Can a side-by-side really do a job that a truck usually does? I take a new Can-am Defender 6×6 and put it through a series of very hard tests at David’s “Happy Yak Ranch”! Can this Defender make for a great ranch/farm vehicle? The tests include hauling very heavy loads off-road (giant logs and hay bales), towing a trailer, and clearing an off-road trail. I also brought a new Toyota Tacoma for reference.
This is video and story are sponsored by Can-Am.
The new Defender 6×6 is built with work in mind. It has the traction and off-road capability of 6-wheel-drive. It has a six-foot bed that is rated to carry around 1,500 lbs. It has a two-inch hitch receiver and a relatively powerful twin-cylinder engine with 82 horsepower. Oh yea, this 6×6 is also equipped with a 4,500 lbs WARN winch in the front.
First up, we load a 1,500 lbs round hay bale. This basically maxes out the Defender’s payload, and also give the machine a relatively tall center of gravity. No matter! When I put the transmission into L-low gear setting, the 6×6 has plenty of torque and power to get this heavy load moving. I was able to traverse the pasture and deliver the hay to where it needs to go.
Next, we load an 800-lbs log into the back of the Toyota Tacoma and ran the entire Yakadega 500 off-road course. The course includes several rocky areas and two creek crossings. The Tacoma complete the heavy task, but it did struggle for traction at times in the mud and snowy areas. We load the same log in the back of the Can-am Defender. I want to make it more challenging, so we also drag a large log behind the 6×6 while hauling the log on the same off-road course. The Defender surprised by getting the job done with confidence and without letting a single wheel slip. I even took it up a very steep section of the creek side, and it did not care.
Next task is towing a trailer. David needs to setup a corral for Yaks in order to sort them. We hitch a 3,000 lbs trailer to the back of the Defender, once again – maxing it out. It’s a 2,000 lbs stock trailer with about 1,000 lbs of corral panels. The Defender laughs at this task. We are able to reach about 20-25 mph on a dirt road with the trailer in tow without breaking a sweat.
Finally, we climb the mountain to find the Yaks and to also clear several fallen trees that are blocking the trail to the top. This is when the Defender’s winch comes in handy. The power of the winch and the traction of the 6WD allow me to drag a very large fallen tree off the mountain side. Now the tree can be safely cut up and carried away as fire wood.
The new Defender 6×6 starts at $18,699 and can be optioned up with windshield, doors, roof, heater, mirrors, lights, and more to around $24,000 for the XT model.
Join the fun in the video below.