Honda Pioneer vs Can Am Defender Comparison

If you're in the market for a side-by-side utility vehicle, two popular options are the Honda Pioneer and the Can Am Defender. While both vehicles offer impressive features, there are some key differences to consider when making your decision.


Two models comparison


2023 Can-Am Defender DPS

2023 Honda Pioneer 1000

Starting MSRP




1471 lb (667 kg)

1595 pounds





52 hp / 41 lb-ft, Rotax® ACE (Advanced Combustion Efficiency) 650 cc single cylinder


Cargo Box Capacity

1,000 lb (454 kg) 

1000 pounds


Double A-arm / 10 in. (25.4 cm) travel

TTA with external sway bar / 10 in. (25.4 cm) travel

Independent double-wishbone

Front/Rear Brakes

Dual 220 mm disc brakes


Towing Capacity

2,500 lb (1134 kg)

2500 pounds

Ground Clearance

11 in. (28 cm)

13.6 in


Design and Features

The Honda Pioneer has a more traditional design, with a classic UTV appearance. It has a boxy shape with a flat front end, which gives it a utilitarian look. On the other hand, the Can-Am Defender has a more modern design that incorporates a more angular body shape. It has a distinctive front grille and a more aggressive stance compared to the Pioneer.

Thanks to a different engine, the Can Am Defender has more power and torque, which is useful when traversing rough terrain or hauling heavy loads.


The Honda Pioneer is known for its reliability and durability, with a reputation for being able to handle tough terrain and heavy loads. It comes with a 999cc liquid-cooled engine that delivers smooth and consistent power, and a high/low range automatic transmission that provides excellent torque and acceleration. The Pioneer also has a long-travel suspension system that provides a comfortable ride even over rough terrain.

The Can-Am Defender is known for its power and speed, with a range of engine options that deliver impressive performance. It has a range of engines to choose from, including a 450cc, 800cc, and 1000cc V-twin engines, all of which deliver great acceleration and top speeds. The Defender also has a high-performance suspension system that provides excellent handling and stability, even at high speeds.

Comfort and Convenience

In terms of comfort and convenience, the Honda Pioneer and the Can Am Defender both have their advantages. The Honda Pioneer has a more spacious cabin with more legroom and headroom, making it more comfortable for taller drivers. It also has a simpler dashboard layout, which can be easier to navigate when you're out on the trail. The Can Am Defender, on the other hand, has a more luxurious interior with more amenities, including a tilt steering wheel and a digital display.


If you're looking for a vehicle with a comfortable cabin and impressive towing capacity, the Honda Pioneer is a great choice. On the other hand, if you're looking for a powerful engine and excellent off-road capabilities, the Can Am Defender may be the better option.

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