Can-Am Defender Vs. Honda Pioneer: Which is better?

Can-Am Defender Vs. Honda Pioneer Which is better(1)

As two of the most popular UTVs on today’s market, the Can-Am Defender and the Honda Pioneer are some of the best vehicles for just about any off-roading excursion. Of course, while both are versatile and functional machines, it’s important to note a few differences before making your purchase decision.

In this guide, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about the Can-Am Defender and the Honda Pioneer, including specs, features, and pros and cons, so you can make a more confident buying decision.

Side-By-Side Comparison


2022 Honda Pioneer 1000

2022 Can-Am Defender

Starting MSRP




1,595 pounds

1,750 pounds


72 HP

82 HP


999cc liquid-cooled twin-cylinder four-stroke Unicam

Rotax 976 cc V-Twin liquid-cooled

Towing Capacity

2,500 pounds

2,500 pounds

Tire & Brake

27 x 9-12 7 11-12 tires; foot activated four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes

Pro Armor X-Terrain Tires;


Independent Double Wishbone suspension

Dual A-Arm Suspension


Pros and Cons

Honda Pioneer Stock Model

Can-Am Defender Pros

The Can-Am Defender offers an impressive selection of 18 vehicle configurations to suit a variety of needs. Whether you're a rancher, farmer, hunter, or pure off-road enthusiast, it’s a practical choice, delivering a robust Powertrain and a durable chassis that can handle tough conditions with ease.

Thanks to the new and improved Rotax engine, the Defender rides quieter and smoother than ever, with reduced vibration and noise. No matter what kind of terrain you decide to take it on, it’ll excel, making it a super versatile choice.

As for some of our favorite features, we love the spacious cockpit with lateral support, optimized visibility, and a wide door for easy entry and exit. The team at Can-Am truly took it to the next level in terms of comfort. 

Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons to choose the Can-Am Defender is the range of appearance options available. With 18 unique options, each tailored to specific use cases, seating configurations, and features, every detail has been carefully considered to help you find the right UTV for your needs.

Can-Am Defender Cons

One of the biggest drawbacks of the Can-Am Defender is the lack of acceleration. While it delivers a fair amount of power, the get-up-and-go leaves a lot to be desired. 

On top of that, while the supreme suspension travel and longer wheelbase offer a smooth ride most of the time, this UTV can be slightly wobbly when driven at lower speeds. It makes sense, as the suspension was tuned for riding at higher speeds, but it’s still worth considering when choosing between the Pioneer and Defender.  

Honda Pioneer Pros 

The Honda Pioneer is widely recognized for its exceptional reliability, a hallmark of Honda's quality. With its robust construction and impressive power and torque, this UTV is built to last. 

When driving the Pioneer, it's hard not to imagine being behind the wheel of a Honda truck, which is a testament to its rugged design.

Over the years, Honda has made significant improvements to the Pioneer's horsepower, resulting in impressive performance. Unlike many other UTVs, the Pioneer doesn't suffer from smoking belts or grinding noises that can occur after prolonged use. 

All in all, it’s perfectly suited for tackling uneven or downhill terrain thanks to its smooth ride, tight turning radius, and excellent fuel efficiency.

Honda Pioneer Cons

The mechanical and driveline components of the Honda Pioneer are strong, but unfortunately, its smooth ride and comfort do not reflect this strength. The gas pedal and acceleration lack the smoothness of the Can-Am, and the shocks can be rough due to their placement. 

Additionally, the roll cage is too high for toy haulers, and the heat under the front seat can be uncomfortably hot, especially in areas with scorching summers. 

When to Use

Can-Am Defender Floor Model 


The first thing you’ll want to consider is where you plan on driving your UTV. Both the Can-Am Defender and Honda Pioneer are better suited for certain terrains over others.

For example, if you’re planning on doing some fast trail riding or hitting rugged, uneven terrain, the Can-Am Defender is probably a better choice, especially with its prime-tuned suspension. However, if you’re planning on using your UTV for work around the property or you’re dealing with mellow uphill and downhill slopes, the Honda Pioneer is a better choice.

Location Reliability

Reliability is an incredibly important thing to consider when buying a UTV. While issues with the Can-Am Defender don’t often pop up, it’s pretty difficult to beat the known reliability of Honda vehicles. 

Honda has a reputation for long-lasting vehicles, and the Honda Pioneer is no exception. However, if you don't mind taking a few trips to the mechanic every now and then, you might consider the Can-Am Defender.


Both the Can-Am Defender and Honda Pioneer provide the comfort and convenience of modern UTVs.

The Can-Am Defender delivers a smooth and vibration-free ride at higher speeds, even when riding on rough terrain. However, it's hard to beat the self-leveling rear suspension system on the Honda Pioneer, which provides a consistent level of comfort by maintaining the vehicle's ride height.

Fuel Economy 

Both vehicles offer similar specs in terms of fuel efficiency.

The Can-Am Defender is powered by a Rotax ACE 976cc engine, boasting a fuel economy of up to 28 mpg, while the Honda Pioneer, with its 999cc engine, offers fuel economy of up to 25 mpg. 

The Can-Am Defender also features a one-way tire pressure monitoring system, which helps to improve fuel economy while providing a smoother ride.


When it comes to customizability, both UTVs are highly customizable.

The Can-Am Defender features an extensive selection of accessories, including additional seating, side mirrors, a windshield, and an adjustable cargo box.

The same goes for the Honda Pioneer, which has a wide selection of accessories, including a full-service audio system, a winch, and a cargo bed. Plus, both vehicles can be equipped with various aftermarket parts and accessories, such as exhaust systems, lift kits, and disc brakes.


Can-Am Defender Floor Model

Is the Can-Am Defender a Good UTV?

With ruggedness, versatility, and an adaptable suspension system, the Can-Am Defender is one of the best UTVs on the market.

Which Vehicle is Better for Towing, the Can-Am Defender or the Honda Pioneer?

While both vehicles have spacious cargo beds that can carry a lot of gear, the Can-Am Defender's bed is generally larger and more versatile, with features like integrated tie-down points, a tailgate extender, and a cargo divider.

How do the Honda Pioneer and Can-Am Defender Hold Up In Terms of Performance? 

While both vehicles are capable of handling tough terrain and heavy loads, the Can-Am Defender has better off-road capabilities, thanks to its more advanced suspension system and higher ground clearance. 


Polaris Ranger Parked on Grassy Hill 

When all is said and done, both the Can-Am Defender and Honda Pioneer are excellent options for those in need of a utility vehicle that can handle tough terrain and heavy loads. 

While the Can-Am Defender may have better off-road capabilities and a larger cargo bed, the Honda Pioneer offers a smoother ride at lower speeds, solid performance, and a more user-friendly cockpit. Ultimately, the choice between these two vehicles will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

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