X MR is $19,999, and the HD10 Limited with HVAC is $25,199. The Defender Max DPS starts at $14,999 with the HD8 engine, while the HD10 Max Lone Star is $20,599 and the Max X MR is $21,499. The HD10 Max Limited is $27,899. No other manufacturer has a 6×6 for 2020.
HOW FAST IS THE HD10 6X6?
It’s sporty! The 82-horsepower V-twin has a massive 69 foot pounds of torque and good acceleration. We got 61 mph in High and 25 mph in Low out of the 6×6 in Normal drive mode. The 6×6 weighs 111 pounds more than the Pro and 388 pounds more than an HD10 XT-P, so brute acceleration is a bit less, but it’s faster than most pure utility machines and quick enough to be fun when the work is done.
HOW IS THE HD10 DELIVERY?
Super smooth. The iTC EFI map and CVT calibration are tuned for smooth low-speed work, and Low range is very low. The Pro-Torque transmission has quick response, electronic belt protection and high air-flow ventilation. The CVT was re-tuned for 2020 for 500-rpm-lower shifting. The selector for 4×6 or 6×6 engages either smoothly, and the front diff has Visco-Lok QE with automatic locking. Add Electronic Hill Descent Control and a three-mode drive map (Eco/Normal/Work), and the HD10 6×6 has a very tunable and user-friendly demeanor in any situation.
HOW IS THE DEFENDER 6X6 SUSPENSION?
Well-tuned for work and play. Twin-tube gas shocks are only preload adjustable, but they and the arched A-arms deliver 11 inches of travel—front, middle and rear. It’s sprung and damped for a smooth ride with a loaded cab and bed, so solo ride quality is on the harsh side in rough terrain.
HOW DOES IT HANDLE?
Surprisingly well. It’s not quite as agile as the Pro tested in January. They share the same wheelbase, but the four rear 27×11-14 Bighorn 2.0s have so much traction, it’s harder to drift into faster turns. The upside is that they also have great traction for climbing hills, so you seldom have to engage the front diff.
HOW IS IT IN CHALLENGING TERRAIN?
It’s sure-footed and planted. We did an entire loop in hilly terrain in 4×6 mode, and it never hinted at wanting 6×6. We then did the same loop in 6×6, and we noticed slightly harder turning with some front-end push. Stay in 4×6 mode until extra traction is needed for extreme hills and obstacles. EBS and Hill Descent Control are awesome, especially in Low range.
HOW STRONG ARE THE BRAKES?
Really strong! Six 27-inch Bighorn 2.0 tires are slowed by two-piston hydraulic calipers squeezing 220mm perforated rotors, and they’re backed up by an Engine Braking System and Electronic Hill-Descent Control. There is also a cool mechanical parking brake with release under the tilting steering wheel.
HOW ARE THE DETAILS?
They’re superb! HD10s sport a 650-watt magneto, a 10-amp 12-volt DC port, plus two USB ports. The 6x6s sport a 4.5-inch-wide digital display with speedo, odo, trip, hour, fuel, gear, seat belt, diagnostics, clock, battery, engine temp and Eco/Work mode icons. Four 35-watt headlights extend work or play well past dark, and taillights are LED.
HD10s also have Versa-Pro seating for three and fold-up passenger seats. The center seat back folds down for cup holders/arm rest with two people aboard. There are two dash cup holders, a cool glove/removable tool box with the folding handle locking into the dash, lower cubby holes, and a dash-mounted range selector in a gated slot. A nice tilt steering wheel is assisted by three-mode EPS. The cabin is protected by an HMWPE central skid plate.
HD10 6x6s are workhorses with a 4.5 x 6.0-foot dumping bed with removable sides and Torx anchor bolts to prevent rattling, slots for wood-slat sides, and pilot holes for LinQ accessories such as a tool-box holder, gun racks, etc. The 1000-pound bed also has a tailgate with a 250-pound rating and two stout, spring-loaded steel latches.
WHAT IS OUR FINAL ANSWER?
We are as impressed with the performance of the Defender HD10 6×6 as we are with the HD10 Pro. It’s a mechanical Clydesdale with serious traction, horsepower and torque, and it’s built to be maintenance-free for a year and easy to maintain after the first year. Cabin comfort is superb for up to three adults, and there is plenty of storage for tools, hardware or gear. It does everything well and has brakes and EBS/EHDC to decelerate as hard as it accelerates.
2020 CAN-AM DEFENDER HD10 6X6 DPS
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 8-valve, SOHC 4-stroke
Bore x stroke 91mm x 75mm (2)
Compression ratio 12:1
Lubrication system Wet sump
Induction iTC 54mm throttle body, 2 VDO injectors
Starting/back-up Electric turn-key/none
Starting procedure In any range, brake engaged
Type Paper mesh/screen
Transmission Dual-range CVT w/EBS
Drive system Selectable 2WD/4WD
Final drive f/r Shaft/shaft
Fuel capacity 10.6 gal.
Overall length/width/height 153.4”/64”/78”
Ground clearance 13.0”
Claimed dry weight 1,944.5 lb.
Rear rack capacity 1,000 lb.
Towing capacity 2,500 lb.
Frame 2-inch, high-strength steel, ROPS-approved
Front Dual A-arms & shocks w/adj. prel./11.0”
Rear TTA trailing-arms & shocks w/adj. prel./11.0”
Front Twin-piston hydraulic 220mm discs
Rear Twin-piston hydraulic 220mm discs
Front 27×9-14 Maxxis Bighorn 2.0
Rear 27×11-14 Maxxis Bighorn 2.0
DC outlet Auto-style waterproof plug, USBs
Front Four 35W (144W) headlights
Rear Two LED tail/brake lights
Instrumentation Digital speedo/odo/tach/trip/hour/fuel/
Colors White, Mossy Oak Break-Up Camo
Minimum recommended operator age 16
Suggested retail price DPS $17,999
Contact .Bombardier, (877)4-MY-RIDE or www.brp.com
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See UTV Action’s full test on the Defender Pro here: https://utvactionmag.com/2020-can-am-defender-pro-hd10/
See the full Defender lineup here: https://can-am.brp.com/off-road/us/en/models.html?ds_rl=1278056&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI47ahpuvy6QIVcz2tBh0hVg9JEAAYASAAEgI1lvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds