Can Am Defender HD8 Review

Can-Am-Defender HD8

Whenever Can Am releases a sports UTV, people get all over it. The reason is the combination of the latest features and supports in appreciable pricing that no other company can offer.

A few years old Can Am Defender series has now come with updated 2021 HD8 versions that are being praised in all UTV users’ communities. They are even considered the best sport UTVs till now. That is why we’re here with a solid Can Am Defender HD8 review to give you a clear idea about this latest version. 

Sometimes, even the popular options can turn out to be worthless in a few cases. For such a possibility, we had challenged an HD8 ‘s capability last. And the result of it was mostly positive. But there were some drawbacks too that might stop a person from buying one. Thus, let’s dig into the detailed analysis to let you have a precise decision.

Can Am defender HD8 Review

 The defender HD8 is one of those offroad side by side vehicles that can be controlled and customized quite easily. The manufacturer, Can-Am has upgraded several parts like seat, exhaust, and tires to increase the utility at maximum level.

The in-depth review of 2021’s Defender HD8 below describes why the model still outnumbers other latest arrivals when it comes to productivity. The part-by-part analysis explains everything that encourages buyers to purchase this series.


The engine we have found in HD8s are workhorses that perform consistently in rough conditions. It is quite smooth and sustainable on tracks like mountains, riversides, and dry swamps.

This Rotex engine features 800cc in constant. The 50 horsepower engine seems a bit weaker than other brands that can feature even 100 horsepower in new conditions.


But when we think of the whole construction and features required, the engine might seem just fine. As the liquid cooling system keeps the engine health in a good condition, you can have the pace easily.

The 50 pounds per feet torque range can commit top-notch acceleration. But you can hear the engine make just a little bit of noise that can be ignored. So, overall, we think the engine is okay for clearing off road tracks.


You can find 27 inches Maxxis tires installed on the wheels of Defenders. The tires are mostly to prevent skidding and grabbing even the softest soils.

These large tires make at least a 10 inches gap between the main vehicle body and ground. It lets you push the vehicles across uneven hard places without hurting the lower body and engine.

General Materials:

It is quite normal that Can-Am has used solid metals to construct the structure of HD8 machines. Though the metals might not be fully stain proof, they are expected to last more than a decade.

There are also coatings of paints and other elements that give this vehicle a good and catchy finish. We also think that these coatings help the vehicle to prevent rust, stains, and scratches.

The only exception we have found is the bonnet. At least 1.5 inches thick and smooth plastic bonnet is present. The manufacturer has installed a plastic bonnet so that drivers can easily open it when required to fix the vehicle.


For us, the best part of this vehicle is the suspensions. The suspension system pleased us a lot while the UTV was going past through rocky tracks.

There are two different types of suspensions installed. The front one is double-armed so that the driving area stays still and the driver can focus only on driving. Back suspensions are also quite impressive. The combo of these two types responds quickly and doesn’t make any sound.

Despite that, we think these suspensions need some special maintenance. It is normal to find suspensions stay revealed and get dirty instantly after driving. But it seems that these ones can decrease their elasticity if not maintained after every offroad journey.

Driving Modes:

There is an automatic button right beside the steering wheel that lets you shift between 4WD and 2WD. The button can activate any mode instantly on command.

Automatic shifting can help a mid-level driver to cross difficult places without having an accident. The mode shifter is completely the same as other UTVs’ shifters. So, there is nothing new about it.

Loading Area:

A Defender HD8 can take a load that weighs one-third of its own weight. The loading area has four barricades of the same height. You can only pull down the bottom barricade for loading or unloading.

At the front of the loading area, there is a marked place where a person can put hands and easily pull up the loading surface. The springs installed under the loading surface do hold on the position. Otherwise, it could’ve caused trouble as the engine is right under the loading surface. Thus, it can be judged as a smart mechanism by the creators.

Acceleration And Top-speed:

The manufacturer says that a Defender sport UTV can have nearly 60-75 miles/hour top speed without any issues. But such a speed range is quite risky in our thoughts.

Judging the quality of the engine, body structure, tires, and wheel, the maximum speed should always be under 60. Going over 55 can also be a bit of a tough call for experienced drivers in the case of HD8s.

There is also a catch that experts say the average speed on the smoothest off road tracks is 30-40 miles-hour. That is why 55 miles/hour is not that bad. Actually, it was quite appreciable for our team.


The HD8 Defender has three foldable seats. We have found that these seats can fold both upward and downward. Looks like the function is to create extra room for carrying stuff inside.

All three seats are reinforced and cushioned with comfortable foams. The rexine covers have strong stitching. They are also waterproof but they are pretty sensitive to sharp objects.

Fuel Tank:

Surprisingly, the fuel tank is pretty larger than it should be. You can never see such a tank in compact off road four-wheelers.

We had filled the HD8’s fuel tank completely and gave it a try. As a result, our Defender ran for almost thirty hours without any refill. After that, we agree that the fuel tank size is more than enough.


HD8 UTVs have hydraulic brakes to give drivers full control over the speed. The back brake has one-piston construction to slowly decrease the speed. The front brake has two-piston construction to quickly make the speed fall.

The brake discs and cushions are up to the mark. The materials can last for years without any doubt.

Advantages and disadvantages of Defender HD8:


  • Every HD8 has a solid steel frame with a proper protective coating that ensures longevity.
  • The engine liquid cooling system eliminates overheating and smoking issues.
  • A plastic bonnet might seem a disadvantage but it actually helps to get access inside the vehicle functions.
  • The right angle of seats lets the driver hold the steering wheel for hours without any back pain.
  • Dual driving options allow the machine to cross any type of surface.
  • The large fuel tank can store enough fuel for even a cross-state journey.


  • The manufacturer hasn’t integrated any solid side doors (exp. DPS CAB) for easy accessibility. It might cause some lack of protection for riders.
  • The engine is less powerful than other Can-Am models recently released.
  • An individual can’t put too much load frequently on the HD8 Defender as the loading capacity is set depending on the engine power, which is quite the average.

What Makes HD8 Defender the Best?

Every feature of a Can Am Defender HD8 is undeniably vital. But there are some specific reasons why this series of UTV has caught our attention. We have analyzed the performance from every angle and pointed out several major facilities that a user can’t turn down.

Safe Driving on Uneven Surfaces:

Safe driving doesn’t mean the engine is slow like a tortoise. In HD8’s case, it automatically functions in some circumstances that help you to control the speed and movement.

The steering wheel becomes flexible enough when you are driving at 20-40 miles/hour. At this moment, you can speed up or rotate the vehicle with ease.

But the steering becomes a bit stiffer when the speed is 45 miles/ hour or above. The main reason behind the mechanism is to avoid skidding and crashing. When the beast is passing a slippery or lower surface it can go to its full speed and the driver doesn’t have to worry about the control at all.

Fuel Efficient:

Well, this fact might seem funny to some people as there are some more fuel-efficient UTVs out there. But depending on the structure, it is quite acceptable.

At new conditions, any HD8 engine offers more than 20 MPG. But it stays around 20 when the engine gets a year or two older.

On the other side, there are some other brands’ UTVs similar to the Defender series that only feature around 16.5 MPG on average. So, the mileage is worthy of being praised considering the engine power, functions, etc.

Silent Driving:

Many off road users compromise the silent driving feature to find other facilities or save money. But this Defender’s liquid cooling engines can offer drivers noise-free driving.

The common reasons why UTVs cause irritating noise is a very hot engine or bad fuel utilization. We have found the V-twin technology Defender models have been using are keeping engines utilize fuels properly even after 100 miles of consecutive driving.

The pre-installed cooling system does its job quite well during the hottest summer days too. It stops the engine from heating up so that the engine can keep up the normal functioning.

As the engine stays quiet till the very end of your journey, you can feel less exhausted after finishing a long trip. More importantly, this feature can keep your movement unnotified to other beings in the woods.

Roomy Interior:

There can be no question about the space a Defender can feature you. Undoubtedly. It is the roomiest sport UTV type anyone can find.

Besides the steering wheel, there is a large removable box in every defender model. And beneath that, there is another compartment for keeping larger tools and essentials.

We have already told you about the folding seats. As there are no integrated side doors, a user can also fold seats and place something larger inside the vehicle.

We have tested many things like large bundles of hey, heavy boxes, etc. to put them on the floor of the vehicle when only the driver is inside. It seems carrying some stuff inside along with the loading area doesn’t disturb the driver at all.

Clear Shooting Sight:

Although, this might not be one of the catchiest features an individual can find. But still, we are amazed at how the manufacturer has tried to help hunters.

The front glass of a Defender can be opened by pushing upwards. You can push the glass to get a clear sight of your prey in front. You can also shoot something with any type of gun without revealing yourself outside the car.

Another reason why you can open the front is to get some fresh air. It can sometimes feel suffocating or hot while staying for too long in a UTV. In such cases, drivers can create some gap between bonnet and glass to get fresh air.

Who Needs Can Am Defender HD8?

UTV beasts are made considering some special types of users. To fulfill their demand and please them without giving any trouble, every UTV series is integrated with special features, reliable constructions, and comfortable driving interfaces.

During our research, we have three major communities who highly appreciate the Defender HD8 series for overall facts. Thus, we have also tested some HD8s to know if they were worthy or not. And, the result is mostly affirmative.


While gathering opinions on this series, the fascinating fact we’ve found is that the greatest number of recommenders are campers or travelers. In many ways, it proves how vital HD8 cars can be on off road trips.

This series of side-by-side vehicles has most of the primary features to help travelers move across tough places safely. We have already told you about those features such as sustainable engines, responsive brakes, simple functioning, and many more.

But apart from those, there is another feature we find to be useful for campers and travelers. The towing capacity of HD8s is quite awesome. You can at least pull 1500 pounds of stuff with the vehicle during the journey.

Though the company says Defenders can tow more than 2000 lbs, we are not quite sure about it. So, the towing range is 1500-1800 pounds for us.


The trend of using UTVs for farming tasks is becoming quite common these days. But using any off road utility vehicle might not be a good decision.

With a high-profile torque mechanism, an HD8 can utilize the fuel pretty well. Along with being silent while moving, the engine confirms that the vehicle cannot release heavy carbons or toxic smokes. For this reason, we find this model safe to use around crop fields and dairy farms.

Besides, the loading area on the back is capable enough to carry goods without dropping any even while passing an uneven surface because of wide side-rails. The credit for this feature also goes to the A-shaped suspensions installed with the wheels front.


In previous sections, it is already mentioned that this series comes with solid and thick Maxxis tires. These tires are specially made to bite any type of ground even with a heavy load.

When you are on a hunting trip, you might have to go through small river paths, mountains, wet soils, etc. And your vehicle’s mobility needs to be at the peak every time. With the combination of spiky Maxxis tires and a V-twin engine, any Defender HD8 can help hunters chase down prey and shift to different locations within moments.

HD8 versus HD10: Things you need to know

HD10 is another version of the Defender series that we are talking about. The key difference between HD8 and HD10 models is the engine stats.

Though both models might have the engines of the same company, their performances vary a lot. For example, you can have more than 150cc extra engine capacity when you prefer HD10 over HD8.

But there are some debates still going on in this matter. It is pretty unclear which model is worth being called the best. Despite being extra powerful, HD8 always turns out to be the best fitting most budget ranges.

The defender series vehicles are for helping you to survive and travel offroad conditions. Rarely, you can see people are racing using defenders or other side-by-side utility vehicles. So, what’s the point in having too much speed or power?

In the jungle or hill, 50-60 miles/hour is way more than enough. An HD8 engine can easily produce such a speed range consistently. Also, the HD8 torque is a bit less than HD10. This also proves HD8 can be fuel-efficient in some ways.

More than 65 horsepower and 900cc engine can keep a driver in advantage, but it is of no use when it is not required on the driving route. Thus, we think there is no need to spend a thousand or two for HD10 when you have the option HD8 that offers almost everything.

Some Popular UTV’s of 2021 Can Am Defender HD8 Series:

There are seven official HD8 models in the market. Some of them are also variants of other HD5 or HD10 models. Almost everything about these models is the same except the color, design, and accessories.

For this reason, we are putting a comparison chart that allows you to compare those models with each other and know which one works well for you.

ModelSeatsEngineColorsTiresOther Exceptional FeaturesPrice
Defender Basic3HD8: 800cc/50HP/50lbsT V-twin Rotex Liquid CooledGrey27-inch Maxxis 2.0Strong Bumper, Skid PlateMore than $10000
Defender XT3HD8: 800cc/50HP/50lbsT V-twin Rotex Liquid CooledBlue, Black, Green, Camouflage27-inch Maxxis 2.0Strong Bumper, Skid PlateMore than $16000
Defender DPS3HD8: 800cc/50HP/50lbsT V-twin Rotex Liquid CooledBlack, Blue, Grey, Camouflage27-inch Maxxis 2.0Strong Bumper, Skid Plate, Metal RoofMore than $12000
Defender DPS CAB3HD8: 800cc/50HP/50lbsT V-twin Rotex Liquid CooledGrey27-inch Maxxis 2.0Steel side doors, interior LightingMore than $21000
Defender Max3HD8: 800cc/50HP/50lbsT V-twin Rotex Liquid CooledGrey27-inch Maxxis 2.0Strong Bumper, Skid PlateMore than $14000
Defender Max DPS3HD8: 800cc/50HP/50lbsT V-twin Rotex Liquid CooledBlack, Blue, Grey, Camouflage27-inch Maxxis 2.0Strong Bumper, Skid PlateMore than $15000
Defender Max XT3HD8: 800cc/50HP/50lbsT V-twin Rotex Liquid CooledBlue, Black, Green, Camouflage27-inch Maxxis 2.0Strong Bumper, Skid Plate, Metal RoofMore than $18000
Can Am Defender HD8 Series

About the Company:

Can-Am is a Canadian company that is globally known for its powerful ATV and UTV vehicles? In the 1970’s BRP, the founder of Can-Am was planning to make an industry only for the automobile.

With that concept in mind, BRP launched the first motorbike model under the name of Can-Am in the late 1980s. But their biggest hit was when they started making ATVs at a low cost at the very end of the 20th century.

After spending a successful decade from 2001 to 2010, they realized that consumers are moving towards UTV’s. So, Can Am’s biggest project was launched in 2013 when they first released a UTV model named Maverick. The Maverick series was the strongest one back in those days.

Following those successes, the company is manufacturing several latest models and updates of offroad vehicles in more than 100 states without any flaws. Can Am has more than 4000 dealers across the world to give services to their clients. Thus, we consider this as one of the reliable automobile companies of this generation.

Basic Comparison Chart (Year to Year): Can-Am Defender HD8

Model Name/year             Availability    Price                         WarrantyTires  Loading             Capacity (Official/may differ from actual range)
  2017 Can Am Defender HD8     Yes Around $11000      6  Maxxis 25 inch  More than 1300 lbs
  2018 Can Am Defender HD8     Yes   Around $11000       6  Maxxis 26 inch  More than 1400 lbs
  2019 Can Am Defender HD8     Yes    Around $11500    12  Maxxis 27 inch  More than 1400 lbs
   2020 Can Am Defender HD8    Yes   Around $11800     12   Maxxis 27 inch  More than 1500 lbs
  2021 Can Am Defender HD8     Yes    Around $12500      12  Maxxis 27 inch  More than 1500 lbs
Comparison Chart – Can-Am Defender HD8

Final Verdict

The Defender HD8 might seem the same as other series like Commander or Maverick. But it has the potential to cross its limits and produce the performance you expect.

Unlike other companies, Can-Am doesn’t manufacture this model with bumpers and doors. You need to install them separately if you want. Still, it doesn’t stop us from praising this series. If you ask us, we are fully satisfied with HD8 and how it responded and scored in our tests.

So, we suggest not but a Defender HD8 following the trend. Though we are sure about its capability, go through the Can Am Defender HD8 reviews and know whether you should need this or not, and decide which of HD8 suits you most. We majorly prefer Defender XT and Defender DPS but the choice is up to you.


I'm Jason and in my blog, I nearly talk about everything about UTVs. Working as a Mechanic love to test out UTVs and all their accessories. Love enjoying my work and my blog.

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