Now in its 16th year, theNRA Golden Bullseye Awardsrepresent the pinnacle of achievement within the shooting, hunting and outdoor trade.
In 2017, after years of record-breaking sales, many industry observers wondered what ingenious introductions might still be unveiled. After all, any product worthy of our gold standard must meet or exceedAmerican Hunter’sexpectations of innovation—and they absolutely must provide hunters with value for their money. But once again, we were surprised when we collected nominations and tallied our votes.
Vehicle of the Year: Can-Am Defender Max XT Can-Am’s Defender series includes the standard Max, Max DPS, Max XT Cab and our favorite, the Defender Max XT HD10. All feature “pickup truck-inspired design” to maximize cargo capacity and storage space while seating six adult hunters.
The Max XT HD10’s heavy-duty, V-twin Rotax engine produces 72 hp and 61 lb.-ft. torque. Peak torque is delivered at low engine speed to handle difficult tasks and terrain with aplomb. Power is transferred to the ground via Can-Am’s Pro-Torq continuously variable transmission. Three driving modes (Work, Normal, Eco) and a four-mode traction system with Can-Am’s Visco-Lok QE front differential provide several traction-control choices for varying terrain and tasks. Operators may select 2x4 open rear differential, 2x4 locked rear, 4x4 open rear and 4x4 locked rear. Dynamic Power Steering offers less assistance at high speed and more at low speed. Payload capacity is 1,750 pounds (including 1,000 pounds in the bed); tow rating is 2,000 pounds. There is a whopping 16.9 gallons of storage in the cab. A-pillars located far forward and positioned at a 25-degree angle improve visibility and ingress/egress.
Add up all that and it’s easy to see why former digital managing editor Shawn Skipper opined (“Hardware,” October 2017) the Defender Max XT is “a six-seat powerhouse that’ll get you—as well as your hunting buddies, your dog, your gear and your game—wherever you need to go.”