The Land Rover Defender has always been a capable off-road vehicle and, since its introduction in the 1980s, has usually been available in three sizes. The latest version had been a departure from that, offered only in a 2-door Defender 90 and a 4-door Defender 110 with two genuine rows of seats and a third-row jump seat usable in a pinch.
No more. The real 3-row Defender is here.
Land Rover today debuted the 2023 Defender 130 – a genuine 8-seat SUV with more cargo space but nearly the same off-road prowess.
The Defender 130 S will start at $68,000 plus a $1,350 destination charge. But Land Rover is famous for its extensive trim and option choices. The most expensive 130 – the Defender X – starts at $99,900.
Long Rear Changes Off-Road Dynamics
The 130 is 13.4 inches longer than the 110, with all of the added space found in the rear.
Not only does this give it an awkwardly long rear overhang, it also gives it the same approach and breakover angles as the smaller 110, but with a departure angle of just 28.5 degrees. That’s a full 12 degrees less than the 110 and a serious impediment to the sort of off-road driving Land Rover advertises the Defender as enjoying.
Real Third Row Worth the Trade-Off
However, the trade-off will be worth it for many buyers. It’s fairly rare for a driver to need a great departure angle and far more common to need storage space or usable third-row seats. The 130 has both, with third-row passengers getting nearly the same legroom as second-row riders. Even with the rear seats in place, the 130 offers nearly 14 cubic feet of storage space. Fold the third row down and you’ll create 43.5. With the second row folded, that total grows to a cavernous 80.9 cubic feet.
Designers didn’t throw in the third-row seats as an afterthought, either. They are raised stadium-style and include air vents and USB-C ports, so third-row passengers are treated as well as those in the second seats. Heated and ventilated third-row seats are optional.
V6, Mild Hybrid Only
The 130 loses the curved roof-edge windows that mark other Defender models. In their place is a big panoramic glass roof.
It also loses the turbocharged 4-cylinder and supercharged V8 engine options available in the other Defender models. A mild-hybrid turbocharged inline-6 engine powers every 130. The P300 model gets 296 horsepower from the setup. The P400 option gets 395.
Both versions come exclusively in all-wheel-drive (AWD). A standard electronic air suspension provides 16.9 inches of articulation and can be raised 2.8 inches for wading.
The Queen Gets Her Own (For the Red Cross)
Land Rover may be owned by India’s Tata Motors today, but it retains its British spirit. The company notes that to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee, “Land Rover is gifting Her Majesty and the British Red Cross a specially commissioned New Defender 130 to support operations in the UK.”