We all know the Can-Am Defender is capable of work, but when that chore list is finished, or maybe when you put it on hold, the working machine from Can-Am stands ready for great adventure. One recent drive took us deep into complete wilderness, and with the 2019 Can-Am Defender XT HD10 as our ride we set out to find challenging trails to test the beast.
Some say the Black Hills around South Dakota's Hill City are the most remote and magical for off-road riding in the great state. We would agree, only adding that exploring them in the rig that has one of the most powerful Rotax V-twin engines (72 hp) with nothing standing in your way but wind, it’s even better! Horsepower is nothing without torque however, and Can-Am states that the Defender HD10 will tow a whopping 2,500 pounds. This gives any hard-working land owner or jobsite, plenty to pull from. When you step down on the gas it sure feels that it’s ready for any challenge with smooth, linear power delivery. Carrying two riders with both the bed as well as the new Can-Am Adventure Roof Rack full of gear at 6,500 feet of elevation there might have been some speculation of possible power loss, but we couldn’t tell. Our Defender also had Can-Am’s latest technology in the iTC, or intelligent throttle control. You can switch between Eco, Normal, and Working modes to tailor the rig to your specific driving style or specific job duties. We found that the Normal setting worked best as it gives the most responsive and direct power under your foot. It did stay in that setting most all day.
Can-Am is well-known to have the muscle to move you forward but also the comfort to keep you wanting more miles under the wheel. The Dynamic Power Steering adds an entire new world to comfort and absorbs some of the shock from trailside debris that didn’t catch your eye. It is just helpful enough to be almost invisible but while negotiating certain slow, rough terrain you are so glad it is there. Sitting in the Versa-Pro bench seating is comfortable and for a larger driver like myself the cab still felt great, even after the first 50 miles or rough trail. It is also nice to be able to get from one side of the cab to the other with little to no floor intrusion. I would have to say that I would trade the nets for half doors quickly, just personal preference, but they did seem to allow more wind to pass through the cab while keeping trail debris out. As for storage, the removable storage bins are legit. The one on the dash that can be removed and carried to the job or even out to the creek to as a tackle box is my favorite. On a trip that would carry us just under 70 miles in one day, these spacious little boxes earned my approval.
Some of our trails had been blocked the day before by falling trees, but with the large XT front bumper as well as the 4,500-pound winch we were not bothered by this. These two accessories alone give you and the Defender much more confidence. We did not have to use the winch once a few trees had been rolled around with the use of the bumper. Simply putting the Defender in low and crawling over the downed trees was very easy. The Visco-Lok QE auto-locking front differential allowed our Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires to grip the earth and get us through those sections of trail. Can-Am’s Pro-Torq transmission combined with the QRS, or Quick Response system, in the CVT does give the driver confidence to power over these types of obstacles. This XT version of the defender also had full HMW skid plates on the belly of the beast that helped us glide through the debris.
I would have to say that for a machine that is built to work the Defender sure makes a fun ride out on the trail. It is powerful, comfortable and feels solid. Overall it was a great day in the mountains of South Dakota driving the 2019 Can-Am Defender XT HD10 and I think I am also really digging that Hyper Silver color.