2018 Vehicle of the Year: Can-Am Defender Max XT

posted on April 28, 2018

Now in its 16th year, the NRA Golden Bullseye Awards represent 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 exceed American Hunter’s expectations 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 
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.”

For more information, go to can-am.brp.com.

Editor's Note: NRA Publications will present the annual Golden Bullseye Awards at an exclusive breakfast during the 2018 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Dallas, Tx., May 4-6.


Olmsted Shooting Brass Axe
Olmsted Shooting Brass Axe

#SundayGunday: Henry Lever Action Brass Axe .410

Get a closer look at the Henry Lever Action Brass Axe .410, the latest addition to our #SundayGunday series.

The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Debating Anti-Hunters Part II

The author had an exchange about the local coyote population in Northern Virginia with a woman on social media. Their discussion serves as a good follow-up to his last article on handling anti-hunters.

Mozambique Common Sense Hunting Tips

Hunters should always be on the lookout for know-how they can use. On a buffalo hunt in Mozambique, the author was all too happy to soak up some bushcraft that can be of use to us all in North America.

Choosing the Best Optics Setup for Western Big-Game Hunting

An ideal optics setup for Western big-game hunting includes a binocular, spotting scope, rangefinder and riflescope. Here’s how to choose the best of each for your needs.  

#SundayGunday​: Bushmaster 450 Bravo Zulu

Get a closer look at the Bushmaster 450 Bravo Zulu, the latest addition to our #SundayGunday series.

Recipe: Venison Stroganoff

This recipe is quick and easy to make, and the longer you let it simmer, the better it gets.


Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.