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TESTED | 2012 CAN-AM COMMANDER 1000XT | From The Vault | Tested

Back in 2012 we headed to an 12,000 acre cattle, sheep and crop farm in the Southern Tablelands of NSW to see what a bunch of locals thought of the Commander.

Ten years ago side-by-sides were not as common as they are now and we had to convince farmers how good they could be. This was tough-going when simply writing about it in blogs or the like, the best way to show farmers just how good a side-by-side can be is to get them behind the wheel.

So that’s what we did. I got my neighbours together and we tested the Can-AM Commander 1000 XT for two days of hard work. I also roped in one young farmer to see if I could convince him to get off his dirtbike and into a side-by-side. Here is what our farmers thought.

Cowboys and Cowgirls

Name: Aaron Neale

D.O.B: 11/12/1971

Hometown: I grew up on a farm on the outskirts of Goulburn NSW

Farming history: I’ve managed Hanworth Station for 33 years, which is 12,000 acres. We run 800 breeding Angus cattle, and I breed and train dogs and Australian stock horses. Because the country is so rough here we mainly use horses but also two-wheeled ag bikes and ATVs

Greatest farming achievements: My greatest achievement would be winning the Dog Trial at the Australian Royal Easter Show in 1999

Name: Jenelle Neale

D.O.B: 17/04/1969

Hometown: I was born and raised on our family farm

Farming history: I work with my husband Aaron on Hanworth Station

Greatest farming achievements: I won the Colt Class at the Canberra Royal Show and placed 3rd in the time trial at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in 2000. I also won the Colt Class again this year at the Canberra Royal Show

Name: Eddie Cordingly

D.O.B: 20/01/1992

Hometown: Born and raised on the family farm, but went to a boarding school in Sydney

Farming history: We have three farms, totalling 8000 acres, in Walcha, Gyra and Barraba. We run 5000 sheep, 3000 cattle and 1000 acres of crops

Greatest farming achievement: Erm, well I’ve been to loads of B’n’S Balls and I play rugby for the Walcha Rams – we’re currently top of the table.


The Can-Am Commander 1000XT is an awesome recreational machine and also worker. The Rotax 1000cc EFI V-Twin engine produces so much power all four wheels spin when you plant the boot, and it sounds like an American muscle car. Aaron thought the 1000cc was probably overkill for the hilly farm he works on but would never say no to more power for when he’s on the open roads and he can smell a rum and coke.

As a farm machine, the Commander is the ultimate alternative to a farm ute (though you can’t drive on public roads). It has a tipper tray and a 680kg tow capacity, plus a rack of spotlights on the roof (for hunting), and an 1800kg winch that is perfect for straightening fence posts. It also has plenty of ground clearance, plus cup holders, grab-handles, safety nets and a 38L fuel tank. We ran it all day and filled up after Day 2.

Jenelle loved the Commander and how comfortable it was for working all day. She also agreed with Aaron that it had more than enough power for the work she does. She would much rather steer one of these than an ATV, ag bike or horse all day. She did say she’d like a screen though. She was impressed with he rack on the front that she could tie things down to for extra storage.

It is slightly wider and lower than most agricultural side-by-sides so this makes it more planted on off-camber terrain but a little less agile.

Eddie loved using the Commander to chase down pigs and sneak up on goats when hunting. As a competent dirtbike rider, Eddie would prefer to use his dirtbike in hilly mustering conditions but if the terrain was not so gnarly he would be happy to sit back in comfort while cattle moved up the road.

The Commander 1000 XT is loads of fun and the closest you will get to rally driving while working on a farm but without the enormous costs or having to own a Subaru. This model felt more like a recreational machine than agricultural worker but they can easily double as a farm machine and dirt track racer. And, if you live in hilly country, they will go more places than most four-wheel-drive utes so getting in and out of sticky situations is much easier.