Can-Am Launches Defender Line of Utility Side-By-Sides

The new Can-Am Defender utility side-by-side.

The new Can-Am Defender utility side-by-side.

The Can-Am Defender with camo paint and cab options.

The Can-Am Defender with Camo paint and cab options.

Can-Am recently launched their Defender line of utility side-by-sides. The lineup includes four models:  Defender, Defender DPS, Defender XT and Defender XT Cab.  MSRPs range from $10,999 to $23,699. This represents Can-Ams first foray into the more pure work end of the side-by-side spectrum. Key features of the models include:

  • Two EFI engine options:  The 72 hp 976 cc Rotax HD10 V-Twin engine with 61 lb-ft of torque for work or recreational use and the work focused 799.9 cc Rotax HD8 V-Twin with 50 hp and 50 lb-ft. of torque
  • High rigidity steel chassis
  • PRO-TORQ Transmission with Quick Response System (QRS), high airflow ventilation and Electronic Drive Belt Protection
  • 4-mode traction system – Users, via a 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. This is optional on the Defender HD8
  • Electronic Hill Descent Control
  • Torsional Trailing A-arms rear suspension with 10″ of travel and dual A-arm front suspension with 10″ of travel
  • 11″ of ground clearance
  • 1,000 lb. capacity cargo box and 2,000 lb. towing capacity
  • 25″ Maxxis tires and 12″ steel wheels
  • Front steel bumper and central skid plate
  • Versa Pro 40/20/40 bench seating for three
  • Removable, water-resistant tool box
  • Adjustable tilt steering
  • Cargo box with indentations to fit five-gallon buckets and a tailgate with cup holders.

The Defender DPS ($12,799 MSRP) adds the following features:

  • Dynamic Power Steering
  • Mossy Oak Break-up Country Camo and Yellow color options
  • Cast aluminum wheels

The Defender XT ($15,599 MSRP) features:

  • 27″ Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires on 14″ black cast aluminum wheels
  • Dynamic Power Steering
  • Mossy Oak Break-up Country Camo, Intense Red and Pure Magnesium Metallic color options
  • Multifunction analog/digital gauges
  • 4,500-lb winch with roller fairlead
  • Steel front bumper
  • Full skid plate
  • Full hard roof

The Defender XT Cab ($23,699 MSRP) features:

  • 72 HP Rotax HD10 engine as the only option
  • Dynamic Power Steering
  • 27″ Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires on 14″ black cast aluminum wheels
  • Mossy Oak Break-up Country Camo, Intense Red and Pure Magnesium Metallic color options
  • 9″ of ground clearance
  • Multifunction analog/digital gauges
  • 4,500-lb winch with roller fairlead
  • Steel front bumper
  • Full skid plate
  • Full hard roof with line
  • Full black doors with electric opening windows
  • 3-position full glass tilt up windshield with wiper/washer kitRear glass with sliding opening

A crew version of the Defender will likely be introduced in the next 6 to 12 months.

Learn more:

Comment:  The competition in the side-by-side market continues to heat up. Many of the larger players have now launched models into market segments they did not previously compete in directly. This will likely create downward pricing pressure for manufacturers through either more competitive MSRPs and/or more promotional dollars. However, product innovation and more marketing dollars and awareness should be an impetus for growing the overall market. Consumers should win with an improved and wider selection of product offerings.

What’s Cooking on the STOV: Disaster Relief Operations

Polaris Commercial highlights potential cost-savings for non-pneumatic tires.

Polaris donated a similar set of non-pneumatic tires along with several vehicles to The Salvation Army for disaster relief operations.

Highlighting some of the many applications for Small, Task-Oriented Vehicles

Polaris recently donated four utility vehicles to The Salvation Army for use in disaster relief operations. The four vehicles include the military-oriented Ranger HIPPO, Brutus vehicles and a Polaris M1400. A set of TerrainArmor non-pneumatic tires(NPT) is also part of the donation. The Brutus vehicles are equipped with varying attachments including a bucket, grapple and pallet fork, and one vehicle has the NPT tires. The Ranger HIPPO has an integrated power system that is driven by the vehicle’s diesel engine. This allows the vehicle to travel to sites with no available power sources and run a variety of hydraulic, pneumatic, electric, and welding equipment, eliminating the need for generators and other bulky equipment usually needed for these jobs.The Polaris® M1400 unit is a 2×4 gas-powered, commercial utility vehicle, capable of hauling 1,400 pounds and towing 1,500 pounds.  Learn more:

Comment:  The versatility, off-road capabilities and ruggedness of utility vehicles can really shine during disaster relief operations. In particular, the models that have multiple attachments that can be switched quickly can be useful in disaster situations where you don’t know what type of obstacles you will face or the specific tasks that will need to be completed. A remote and mobile power source is also very valuable in natural disasters where the power infrastructure has been damaged.

Kubota RTV-X900 Review

The Kubota RTV-X900

The Kubota RTV-X900

Horticulture Week based in the UK recently performed a ride and review of the Kubota RTV-X900 utility vehicle. The X900 appears to be very similar to the RTV-900XT sold in the US. The following are some of the key points from the review:

  • Improved ground clearance of 10.4″ and 8″ of suspension travel
  • Independent suspension front and rear provides a smooth ride over bumps and through turns
  • More legroom than previous Kubota model
  • Improved instrument panel that is easier to read
  • Handles rough terrain well
  • Engine braking performs well
  • Switching between Hi and Lo gear settings can be a tricky

In general the review was positive and the vehicle is seen as an improvement over the previous version of the model. Learn more:

Lithium Boost Technologies Announces New Smart Lithium-Ion Battery Chargers

The new smart charger from Lithium Boost Technologies

The new smart charger from Lithium Boost Technologies

Lithium Boost Technologies Inc., the leading provider of innovative Lithium-ion battery systems to power low speed electric vehicles (LSEV) has introduced enhanced and redesigned chargers to assure high performance and reliability.

Lithium Boost has developed the smart chargers in conjunction with innovative Battery Management System (BMS), based on its proprietary technology, in order to optimize the performance of lithium-ion cells targeted for use in low speed electric vehicles. The smart charging system consists of individual chargers, one for each lithium cell to assure balanced charging and completed-charge monitoring per cell. The BMS monitors the cell voltages through communication with the chargers and disables vehicle operations when any cell voltage remains too low for an extended period of time. When switched on, the BMS has an output wire that can provide up to 5Amps of power at the pack voltage for accessories, such as a DC to DC converter used for 12 volt lighting.

Lithium Boost smart chargers are now available in two sizes: 10Amps and 20Amps. Each individual charger delivers full current during most of the charge cycle, and tapers off to a trickle charge near the end of charge. The charger module accepts AC power in the range of 100-240 Volts, 50-60Hz. The 10Amp chargers set con¬sumes approximately 6.5Amps at 115Volts, and 3.2Amps at 230Volts, and the 20Amp set consumes 13Amps at 115Volts and 6.5Amps at 230Volts.

Learn more:

Comment:  While lithium-ion batteries are still pricey compared to lead-acid batteries, they are slowly making in-roads into the STOV market. One example is the new lithium powered 2016 Ranger EV from Polaris. However, the price differential is still substantial and the price for lithium batteries needs to decrease substantially before they are more widely used in the STOV market. An additional obstacle is that the weight differential between lead-acid and lithium battery packs of similar power output is substantial. Therefore, the packs cannot be simply swapped out but the vehicles need to be re-engineered to accommodate the change in weight distribution and vehicle performance.

Tampa Considers LSV “Taxis” For Downtown

A 6-seat LSV like the GEM pictured would be used in Tampa's pilot program.

A 6-seat LSV like the GEM pictured would be used in Tampa’s pilot program.

The Tampa Downtown Partnership is considering a pilot program to use LSVs for short trips in the downtown area. The rides would be free and designed to plug a hole in the public transportation system, namely the lack of transit options downtown and moving people between their homes and the nearest public transportation. The program would start with four six-seat electric LSVs that could be called via a smartphone app or a dispatcher. A recently awarded Federal grant will likely provide the funding for the project. The plan is not expected to generate much opposition from local taxi drivers because the rides are so short and not desirable from a taxi driver’s point of view. The pilot program is part of an overall effort to improve Tampa’s transportation options including recently adding a rental bike fleet and pushing to expand the streetcar system. The Partnership is a non-profit agency that contracts with Tampa to attract and retain businesses in the city’s downtown and Channelside areas. Learn more:

Comment:  LSV fleets for downtown transportation is becoming a growing market, whether it is provided by for-profit companies or non-profit groups trying to improve the local business environment. Some sell ad space on the vehicles to offset costs or turn a profit. However, there can be resistance from local taxi driver associations depending on the scope of the services provided, and in some cities there may not be any regulations in place for this type of service.

Jacobsen Launches Professional Series Utility Vehicles

Jacobsen’s gas-powered Truckster MS/MX utility vehicle

Jacobsen’s gas-powered Truckster MS/MX utility vehicle

Jacobsen’s electric powered Truckster MS-E/MX-E utility vehicle

Jacobsen’s electric powered Truckster MS-E/MX-E utility vehicle

Jacobsen’s gas-powered Truckster LS/LX utility vehicle

Jacobsen’s gas-powered Truckster LS/LX utility vehicle

Jacobsen, a Textron Inc. company, has launched its Professional Series commercial-grade line of utility vehicles. There are six utility vehicles in the product line including the gas powered Truckster MS and Truckster MX, the electric powered Truckster MS-E and Truckster MX-E and the Truckster LS and Truckster LX. Key features include:

  • Truckster MS – 1,200 lb. capacity and 17 mph top speed
  • Truckster MX – Optional link suspension for rough terrain
  • Truckster E-MS/E-MX – 72-volt electric drivetrain and 1,000 lb. capacity
  • Truckster LS/LX – 800 lb. capacity and polyethylene bed

The vehicles will be at at next month’s GIE+EXPO, held Oct. 21-23 in Louisville, Ky.

Learn more:

Comment:  Textron also owns the Cushman brand of vehicles and these vehicles look similar to the Cushman Hauler 1000, Hauler 800 and the electric powered Hauler Pro with the exception of the colors, tires for rougher terrain and possibly more ground clearance.

New Yamaha YXZ1000R Targets Pure Sport Side-by-Side Market

The new Yamaha YXZ1000 targets the "pure sport" side-by-side segment, with an eye toward dune riding.

The new Yamaha YXZ1000R targets the “pure sport” side-by-side segment, with an eye toward dune riding.

A shot of the YXZ1000's cockpit.

A shot of the YXZ1000R’s cockpit.

The hybrid analog-digital instrument panel.

The hybrid analog-digital instrument panel.

A side view of the new Yamaha YXZ1000.

A side view of the new Yamaha YXZ1000R.

Yamaha has announced they will now be competing in the pure sport side-by-side segment with the introduction of the all-new YXZ1000R side-by-side. The YXZ1000R features a high-performance, 3-cylinder 998cc engine and 5-speed sequential shift manual transmission. The 12-valve, DOHC, liquid cooled engine has a 11.3:1 compression ration and 10,500 RPM redline. The powertrain also has high-mounted, high volume air inlets, dual air filters and stainless steel exhaust system. The 5-speed transmission is manually operated via a clutch pedal and short-stroke shift lever. The new clutch design incorporates a foot-operated hydraulic clutch system.

Other key features include:

  • Yamaha’s On-Command 2WD/4WD/4WD with full differential lock
  • Electric Power Steering
  • Hydraulic disc brakes with 245mm rotors and twin piston calipers
  • FOX 2.5 Podium Shocks with 16″ of travel in the front and 17″ in the rear feature adjustable hi- and low-speed compression, adjustable rebound, and adjustable preload settings.
  • Color-matched A-Arms
  • Aggressive styling and design
  • Four LED headlight system and LED taillight
  • 300 lb. capacity cargo box
  • Sun top and full doors
  • Adjustable driver’s seat and tilt steering
  • Passenger hand-holds
  • Hybrid digital-analog instrument panel
  • Center console and 12V power outlets
  • 27″ Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires
  • 14″ cast aluminum wheels
  • 12.9″ of ground clearance
  • 64″ wide with a 90.6″ wheelbase
  • MSRP $19,799

Learn more:

Comment:  This is a natural progression for Yamaha as they first introduced the utility/recreation Viking and then the more recreational/trail leaning Wolverine product line and now the high-performance YXZ. The lucrative sport segment of the market keeps getting more and more competitive. With the stronger US dollar, Yamaha, for at least the time being, may have a pricing advantage. We could also see some more aggressive promotions in this market segment as the competition heats up. I would anticipate some special edition models based on the YXZ1000R to be introduced in the not to distant future as well as additional models to build out the product line. It will be interesting to see if Honda decides to target this end of the market as well as they have been expanding their UTV roster as well or if Kawasaki offers some higher performance Teryx side-by-sides.

SVR Adds Model Year 2016 Polaris, Arctic Cat and Can-Am UTVs To Database has added the recently announced 2016 utility vehicle models for Polaris, Arctic Cat, and Can-Am to our vehicle database. Here is an overview of the key 2016 additions for each manufacturer.

The new 2016 Polaris RZR XP Turbo EPS

The new 2016 Polaris RZR XP Turbo EPS


  • New turbocharged RZR XP Turbo EPS
  • New RZR S 1000 EPS
  • Ergonomic improvements for much of the RZR product line
  • New Ranger 570 Full-Size
  • New mud riding model, the Ranger XP 900 EPS High Lifter Edition Stealth Black
  • New lithium battery powered EV Li-Ion Polaris Pursuit Camo
  • New Ranger 570 EPS Hunter Edition Polaris Pursuit Camo
  • Increased horsepower for the Ranger Crew 900-5, Ranger Crew 900-6, Ranger XP 570 and Ranger Crew 570-6
  • Styling and drivetrain enhancements for other select 2016 Ranger models
  • New Polaris ACE 900 SP
The new 2016 Wildcat X Special Edition Model from Arctic Cat.

The new 2016 Wildcat X Special Edition Model from Arctic Cat.

Arctic Cat

  • Wildcat Sport models: 5% increase in engine power from a new exhaust system
  • New Wildcat X Special Edition
  • New Wildcat Trail Special Edition
  • Wildcat X and 4X get new Duro PowerGrip tires and new pricing
  • New Prowler HDX 700 SE Hunter Special Edition
  • New Prowler HDX 500 XT
The2016 Maverick X rs 1000R Turbo in Carbon Black - Can-Am Red

The2016 Maverick X rs 1000R Turbo in Carbon Black – Can-Am Red


  • Increased turbo engine horsepower to 131 hp for the Maverick Turbo, Maverick X ds Turbo and Maverick X rs Turbo
  • New Can-Am Commander Mossy Oak Hunting Edition
  • Mossy Oak Break-Up Country Camo also available on the Commander XT and Commander MAX XT
  • New belt monitoring system and improved maintenance schedule for Commander Max models