The 2023 Land Rover Defender 130 Review: Luxury on a Grand Scale

As the sun sets on 2023, Land Rover welcomes a new member to its illustrious Defender family—the 2023 Land Rover Defender 130. Positioned as the longest of the three configurations, this SUV enters the scene as a spacious, eight-passenger luxury bus, extending an invitation to adventure-seekers and family-oriented enthusiasts alike. With a starting price of $69,475 in the United States and $97,750 in Canada (including freight and delivery charges), the Defender 130 stakes its claim in the premium SUV market.

Power and Performance: Choices for Every Journey

In the United States, the Defender 130 comes with two powertrain options. The base S trim offers the P300, a supercharged 3.0L inline-six engine generating 296 horsepower and 347 lb-ft of torque. Paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, it delivers power to all four wheels, ensuring off-road prowess and confident on-road performance.

For those seeking more power, the mild hybrid P400 is available on all U.S. trims and Canadian-spec units. This supercharged 3.0L inline-six elevates the driving experience with 395 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy ratings, while not groundbreaking, are comparable to other luxury utility vehicles, with 17/21/19 mpg in the U.S. and 13.8/11.2/12.4 L/100 km in Canada.

Interestingly, the 2024 model year promises a supercharged 5.0L V8 option, known as the P500, boasting a formidable 493 horsepower and 461 lb-ft of torque. However, the Defender, unlike its Range Rover counterparts, doesn’t currently have plans for plug-in hybrid powertrains.

Versatility Meets Comfort: Off-Road Capabilities and Interior Space

Designed for versatility, the Defender 130 lives up to its Land Rover heritage with off-road capabilities that include a towing capacity of up to 6,614 pounds and a capable four-wheel-drive system. With a ground clearance ranging from 8.5 to 11.5 inches, it confidently tackles diverse terrains, complemented by impressive approach and departure angles.

Inside, the Defender 130 transforms into a luxurious haven, accommodating up to eight passengers. The third-row bench, a distinguishing feature of the 130, offers enhanced legroom and elevated seat cushions for comfortable extended journeys. Cargo space is generous, offering 15.3 cubic feet behind the third row, 35.8 cubic feet behind the second, and a whopping 76.1 cubic feet behind the first.

Form Meets Function: Rugged Design and Intuitive Technology

The Defender 130’s exterior boasts a rugged design that seamlessly blends retro and modern elements, paying homage to its heritage without sacrificing contemporary appeal. While not as roomy as some competitors, the Defender 130’s cabin exudes a rugged aesthetic, with ample storage spaces and intuitive climate controls.

The infotainment system, featuring an 11.4-inch touchscreen, offers a user-friendly experience with well-laid-out menus and quick responsiveness. Although it may take some time to familiarize yourself, mastery comes swiftly after a week behind the wheel.

On the Road: A Smooth Operator with a Few Quirks

Behind the wheel, the Defender 130 doesn’t feel like driving a bus. Air suspension efficiently absorbs imperfections, providing a smooth ride ideal for extensive family road trips. However, a delayed throttle response and grabby brakes, while not deal-breakers, slightly detract from the refined driving experience. With an overall length of 211.7 inches, parking might present a challenge, but a 360-degree camera system alleviates navigation concerns.

The Price of Grandeur: Customization and First Edition Features

Starting at $69,475 in the U.S. and $97,750 in Canada, the Defender 130 is customizable to suit individual preferences. The First Edition, exclusive to the 2023 model year, adds a touch of opulence with eight-passenger seating, a choice of paint colors, three interior color schemes, and three wood finishes. Standard features include 14-way power-adjustable front seats with heating and ventilation, an icebox in the center console, and heated second-row seats.

Conclusion: Capable, Comfortable, and Unmistakably Land Rover

In the grand tapestry of premium SUVs, the 2023 Land Rover Defender 130 stands out as a testament to Land Rover’s legacy. Capable off-road, spacious and comfortable for passengers, and draped in rugged yet refined design, it caters to those seeking adventure without compromising luxury. While fuel efficiency might not be its forte, the Defender 130 establishes itself as a distinguished member of the Defender family, offering a grand scale of luxury for those ready to embrace it.


Land Rover Defender’s 75th Limited Edition: The Ultimate Off-Road Experience

When it comes to conquering challenging terrains, the Land Rover Defender has always been a symbol of rugged excellence. With its 75th Limited Edition, Land Rover reminds us why it’s the ultimate off-road vehicle. Whether you’re navigating rough trails or cruising through the city, this iconic SUV stands out in every aspect.

Singapore, known for its well-paved roads, may not seem like the natural habitat for a Land Rover Defender. However, to truly appreciate its capabilities, we embarked on a 48-hour road trip to Desaru, putting the Defender’s Terrain Response and Hill Descent Control to the test. The results were nothing short of impressive.

This year marks Land Rover’s 75th anniversary, and to celebrate, they’ve released an exclusive Limited Edition available in both two- and four-door models, with 90 or 110 trim options. Under the hood, you’ll find a potent turbocharged inline-six engine with a displacement of 2,966 cc, capable of reaching a top speed of 191 km/h. Despite its robust performance, maneuvering this nearly 2.5-ton vehicle in tight spots is surprisingly hassle-free.

The 3D Surround Camera with ClearSight Ground View and 360° Parking Aid provides clear guidance, making it easy to handle the Defender in any situation, whether you’re a novice to all-wheel drive or an experienced off-road enthusiast. One of the standout features of this ride is the Terrain Response System, which offers modes like Eco, Comfort, Mud & Ruts, Gravel, and Snow. It’s like having a Swiss Army knife for tackling different terrains.

While the technical specs are impressive, it’s the actual driving experience that sets the Land Rover Defender apart. The vehicle handles with ease and confidence, whether you’re navigating steep hills or cruising on the highway. The comfortable co-driver seat and ample legroom for the front passenger ensure a relaxed journey, while the elevated seating provides panoramic views of the surroundings.

Long highway drives are a breeze, with minimal bouncing or tilting, making the Defender a versatile machine that seamlessly transitions from city roads to unpredictable dirt lanes.

One of the key selling points of the Land Rover Defender is its ability to perform in all weather conditions. Our journey back from Desaru was met with heavy rain, turning the roads into a slippery challenge. However, with the Mud & Ruts mode engaged, the Defender’s tires effortlessly cut through the mud to find traction on firmer ground. Instead of dampening our spirits, the rain added an extra layer of excitement to the adventure.

Handling a Land Rover Defender, even for a brief adventure like ours, is thoroughly enjoyable. Its robust frame and powerful engine provide comfort and peace of mind, while its ability to adapt quickly to varying terrains reaffirms its “Load up, Go anywhere” mantra. In essence, the Land Rover Defender’s 75th Limited Edition is designed for those who crave adventure and aren’t afraid to explore the road less traveled. It’s a true off-road icon that continues to impress, 75 years on.


Defender’s 3rd Annual Service Awards: Honoring Humanitarian Excellence in 2023

Land Rover Defender, renowned for its iconic legacy and adventurous spirit, continues to honor organizations dedicated to community service with its third annual “Defender Service Awards.” Sponsored by CHASE, this prestigious event recognizes U.S. non-profits and Canadian charities that embody the Defender ethos of community service.

The awards ceremony, scheduled for November 11, 2023, during the Destination Defender event, will unveil the winners among the 25 finalists. The six victorious organizations will receive a custom Land Rover Defender 130, along with a $25,000 cash prize from their respective category sponsor.

The Land Rover Defender 130 is a versatile and rugged SUV designed to tackle diverse mission-related challenges. With three rows of seating accommodating up to eight passengers and an impressive load capacity, this vehicle aligns seamlessly with the unique requirements of the award-winning organizations.

CHASE, the category sponsor, demonstrates its commitment to the cause by pledging an additional $5,000 donation to each of the five finalists in every category, contributing a total of $150,000 to support their vital work. The significant financial backing provided by CHASE reflects its dedication to empowering these organizations in their community service efforts.

Warner Bros. Discovery joins the Defender Service Awards as a Premier Sponsor, further elevating the event’s profile and impact. Their generous contribution of $75,000 underscores the collective commitment to recognizing and celebrating humanitarian excellence.

In addition to CHASE and Warner Bros. Discovery, the Defender Service Awards boasts support from several prominent sponsors, including Outside Interactive Inc., ei3, Pelican, Hearts & Sciences, and Animal Planet. These sponsors play a pivotal role in highlighting and amplifying the outstanding contributions of organizations committed to making a positive difference in their communities.

The Land Rover Defender has long been associated with pushing boundaries and embracing challenges. Its rugged design and unwavering spirit mirror the determination and dedication exhibited by the non-profits and charities recognized through the Defender Service Awards.

As the awards ceremony approaches, anticipation grows for the announcement of the deserving winners who will receive the coveted custom Defender 130 and financial support to further their mission-driven endeavors. The Defender Service Awards serve as a powerful testament to the values of community service, resilience, and innovation that lie at the heart of both Land Rover Defender and the honored organizations.

Mark your calendars for November 10-12, 2023, when the Defender Service Awards ceremony unfolds at Destination Defender in Somerville, Texas. This event promises to be a celebration of humanitarian excellence, a showcase of the Defender’s enduring legacy, and a demonstration of the enduring impact of community service.

Key Highlights:

  • The third annual Defender Service Awards, sponsored by CHASE, celebrate U.S. non-profits and Canadian charities dedicated to community service.
  • Six winning organizations will receive a custom Land Rover Defender 130 and a $25,000 cash prize from their category sponsor.
  • CHASE will donate an additional $5,000 to each of the five finalists in every category, totaling $150,000 in support.
  • Premier Sponsor Warner Bros. Discovery contributes $75,000 to further elevate the event’s impact.
  • Additional sponsors include Outside Interactive Inc., ei3, Pelican, Hearts & Sciences, and Animal Planet.
  • The awards ceremony takes place on November 11, 2023, during the Destination Defender event in Somerville, Texas, celebrating humanitarian excellence and community service.

Land Rover Defender 110 D300: Tackling Towing Challenges and Farm Adventures

In the world of rugged off-road vehicles, the Land Rover Defender has always been a symbol of capability and resilience. However, its recent iteration, the Land Rover Defender 110 D300, has not only embraced these characteristics but has also become a versatile workhorse on the farm. In this report, we delve into the adventures and challenges faced by this Defender, highlighting its strengths and quirks.

The Road to Towing

The journey of this Defender 110 D300 took an interesting turn when it was equipped with a tow hitch. The intention was clear – to test its towing capabilities and explore its utility as a farm vehicle. However, fitting the tow bar proved to be a puzzling endeavor.

The cost of the factory-fitted tow bar was an eye-watering £2,285, which included an electrically deployable tow bar and a range of additional features like Advanced Tow Assist and All Terrain Progress Control. Opting for a retrofit by a dealer was slightly cheaper at £1,600, but it lacked the extra features and an electronically deployable hitch.

Installing the tow bar seemed like a straightforward task, but it quickly turned into a mystery. Even with the help of practical-minded individuals, including an automotive technician, a builder, and a farmer, the hitch remained elusive. The key issue was the spring-loaded knob on the removable tow hitch, which was meant to retract a ring of ball bearings, allowing it to be locked in place. However, this mechanism didn’t function as expected.

Additionally, the electrical socket for trailer connections posed a challenge. It was situated so close to the rear bumper that plugging in a trailer was nearly impossible without unscrewing a section of lower trim. This design flaw left everyone baffled.

After multiple attempts and seeking assistance from various experts, it was apparent that the Defender’s tow hitch presented an unconventional challenge. The solution required pulling the knob on the hitch sideways before rotating it, a step not indicated by any arrows or instructions. Similarly, the electrical socket was on a hinge, allowing it to rotate down below the bumper level for easy access.

The Tow Test and Farm Duties

Despite the initial hitch installation challenges, the Defender 110 D300 proved its mettle when it came to towing. With its torquey D300 engine, it effortlessly handled towing tasks, even on steep and narrow lanes in the hilly terrain of the Brecon Beacons. The straight-six engine, producing nearly 500lb ft of torque from just 1,500rpm, made light work of inclines and standing starts with a heavy trailer in tow.

Its exceptional stability on the motorway, even in crosswinds, and its reassuring braking performance made it a formidable towing companion. This Defender showcased that it could rival commercial vehicles when it came to towing capabilities, surpassing pickup trucks in terms of stability and control.

The Defender’s Legacy

While the Land Rover Defender 110 D300 faced its share of mysteries and challenges, it left a lasting impression. Its reliability and versatility in both work and daily driving scenarios were commendable. Despite a few imperfections such as a compact boot and a somewhat rudimentary tonneau cover, it excelled in its primary role as a dependable workhorse.

Over 5,000 miles of diverse driving, including off-roading and demanding photoshoots, the Defender averaged 30mpg. Its performance remained consistent, and it never faltered, exceeding expectations in terms of reliability.

In retrospect, the Defender’s journey from skepticism to admiration serves as a testament to its capabilities and adaptability. The modern Defender has redefined its role, offering a blend of off-road prowess and on-road refinement. It has proved that, even in an ever-evolving automotive landscape, it has a place as a dependable and versatile workhorse.

As this chapter with the Land Rover Defender 110 D300 comes to a close, it leaves a message for skeptics: sometimes, reevaluating one’s perspective can lead to unexpected appreciation. The Defender stands as a compelling choice for those seeking a dependable, rugged, and thoroughly enjoyable driving experience, whether on the farm or beyond.


Exploring the 2023 Land Rover Defender 130: Off-Roading Luxury for Eight

Land Rover’s Defender range offers various trims, each catering to different preferences. If you’re wondering how Land Rover classifies its Defender trims, here’s a quick guide. The Defender 90, a charming two-door model, caters to a niche market. Then there’s the Defender 110, a more traditional two-row version. At the top of the hierarchy sits the Defender 130, the largest and most extended of the bunch. It’s the sole Defender with standard third-row seating, which comes with an extended rear overhang.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the Defender 130 is still quite a looker from most angles. It retains the same front fascia as the attractive 90 and 110 models, along with many of the same wheel and color choices. Additionally, the iconic square insert on the rear window is a design touch I find rather appealing.

However, when viewed from the side, the 130 takes on a somewhat ungainly appearance. The pronounced rear overhang starkly contrasts with the tight angles of the front end. This extra length also affects the Defender’s off-road capabilities, with the 130 boasting 24.5 degrees of departure compared to the 110’s 37.7 degrees. Nevertheless, it still outperforms vehicles like the Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro or GMC Yukon AT4 in this regard, albeit falling short of the stubbier 90 or 110.

But it’s not all downside. The extra length does translate into a surprisingly roomy third row. With 39.0 inches of headroom and 13.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row (a 3.0 cubic feet improvement compared to the regular Defender 110), the Defender 130 offers practicality.

The added length doesn’t compromise the driving experience either. It remains a comfortable SUV with responsive handling, powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine delivering 395 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. While a bit more power would be welcome, the 2024 model offers an optional supercharged V8 with 518 hp and 461 lb-ft for those who prioritize it.

Now, let’s address the cost. The Land Rover Defender 130 isn’t exactly budget-friendly. The base S model starts at $70,175 in the US, including the $1,475 destination fee. The vehicle we tested was a First Edition loaded with features, which brought the price to $92,725. However, if you need the extra passenger space and cargo room, this Defender is an excellent choice for larger families. Despite its added size, it remains a highly capable off-roader.