Can-am is without a doubt a pioneer in many areas in its fields of activity. Therefore it is not surprising that there is a craze for this brand among recreational vehicle enthusiasts. The wide choice of models in Can-Am’s lineup certainly suits the specific needs of each individual.
However, Can-am still has a model that has not undergone significant changes since its introduction over a decade ago. Several rumors had persisted for a few years, and consumers hoped for a redesign of the famous Can-Am Commander.
A little history
In 2010, BRP introduced the Can-Am Commander, the industry’s most versatile side-by-side vehicle, with a choice of a powerful 800 or 1000cc Rotax V-twin engine, a two-stage cargo box exclusive to the market, and many other unique features.
Since its introduction, the Can-Am Commander has been a recreational and utility vehicle: it is mainly considered a two-seater crossover (and also four-occupant a few years later). It is equipped with all the latest technologies and designed for reliable performance and flawless service. It is the perfect vehicle for work-related outdoor tasks or for covering large areas and a fun machine to drive on many terrains and situations.
One of its main features is the massive storage for virtually any need: watertight spaces, a cargo box, and an upper cargo bed. You can carry a lot of luggage on your long trips in nature, and the cargo capacity is ideal for everyday tasks around the farm, home, or summer cottage. You can also remove the vehicle’s seats and put them near the campfire after a day of work.
The Can-am Commander 2021:
The manufacturer from Valcourt, Quebec, has probably realized that its crossover UTV needed a complete redesign, as it had not kept up with the trends in the industry over the years. The competition has adjusted its offer and is currently proposing more attractive and much better general performance UTVs in the same category.
Consequently, the 2021 lineup is introducing an up-to-date Can-am Commander. The new cuvée is available in 5 variations:
This model is the most straightforward of the group and is considered the basic model with minimal options. Its suspension travel is 12.5 inches at the front, 13 inches at the rear, and its ground clearance is 12.5 inches. Shocks are adjustable to 5 positions to suit individual preferences. The machine is fitted with 14-inch steel rims mated to 27 inch XPS TRAIL FORCE tires. At 62 inches wide, the Can-am Commander DPS is also the narrowest of all the versions offered.
Commander MAX DPS
This version is similar in every aspect to the DPS mentioned above except that its MAX indication gives the possibility of 4 occupants, and therefore has a longer wheelbase.
At an additional cost, this variant offers several standard additions. It is equipped with a roof, an XT front bumper, a 4,500 lb winch, and a fairlead roller. It also offers stylish 14-inch aluminum rims and 28-inch XPS TRAIL KING tires. The suspension travel is higher than the base model, with 15 inches both front and rear. A-arms are arched to provide better clearance which is 13-inch from the ground. The XT model has a total width of 64 inches. Finally, a 19.3 cm (7.6 in) digital display with a keypad and Can-Am LED signature lights completes this model.
Commander MAX XT
The MAX version of the Commander is identical to the XT model above, except that it offers the convenience of accommodating four occupants.
The XT-P model of the Can-am Commander is the pinnacle of performance in the crossover category from this manufacturer and, quite logically, the most expensive. In addition to having the same accessories listed on the XT model, it has oversized 30-inch XPS HAMMER FORCE tires mounted on 15-inch cast aluminum beadlock wheels. A standard panoramic central mirror offers better visibility of the competition left behind. It also has arched A-arms providing better obstacle clearance, and the machine ground clearance is slightly higher than the X at 13.5 inches. The high-end FOX Podium 2.5 QS3 3-position shocks give 14 inches of travel both front and rear. Also, it is equipped with the Smart-Lok system, which is the most advanced off-road differential on the market. It is an on-demand fully locking front differential with electronically-controlled automatic modes that always provide maximum traction in all conditions.
Finally, the LED headlights provide better night vision. It should be noted that the XT-P version is not available in a MAX variant.
Enough power to make the competition bite the dust!
The Commander 2021 designers have chosen the perfect engine to make this new version go fast. They stopped their choice on the same motor used in the Maverick Sport. The ROTAX 1000R V-Twin 976cc is perfect for delivering the 100 horsepower needed to propel this UTV. Can-Am’s ITC (Intelligent Throttle Control) is one feature of this vehicle. Throttle response is determined by selecting Sport or Eco modes on the toggle switch mounted on the dashboard. Unlike the centrally mounted engine on the previous Commander version, the 2021 version has a rear engine. This significantly reduces the vibrations and excessive heat. Engine accessibility will also be greatly improved for maintenance by simply tilting the rear body. Finally, the engine air filter has been strategically positioned to facilitate accessibility, inspection, and maintenance.
The Commander uses Quick Response System X CVT (QRS-X) with high-flow ventilation and electronic drive belt protection. The result: adaptive and reliable off-road performance thanks to Turf, 2WD, and 4WD modes with Visco-Lok QE automatic locking front differential. 4WD Trail and Trail ACTIV modes with Smart-Lok technology are only available with the XT-P package.
A not so new chassis
The new Commander essentially borrows the structural components of the Maverick Sport chassis. Its aesthetics are also copied, except that a rear tipper has been integrated. The 75.1 x 114.7 x 27 cm (29.5 x 45.2 x 10.6 in) cargo space allows for a maximum load of 600 lbs, and a cylinder provides full and smooth assistance when tilting the bed. Its 2,000 lb towing capacities are standard in its class.
For 2021, the Commander has improvements to reduce engine noise not found on any Maverick Sport models. A 10 mm acoustic panel located behind the seats minimizes the noise in the passenger compartment. A service opening is also accessible to once again facilitate engine maintenance. The CVT clutch also received improvements using insulating components to muffle the noise coming from the moving parts.
All versions of the Can-Am Commander 2021 are fitted with rubber bushings to ensure the movement of the A-arms suspension. This bonus provides better stability and will improve ride comfort. Therefore, no lubrication is necessary, and annoying suspension noises will be reduced.
The designers wanted to make all the available spaces profitable. Therefore, the rear box’s side panels are removable, allowing you to store a spare belt and some maintenance tools. From hunting gear to camping tools, everything can be secured with the LinQ system. Anchor points allow the installation of over 150 accessories, of which 20 have been specifically developed for this model.
Design and ergonomics
Since the new 2021 Can-am Commander essentially replicates the Can-Am Maverick Sport chassis, we were already well aware of its peculiarities. This chassis has the longest wheelbase of all 2-seater models. This advantage is evident because the wheels’ far away position at the ends of the vehicle provides better stability. In addition, this configuration allows more legroom in the cockpit.
The cabin is designed so that the driver and passengers nestle safely and comfortably onboard. The driver’s seat has 5 inches of adjustment. The steering wheel and attached digital instrument cluster also have 25 degrees of tilt to suit your adjustment needs. There are two angled footrests on the passenger side and ergonomic handles for improved comfort on bumpy trails. The seats are inspired by sports cars, and the seatbacks and lower cushions are removable for easier cleaning.
The versatile design of the all-new Commander allows you to add or remove accessories as needed. It’s easy to organize your gear to your liking with the new passenger-side storage compartment. The 650 watts alternator will provide ample power to rock your favorite music, and you can even easily install additional LED light bars.
In conclusion, Can-am finally got up to date with the upgrade of its Commander models. BRP is not used to being left behind, and in our opinion, it was surprising for them to offer a model which had not kept up with developments. That time is now over.