Now a real people transporter

See full image gallery >>

The modern Land Rover Defender has no shortage of seats. You can get a third row of seats in the 110 and a front seat in the 90, allowing six to seven people to go on any adventure you’ve dreamed up. Of course, ‘come along’ is not the same as ‘being comfortable’. For that you need the new Land Rover Defender 130 from 2023.

The 130 is virtually identical to the 110 from the front bumper to the rear doors. Even the wheelbase is the same. The difference is the extra 13.5 inches tacked onto the rear, much of which overhangs the rear wheels. If you think this significantly reduces the angle of departure, you’re right. Comparing the 130 to an air-suspension-equipped 110 (the 130 only comes with air suspension), the 110 has a departure angle of 37.7 degrees at road level and 40 degrees at off-road level. Meanwhile, the 130 has a departure angle of 24.5 degrees at road level and 28.5 degrees when up. So if you are going to take your 130 off-road, you have to be careful not to drag the tail. At least the approach and exit angles remain the same, as does the ground clearance of 8.5 and 11.5 inches, depending on suspension mode.

Land Rover Defender 130 from 2023

Land Rover Defender 130 from 2023

The extra length also changes the look of the Defender, and not for the better like most Autoblog staff are concerned. However, after spending a week with it I started to like the look and noticed that the 110 looks almost stupid in comparison. At the very least, it looks better in person, so before you write it off completely, check one out in real life.

Besides the obvious extra length, a noticeable change to the exterior is the lack of the rear safari windows. Instead, the 130 gets a traditional sunroof. It’s certainly not as distinctive as the safari windows on the short Defenders, but it does let in more light (or less if you close the shade), making the rear seats feel airier and more spacious.

And as for space, the 130 has a lot of it, at least for passengers. At about five feet tall and just under 300 pounds, yours truly can sit in the third row quite comfortably. There is ample headroom and even legroom. The second-row occupants don’t have to sacrifice much, if at all. The promise of a Defender with actually usable extra seats is therefore fulfilled. That doesn’t make it a minivan, though. The third row seat is a bit firm, a bit close to the floor and good luck putting three across despite having the seatbelts in front of it. Access is also a bit tricky, as the rear doors aren’t any taller and the second row of seats simply slides forward with no seat bottom tricks to provide a wider aisle.

The situation is similar with the loading area. All that extra length does result in significantly more room than the Defender 110 and just a bit more than Land Rover’s other three-row SUV, the Discovery, but the volumes aren’t as huge as you’d expect compared to the segment as a whole . Room with all seats up is the best illustration of this: the 130 offers 15.3 cubic feet of space, which is a useful improvement over the nearly useless 10.7 of the three-row 110, but still one of the smaller amounts for a three-row SUV. Behind the second row, the 130 extends its lead by 43.5 blocks to the three-row 110’s 34.6. Flatten the second row and the 130 maxes out at 80.9 cubic feet versus the 110’s 69. Some of the 130’s cargo handling is somewhat hampered by the hump formed by the folded-down third row. Keep in mind, though, that the Defender’s square shape should make it more useful than the numbers suggest when compared to other large, more rounded SUVs.

Everything else inside is shared with the 110. There’s the same charming combination of utilitarian features and materials like shelving and chunky knobs, with splashes of luxury like natural-finish wood finishes and sleek infotainment graphics. Front visibility is great, but rear visibility is less, as large headrests for each seating position fill the rear-view mirror.

As for the driving experience, well, there’s not much different compared to the smaller Defenders. The 130 comes standard with air suspension, which offers an adjustable ride height for better off-roading or easier access when parked. It’s a little soft-tuned, but well controlled. Cornering isn’t the Defender’s forte with decent roll, but it’s a hell of a lot better than a G-Wagen or Wrangler. And the steering is surprisingly accurate, even if it’s slow and light on effort. It’s obviously tuned to make it easier to navigate tight woods trails or equally tight parking lots.

While the other Defenders offer four and eight-cylinder engines, the Defender 130 is only available with turbocharged 3.0-litre mild-hybrid six-cylinder engines, one of which is exclusive to this model. That would be the base, low-output inline-six (called P300), which puts out 296 horsepower and 347 pound-feet of torque. Our test vehicle, however, was equipped with the P400 high-output mild-hybrid inline-six with 395 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque.

Even without having experienced the low-output engine, we’re confident in recommending the high-output engine if your budget allows. It’s impressively smooth and quiet, moving the Defender effortlessly. The automatic is a solid match, shifting smoothly and quickly enough, and full-time four-wheel drive is useful in inclement weather. The low-horsepower engine is likely to be just as smooth (and have the same drivetrain), but it has no advantages over the high-horsepower engine. It has run out of power and it has the same fuel economy at 17 mpg city, 21 highway and 19 combined. It still has the 8,200-pound towing capacity, but again, all that plus an extra hundred horsepower and pound-feet of torque for just a little more up front.

The extra space of the 130 is accompanied by a significant price increase. The cheapest version available is the S trim at $69,475. If you want the high-output six, it’s another $10,300 to go to the SE, which gets you some extra features like different headlights, a sunroof and 20-inch wheels. By comparison, you can get a Defender 110 for just $54,975, or $59,775 for a comparable 110 S. So you really have to ask yourself, is that extra space worth an extra $10,000?

The Defender 130 ultimately fills a very specific niche: a three-row luxury SUV that can go off-road but, unlike Land Rover’s current Discovery, with the boxy, rugged, go-anywhere look that’s all the rage these days. is. It’s really the only game in town, but for its clever passenger packaging and great driving experience, it’s at least a good one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *