While big players Honda, Yamaha and Polaris are getting ready to pull the pin on the Australian quad bike market, CFMOTO is in the market for the long haul.
However side-by-side vehicles have become increasingly popular, safely seating two or three people and carrying generous payloads.
Canadian manufacturer BRP has sold its Can-Am quads and side-by-sides in the New Zealand market for some years, becoming best known for its high performance vehicles.
That's about to change with the introduction of its new Can-Am Defender.
Designed and engineered from the ground up and noting feedback from existing users, the Defender range will add another weapon to the Can-Am armoury in the utility sector of note to farmers, hunters and councils.
The power plant is a Rotax V-Twin -- the 799cc HD8 and 976cc HD 10 producing 50hp and 72hp respectively and offering 20% more torque than their current competitors.
Engine power is channelled through the Pro-Torque transmission, which offers a work specific low gear for optimum torque delivery and a host of features such as larger CVT ratios, electronic protection for increased durability and engine braking taking care of deceleration.
The 4-mode traction system offers the option of 2x4 or 4x4 and the choice of locked or unlocked rear diff, which works with the front Visco-Lok system to put power to the ground.
Model-specific wheel equipment includes wheels up to 14 inch diameter and meaty 27 inch Maxxis tyres. These and 10 inches of front and rear suspension travel and up to 11 inches of ground clearance gives these machines serious off-road capability.
Also outstanding is a towing capacity rated at 2000lbs, a cargo box handling 1000lbs and total payload capacity of 1500lbs; the machine can easily handle a fully loaded cargo box and three adults.
The cabin area's raked forward front cage section allows easier access and departure and there is plenty of storage for the odds and ends needed onfarm. Some models have dynamic power steering.
Essentially the range is four models, but the Defender can be customised to individual taste using Can-Am's big accessory range -- cabins, windscreens and various equipment stowage options.
Topping the package is 'maintenance-free' service -- one year, 3000km or 200 'running' hours; an industry leading three-year factory warranty applies.
A full review of the model range and our experience of driving them will appear in our next issue.