By Jon Crowley
Can-Am has focused a lot of attention on their Defender lineup for 2020 with two new models (Defender 6×6 and Defender PRO) and also a new Defender Limited with HVAC. The Defender 6×6 was introduced back in June 2019 and it is all about getting work done.
The 6ft x 4.5ft cargo bed is enormous! The bed’s convertible flatbed setup gives owners the ability to change the configuration to match the load. And it is simple to remove the sides and tailgate.
Combining the exceptional power and torque with the Multi-traction mode (4×6 and 6×6) means unbeatable traction and floatability for maneuvering across rugged terrain even with a load. The Defender 6×6 can haul a big load and get to where a truck can’t get to.
Test Site: Y.O. Ranch Headquarters
We had the chance to test the all-new Defender 6×6 at Y.O. Ranch Headquarters in the heart of Texas Hill Country. With over 10,000 acres of land, we had plenty of opportunity to take try the Defender 6×6 on a variety of terrain.
What surprised me the most was how nimble the vehicle felt for how big it actually is. The length of the Defender is 153.4 inches with a wheelbase of 115.5 in. Add to that the extra set of tires in the rear, and it should really drive like a tank, but it doesn’t.
Driving without anything but driver and passenger, the ride isn’t as smooth as I’d like, but this is a work vehicle made to haul quite a load. The cargo bed is rated at 1,000 lbs. every but California which limits that to 600 lbs. Can-Am ensured us that it is designed to carry more than that, but advertised specifications have to meet government limits.
We did load the Defender 6×6 down with 1,000 lbs of concrete and also an Outlander 4×4 ATV. I can tell you that the ride was much smoother with the load in the back and we also did not experience any bottom-outs in the suspension. That being said, it is extremely tough to have a suspension that works really well with that big of a spread. I am a big fan of air bags on my truck just for this reason. Would be awesome to see some sort of variable, in-cab load leveling for the Defender 6×6. That would certainly push it into another level!
The entire Defender lineup was upgraded for 2020 model year and that includes the Defender 6×6. With a complete frame-up and front-end refresh provide improved ride, durability, and protection. With a new lower sound exhaust system, new CVT calibration, new Dual Phase Steel Frame that is lighter and stronger and new front and rear firewalls that are thicker and sealed better to reduce noise, heat and dust the 2020 Defender lineup is better than ever.
I hate to sound like a marketing press release, but this pretty much sums up my feelings on the Defender 6×6: “Its quiet, comfortable, clever and dependable like the rest of the family, but nothing can touch its versatile functionality, or the adaptable surefootedness offered from its Double Torsional Trailing arm Independent (TTA) rear suspension and extra set of rear wheels.”
If you’re looking for a utility vehicle that can haul larger loads in a variety of terrain, the Defender 6×6 is definitely worth serious consideration.
Defender 6×6 Likes:
- Does not feel like it is as big as it actually is.
- Flatbed capability is super useful.
- Huge bed – twice the size of the standard Defender.
- Great towing capacity at 3,000 lbs.
- Arched suspension and 27-inch tires give good ground clearance.
Defender 6×6 Dislikes/Suggestions:
- Air Bags – I’d like to see some sort of variable load capacity built into the suspension. Unloaded, the ride is a bit harsh, and loaded down, it sags more than I’d like. Very difficult to handle this broad of spectrum with one set of springs. Some sort of air bag or air shock setup would give the Defender 6×6 ultimate flexibility for various loads.
- Door nets – I am just not a fan of nets for a work environment. If something is required for safety reasons, offer half doors as a factory option at a reasonable price.
- Dump Bed – With such a large bed, I’d like to see an option for a hydraulic assist dump bed.
- HVAC – Currently available on the Defender Limited only, I’d like to see a Defender 6×6 Limited with HVAC.