What's the Difference Between the Can-Am Defender XT and DPS?

Jan 16th 2024

What's the Difference Between the Can-Am Defender XT and DPS?

Can-Am's Defender series is a proud testament to rugged utility side-by-sides engineered to conquer diverse terrains and tasks. The Defender XT and DPS models stand out from this already well-equipped line, each tailored to meet specific needs while embodying Can-Am's commitment to performance, versatility, and durability.

The Defender XT and DPS variants share the same underlying DNA, boasting the powerful Rotax engine and a resilient chassis designed to handle challenging and varied workloads. However, there are still subtle differences between these models that you can take advantage of to make the best choice for your needs.

Let's delve into the notable distinctions between the Can-Am Defender XT and DPS models:

The Can-Am Defender XT pictured parked on a trail

Suspension and Handling

Defender XT: Renowned for its prowess in traversing rough terrains, the Defender XT stands out with its enhanced handling and comfort, courtesy of its arched double A-arm front suspension. This configuration offers an impressive 11 inches of ground clearance, making it well-suited for tackling uneven surfaces and trails.

Defender DPS: On the other hand, the Defender DPS prioritizes a balance between work and recreational riding. Equipped with a recalibrated suspension system and a responsive Dynamic Power Steering (DPS), this model emphasizes smoother handling and precision, ensuring a comfortable ride even during extended outings.

As with other factors we’ll compare across these models, there is of course plenty of overlap (the XT’s comfortable ride and the DPS easily handling rough terrain), but if you’re really looking to spec into a particular end of this “all-terrain versus smooth/comfortable ride” spectrum, consider the above.

Wheels and Tires

Defender XT: Tailored for rugged work environments, the XT model typically comes outfitted with 14-inch cast-aluminum wheels complemented by versatile and robust 27-inch Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires. This setup ensures exceptional traction and durability, making it an ideal tool for heavy-duty tasks.

Defender DPS: In contrast, the DPS variant commonly features 14-inch steel wheels paired with 27-inch Maxxis tires, offering a reliable combination suitable for a variety of terrains while emphasizing comfort and versatility.

A Can-Am Defender DPS pictured parked in a showroom

Functional Features

Defender XT: Known for its utility-focused enhancements, the XT model generally comes with a robust front bumper, a full hard roof, a 4,500-pound winch, and a versatile cargo box capable of handling up to 1,000 pounds. These features make it an ideal choice for demanding workloads and heavy hauling tasks.

Defender DPS: While also built for utility, the DPS model may offer slightly fewer specialized accessories but compensates with added comfort and riding convenience. It may include features such as a comfortable bench seat, a half windshield, and enhanced ergonomics, ensuring a more leisure-oriented experience without compromising utility.

Additional Accessories

Defender XT: With its emphasis on utility, the XT often offers a wide array of accessory options, including reinforced protection for the undercarriage, additional lighting options, and extended storage solutions, catering to the needs of users requiring specialized functionalities.

Defender DPS: The DPS model, while versatile, may provide fewer accessory options aimed explicitly at utility tasks but might offer more recreational add-ons such as sound systems, upgraded seating options, and other comfort-focused amenities.

The Main Difference Between the XT and DPS: Your Preference

In summary, the choice between the Can-Am Defender XT and DPS models ultimately hinges on the specific requirements of the user. The Defender XT excels in heavy-duty work environments with its robust features and enhanced utility, while the Defender DPS strikes a balance between utility and recreational use, prioritizing comfort and handling.

Both variants embody Can-Am's commitment to quality, performance, and versatility, ensuring that regardless of the chosen model, every Defender owner gets a dependable and capable side-by-side to conquer the toughest tasks and terrains.