Review: Can-Am Outlander Pro XU HD5

By: Mark Fouhy


When it comes to efficient and effective daily farm management, the not-so-humble ATV is potentially the jewel in the crown of essential farm machinery

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From daily transport and carrying tasks to inspecting fencing and checking crops and animals, the ATV plays a vital role. So, choosing a brand that delivers performance, reliability, and comfort is key to success.

Can-Am has long been a leader in the marketplace, and we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to take a look at the new Can-Am Outlander PRO machines when they first arrived in the country.

Representing five years of research and development, it was great to see the Outlander PRO in its natural environment, quickly making itself at home in the rural New Zealand landscape.

First impressions: there are quite a few differences in this latest Can-Am offering, including new styling. A front bull bar to protect the machine (while adding a tough cool vibe) and new square LED lights are the most obvious changes.

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LED headlights

The evidence of quality is as expected with a Can-Am machine; for example, the 12-inch cast aluminium wheels are shod with 26-inch six-ply rated tyres, as standard. Front and rear bumpers along with skid plates are all standard — the Outlander PRO comes ready to get straight into work mode. However, for those who do like to customise their machine, Can-Am has a sizeable range of options and can have you sorted in no time.

One ‘key’ feature offered by Can-Am, which is remarkably simple but effective, is its Digitally Encoded Security System key, preventing the use of the machine without the key and protecting your investment from those who it doesn’t belong to.

Engine

The engine represents one of the major changes for the new Can-Am Outlander PRO, swapping the V-Twin Rotax for a single cylinder. Almost all other ATVs run single-cylinder engines, with the benefits of lower maintenance and running costs. Both new Outlander PRO models (HD5 and HD7) run the same 650cc Rotax engine, with the tuning changed to produce 40hp in the HD5 and 50hp in the HD7.

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1650lb (750kg) towing capacity

Dropping the second cylinder means that when it’s time to service, checking
or changing the spark plug is now even easier, and the addition of a new dry box with a USB charging port is a real plus
for the operator.

The Outlander PRO has three different engine modes: work, standard, and sport. This changes the performance options of the machine considerably, particularly if you want to go and have some fun on the weekend with the boys and don’t have
a Can-Am Commander on hand.

Along with the different engine modes are three different power steer settings, and there are also three engine brake settings. Intelligent Engine Braking determines how much braking the machine will apply, without the need for operator brake input or throttle to keep the drive engaged. Now that’s smart.

Transmission

Can-Am has used belt-driven CVT transmissions on its ATVs and side by sides for some time, and these have proven reliable, efficient, and easy to operate. With a single lever on the right-hand side of the tank, from park, you can change between forward low/high/neutral and reverse.

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Speed limiter perfect for spraying or spreading tasks

The new Outlanders are equipped with the new pDrive primary CVT for smoother shifting and durability. Conveniently, 4WD/2WD function can be changed on the go with Visco-4Lok – auto front differential lock. Also part of the transmission system is the ability to set speed, a handy feature if wanting to use your machine for accurate spraying or spreading tasks.

Servicing

One of the benefits of side by sides is how easy it is to access engine components at service time. Being freshly designed, the new Can-Am Outlander models have clearly considered this, and panels have been well designed with clips for easy removal to allow access to where you need. I reckon you could have all the panels off in less than a minute, and then back on again quickly, saving time and maximising convenience. Plus, it makes for easy cleaning.

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Easy access to engine for servicing

Another difference with the change from trailing torsion bar suspension to A-arms is the new bushes and universal joints, and the decision to remove grease nipples, which often get forgotten about and only get greased on a service visit anyway. Can-Am has the confidence in its new Outlander models to offer a three-year unlimited kilometre powertrain and Rotax engine warranty and a one-year unlimited warranty on the rest of the machine (provided service guidelines are followed which is usual for a warranty).

Suspension/comfort

The latest Can-Am Outlander models have been completely redesigned in the suspension department, changing to double A-arms front and rear, with a new stronger, lighter chassis to suit (based on the Can-Am Maverick X3).

Double, arched A-arms offer 24cm travel in the front and 26cm at the rear, and with 33cm of ground clearance, there’s plenty of travel to soak up and tame the largest of bumps. Spring preload is adjustable to suit, if carrying a larger load.

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2023 Can-Am Outlander PRO

The ground we tested the Outlander PRO over was baked hard and riddled with bumps offering a great testing situation for the suspension. Add in the tweaks in design of rider position (slightly narrower seating position) and the change in seat, and the new model certainly delivers in terms of comfort. Another reason for the suspension change is to allow a greater tow rating, now up to 830kg, which is a pretty good size trailer load of fencing gear or a round bale of silage.

The other standard feature is Tri-mode Dynamic power steering. This offers three levels of assistance, but still factors in speed, offering the greatest assistance at low speed and decreasing as speed increases. This is a great feature to help reduce rider fatigue and help maintain control, as well as decrease shock and wear to the ATV.

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Ready, set, tow

Load capacity

The front rack has a carrying capacity of 55kg, with storage incorporated. Can-Am has books (online) of accessories that use its LinQ system, making it easy to attach toolboxes or whatever else you may want to set your machine up to carry. The chainsaw-carrying attachment is a great example of making it easier (and safer) to carry an otherwise awkward object.

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Sir David Fagan, Can-Am ambassador

With the fuel tank mounted low, beneath the seat, and the now single-cylinder engine, the new Can-Am Outlander makes the most of space often filled with a fuel tank and now offers a waterproof glove box with a USB charger — brilliant for charging that essential smartphone when it runs out of battery at the back of the farm.

The rear tray has a capacity of 110kg. Being recessed in the centre helps keep the load centre of gravity down, although, possibly also creates some potential for dogs to get their feet between the bars, but a mat would help solve that.

Summary

ATVs still play a strong role in the rural landscape in New Zealand. After five years of research and development, it’s great to see these new model Can-Am Outlanders finally heading our way, with units available now.

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The previous Outlander model has proven as a strong reliable workhorse, and I can see these new models building on that, offering new features, reliability, and ease of servicing and efficiency to keep costs of running down and helping drive efficiencies out on New Zealand farms.  

Can-Am Outlander Pro XU HD5 Special Features:

  • New 650cc single-cylinder, more powerful engine
  • Lower cost/easier servicing and cleaning with easily removable panels
  • Redesigned suspension and seating for increased comfort
  • 3-year unlimited km engine/powertrain warranty
  • New reliable pDrive CVT transmission
  • 12-inch cast-aluminium wheels with 26-inch, 6-ply tyres
  • Glovebox storage with a USB charger
  • Speed limiter function — handy for spraying and spreading
  • 3-step IEB Intelligent Engine Braking

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