Utility Vehicles Review: Which Can Am or Polaris UTV Should You Buy?

The all-new 2016 Can Am Defender is a formidable competitor for the Polaris General and Polaris Ranger utility vehicles. But, which UTV should you buy?

Utility Side by Side Review: 2016 Can Am Defender vs. Polaris Ranger and Polaris Defender

The Polaris Ranger and Can Am Defender HD10 are true utility vehicles designed for farmers, ranchers, hunters and anyone who needs a UTV to “get the job done.” The Polaris General is designed primarily for recreation, but has added features (such as a large cargo box and a lower gear for increased towing power) to make it a UTV.

Here’s a look at the different capabilities of the three utility vehicles:


Both the Polaris Ranger XP 900 and the Polaris General 1000 EPS feature a 4-stroke inline twin cylinder DOHC (dual overhead camshaft) engine — an engine that Polaris uses for ATVs and side by sides. The Can Am Defender HD10, on the other hand, features a 76 hp 976cc Rotax V-Twin H.O. engine. The V-Twin H.O. engine makes more power with less vibration.

All three engines have Electronic Fuel Injection, but the Defender also offers Intelligent Throttle Control (iTC™), which automatically opens the throttle valve to the optimal angle for the amount of acceleration needed.

The General is a powerful Rec Utility vehicle that generates 100 hp with its 999cc ProStar inline twin, compared to the 68 horsepower of the Ranger’s 875cc engine. While Defender’s HD10 engine has less horsepower than the General, its 76 hp Rotax engine has been engineered specifically to give it 61 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm.

Hauling and Storage:

For hauling capacity, the Polaris General is approved to carry 600 lbs in the box and to tow up to 1,500 lbs. Both the Polaris Ranger and the Defender have the capacity to haul 1,000 lbs in the cargo box, and have a towing capacity of up to 2,000 lbs.

The Can Am Defender has the largest storage capacity of the three utility vehicles. Its cargo box measures 38 x 54.5 x 12 inches while the Ranger’s cargo box is 36.5 x 54 x 11.5 inches. As a more recreation-focused vehicle, the General’s cargo box is significantly smaller at 27.5 x 43.1 x 11.6 inches.

Both the Can Am Defender and Polaris Ranger cargo boxes include pre-formed recesses for dividers. The Can Am Defender also has four recesses to support five-gallon pails.

With the option to raise the passenger seats, the Defender offers additional storage space not found in the other two UTVs. Can Am has also increased the utility of the Defender’s glove compartment by making it a removable, waterproof toolbox.

Riding Experience:

Designed to balance work and play, the General keeps riders secure with two wide bucket seats. The more utilitarian Ranger and Defender come with bench seating for three passengers. On the Defender, the passenger seat can be folded up to provide additional storage space or a place for a hunting dog to sit.

All three utility vehicles come with a Dual A-Arm front suspension. The General also has a Stabilizer Bar to increase stability on turns. The Polaris General and Ranger both feature a standard independent rear suspension while the Defender features a heavy-duty Torsional Trailing Arm (TTA-HD) independent rear suspension with a sway bar to provide a smooth ride over rough terrain.

The Polaris General and Ranger have 12 inches of ground clearance, two inches more than the Can Am Defender.

Utility Vehicles to Get the Job Done

If you’re looking for a UTV, it’s important to consider what you need most from your utility vehicle. Both the Polaris Ranger and Can Am Defender are powerful workhorses. If you’re looking for a more-recreational UTV that can also help around the farm, the Polaris General has a lot to offer.

Stop by Tousley Motorsports showroom in White Bear Lake, Minnesota to see our full selection of Can Am and Polaris UTVs. We’d love to help you find the one that’s right for you!