Can-Am introduced the Defender utility UTV line five years ago, and the line grew into 17 models of HD5, HD8 and HD10 3- and 6-seat UTVs by 2018. For 2020, there are 26 Defender models to choose from, and we got to check out three 2020 Can-Am Defender HD10 models at the press introduction at west Texas’ Y O Ranch: the all-new Defender LTD, Defender HD10 Pro and HD10 6×6. The new 3-seat Defender HD10s benefit from five years of upgrades and refinements, and we tested the Pro in January, the 6×6 in May and saved the Limited for summer. Saddle up!


Defender HD10 and HD8 models got 2,500-pound towing and a one-year limited warranty for 2019. 2020 Can-Am Defender HD10 models got several more upgrades, and new head work boosted power from 72 horsepower to 82 horsepower. It offers 69 pound-feet of torque and reduced vibration. Additionally, HD10s got improved CVT tuning with a lower low, a third drive mode and a new muffler combined with a thicker rear firewall to reduce engine noise in the cabin. The cab is also new, with 15-percent more space for better seat/steering/pedal ergonomics. LTD doors got auto-quality sealing, and the Dual-Phase steel chassis is revised for more rigidity and pickup-truck fabrication tolerances. The new chassis is 30-percent stronger yet 5 pounds lighter for heavy loads. This new chassis also has a full HMWPE skid plate for more protection and less noise.

The HD10 LTD means business with a 4,500-pound winch, XT front bumper, hard cabin enclosure and tilt-out glass windshield complete with electric wiper and washer. It also sports arched lower A-arms and quad LED headlights with a combined 140 watts of power.

Additionally, the LTD has a new HVAC unit and heater with auto climate control. It determines whether air conditioning or heating is needed without two switches. The new variable-speed compressor has almost double the power at idle and a new under-hood paper filter for protection and a clean-air cabin. One knob controls both heat and air, and vents are adjustable. The air conditioning operates at lower rpm for greater fuel and HVAC efficiency, and the new heater produces 50 percent more hot air. Eight relocated air vents (four dash, two windshield, two floor) and improved cabin sealing improve extreme-weather cabin comfort. The doors have electronic power windows as well.

A stout tailgate will hold 250 pounds when lowered, and HD10s will tow 2,500 pounds via the 2-inch receiver. High-pressure gas shocks and arched TTA arms deliver 10 inches of well-tuned travel and 12 inches of ground clearance.


The Defender HD10 Limited is $25,399. 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.  The HD10 6×6 DPS is $17,999, while the Pro is $17,899 to $20,099. 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.


It’s sporty! We got 62 mph in high and 27 mph in low range, and it gets there in a hurry. The Limited is 104 pounds heavier than the Pro, but is still fast and fun when all the work is done.

No, that is not a supercharger. It’s the new variable-speed compressor that operates at 80-percent-lower rpm and is more efficient.


It’s automotive-grade. The EFI throttle map and Intelligent Throttle Control (iTC) deliver super-smooth engagement, and the LTD has three-mode mapping for Normal, Work and Eco engine response. Eco mode was re-tuned for 2020 for less power and torque for smoother acceleration, and iTC helps eliminate pedal flutter in rough terrain. New CVT calibration lowers shifts by 500 rpm and also lowers cabin noise under hard acceleration. A new work-specific low range delivers optimal torque for heavy loads, and electronic hill descent control lets the LTD crawl down steep hills at a walking pace. The HD10 also has a Pro-Torq transmission with Quick-Response System, high-flow ventilation and electronic belt protection that tells the driver to go to low. Downstream to the diffs, the Visco-Lok QE front and Turf-mode rear differentials further tune traction with four modes via separate dash toggles. Free up both diffs for delicate turf operation or tight switchbacks, or lock the rear diff for improved 2WD traction. Engage 4WD and unlock the rear diff in rugged, hilly terrain for better turning, or fully lock up all four for extreme conditions. It’s truly limousine-like delivery.

New heads feed the V-twin’s 91mm pistons, and the 976cc 8-valve motor now makes 82 horsepower—10 more than last year. The engine also gets new CVT settings, an EFI ECU with three drive modes—Eco, Work and Normal—and it has a quieter muffler and thicker firewall.


It’s well-tuned and progressive. The shocks do a great job of delivering a plush ride over trail chop yet firm up later in the stroke to resist bottoming. Very aggressive driving will bottom the HPG shocks, but we’re impressed with the overall settings. Travel is 10 inches, front and rear.


Much like the Maverick Sport X xc tested last month, except for body roll. The HD10 has a shorter wheelbase at 83 inches, so it turns sharply and predictably. With 500 more pounds of highly placed girth, body roll is more on the LTD, even with front and rear sway bars and less travel. The LTD also has very nice EPS-assist mapping, so steering effort is very light in tight stuff. It assists less at higher speeds for more stability. The LTD delivers predictable handling for work or play.

Can-Am’s 2020 Defender HD10 Limited with air conditioning and heat goes beyond the comfort of the original LTD with an all-new climate-control system and new or revised frame, cabin, engine, CVT and EFI ECU. It’s automotive grade in many ways and gets to extreme places in total comfort.


It’s great! Between the new compressor and improved cabin, the Limited stays cool in sweltering heat, and it automatically chooses between introducing fresh air or recirculation to control climate and humidity. It’s automotive grade and greatly appreciated.


Very strong! Four 220mm rotors are squeezed by twin-piston front and one-piston rear hydraulic calipers, and they have separate master cylinders. The strong brakes are backed by an engine-braking system, electronic hill descent control and also a lower low.

The HVAC draws air from a pleated-paper filter under the hood. The battery, fuse box and electronics ride high under the hood, and Defenders have separate front and rear brake systems like Maverick X3s.


They’re superb! HD10 Limiteds sport an 850-watt magneto, 10-amp 12-volt DC port plus two USB ports, and a 7.6-inch-wide digital display with speedo, odo, trip, hour, fuel, gear, seat belt, diagnostics, clock, battery, engine temp and Eco/Work/Normal mode icons. HD10s also have very comfortable Versa-Pro seating for three and fold-up passenger seats for even more storage. The center seat-back folds down for cup holders/arm rest with two people aboard. The driver’s seat adjusts, and the dash has a contoured, gripper grab bar. There are two dash cup holders, a cool removable tool box with the folding handle locking into the dash, lower cubby holes, and a dash-mounted range selector in a gated slot. The molded steering wheel is very comfortable and tilts to the perfect angle.

The glass windshield has a wiper and washer, plus it tilts to three positions if you want wind in your face. Two top dash vents cut down on fogging in cold, wet weather, and the power side windows are also nice and quiet with the driver being able to raise or lower both. Door grab handles are comfortable, and the top has a dome light. The LTD cabin is a tight package, but we did detect some rattles over extremely rocky terrain.

Two-tone seats have massive storage under them, and the center seat-back folds down for more comfort. Full LTD doors have good insulation, power windows, a grab handle for closing and hanging on, and a lower pocket for gloves or whatever. The outside latches have keyed locks, too.


While the all-new 2020 Defender HD10 Pro and 6×6 are impressive in their own ways, the all-new HD10 Limited sets a new standard in UTV comfort with its efficient high-volume air conditioning, new heater, larger cabin, and revised engine, CVT and frame. The new 82-horsepower engine tune and three power modes let you play hard and work harder in total comfort. It handles well and has excellent shock tuning, delivering the total package for off-road luxury and performance.




Engine type Liquid-cooled, 8-valve, SOHC

4-stroke V-twin

Displacement 976cc

Bore x stroke 91mmx75mm (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

Air filter:

  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.

Wheelbase 83.0”

Overall length/width/height 126”/67”/79”

Ground clearance 12.0”

Claimed dry weight 1,928 lb.

Bed capacity 600 lb.

Towing capacity 2,500 lb.


Frame 2-inch, high-strength steel, ROPS-approved

Suspension/wheel travel:

  Front Dual A-arms & shocks w/ adj. prel./10.0”

  Rear TTA trailing-arms & shocks w/ adj. prel./10.0”


  Front Twin-piston hydraulic, 220 mm discs

  Rear One-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, 2 10A USBs


Front Four 35W (140W) headlights

Rear Two LED tail/brake lights

Instrumentation Digital speedo/odo/tach/trip/

hour/fuel/gear position/diagnostics/clock

Colors Hyper Silver, Mossy Oak Break-Up Camo

Minimum recommended operator age 16

Suggested retail price $25,399

Contact .Bombardier, (877)4-MY-RIDE or


See UTV Action’s test of the Defender HD10 6×6 here: https://utvactionmag.com/2020-can-am-defender-hd10-6×6/

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