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.