2023 Land Rover Defender 130 Assessment


  • Clear, stately seems to be
  • Stellar off-road efficiency
  • Seating for eight


  • Thirsty
  • Plenty of wind noise
  • Elective adaptive cruise


The Defender 130 is a mighty package deal, and never simply because it is so large.

Adventures are higher with buddies. The grandest of surroundings seems to be finer when you’ve gotten somebody to share it with, probably the most grueling of hikes feels that rather more rewarding on the summit. It stands to cause, then, {that a} larger Defender able to hauling much more folks in much more consolation would provide a fair larger expertise than a smaller one.

And it does, for probably the most half. The Land Rover Defender 130 is actually grander, 13.4-inches longer than the 110 or a complete 30.6 greater than the 90, making room for a 3rd row of seats and probably seating eight adventure-seeking adults. 

However are the compromises and additional price price it?

Exterior design

The present design of the Land Rover Defender is three years outdated now however it nonetheless seems to be recent, riddled with styling cues which can be curiously fashionable for a machine making such a robust heritage play, drawing on 70-odd years of legacy and containing simply sufficient throwback touches to look acquainted. It’s unattainable to have a look at this and never really feel prepared to move out into the wilderness.

It’s an SUV that attracts the eyes and holds it, beginning with the headlights that shine out from what seems to be to be a disapproving forehead. The beneficiant aluminum guard up entrance will preserve the worst of the comb off the paint and plastic whereas the excessive rear bumper and exhaust promote this factor’s 28.5-degree departure angle. That’s down from 40 levels on the Defender 90 and 37.5 on the 110, although the method angle of 37.5 is similar on all three and the ramp angle is simply 0.3 levels off from the Defender 110. In different phrases, you’re actually not giving up that a lot off-road efficiency for the additional size.

You do hand over some design purity. The aspect profile of the 130 is beneficiant, wanting each bit the sixteen-foot-long SUV that it’s, particularly parked subsequent to a Defender 110. It seems to be like all the additional size comes aft of the rear axle as a result of it does, each sharing the identical 119-inch wheelbase. 

However, some sacrifices have to be made within the identify of practicality, and within the case of the 130, that practicality comes within the type of inner quantity.

Inside design

Third-row seating is the 130’s hallmark. Getting again there’s a bit awkward, because the second row solely slides ahead just a few inches, leaving a slim hole to duck via. That, plus the peak of the Defender, means these headed to the way-back may have a lift. However, when you get there it’s surprisingly comfy. I’m six-feet tall and I had loads of headroom and shoulder room.

There’s even good visibility from the third row, due to beneficiant aspect home windows and even a separate sunroof overhead. Shock, being relegated to the third row right here isn’t fairly the torture you might need anticipated.

Issues get higher as you journey ahead. The second row seats are simply that bit extra spacious, sliding and reclining or, in the event you want the utmost 76.1 cubic ft of cargo house, folding flat together with the third row. Go away all of the seats up, although, and there’s only a token little bit of storage behind the rear seats, sufficient for a run to the grocery retailer and never a lot else. 

On this SE trim Defender 130, second-row occupants have their very own local weather controls, however no heated seats and never even a token USB port for charging. They do, nonetheless, get some solar from the second, panoramic sunroof. 

Up entrance is the perfect place to be, energy captains chairs with reminiscence providing good help and lots sufficient adjustability that you may drop them down low when motoring on the freeway or hike them up when hitting the paths for just a little higher perspective over the hood. 

The general inside design is purposefully chunky and mechanical, with loads of uncovered Torx screws, seize rails all over the place, and so many little storage compartments that you just’re certain to gather a minimum of just a few of your pals’ smartphones with each journey. Up entrance there’s a pair of USB ports, one A and one C, together with a separate Qi wi-fi charging port, making the most of the wi-fi Android Auto and Apple CarPlay right here.

These are displayed on a 11.4-inch, widescreen infotainment show that could be a good dimension, working Land Rover’s newest Pivi Professional infotainment expertise. It has a clear, darkish aesthetic and provides loads of performance, maybe most necessary being an countless collection of shows exhibiting every part from angle of inclination to wading depth. 

The gauge cluster can also be absolutely digital, located behind a steering wheel with a leather-based wrapped rim and what seems like a metallic heart, powder coated white. The colour distinction and the stout really feel of the fabric are an awesome match for what this machine can do.

On the street

The Defender 130 is an enormous, tall, off-road targeted SUV and so that you’d be readily forgiven for pondering it’d have all of the dealing with prowess of a freighter, however you’d be flawed. To be honest, it isn’t a machine that likes to be rushed. Flip the steering wheel to enter a flip and also you’ll end up reaching for extra rotation earlier than the Defender reluctantly involves your required line. However, relaxed dealing with doesn’t imply unhealthy.

Air suspension lifts the Defender 130 as much as 11.5 inches of floor clearance when off-road. For on-road responsibility, it additionally supplies nice compliance. The 130 doesn’t skitter and soar throughout tough surfaces at velocity like older Defenders, a minimum of partly due to the fashionable, unibody building and the impartial suspension. It’s a genuinely nice commuter.

At increased speeds there’s a good bit of wind noise, which ought to come as no shock given the final form of this factor. It’s additionally fairly inclined to cross-winds, additionally predictable given its prodigious cross-section. The 700 watt, 14-speaker Meridian sound system is greater than able to dealing with the wind noise, although the lane-keep-assist is rather less ready in the case of addressing the wandering. I discovered it unreliable on something however broad, well-marked highways. 

Nevertheless it’s a high quality freeway cruiser, a lot so that you just may neglect even this up-sized 130 is happiest whereas wading via the muck and the mire. With everlasting all-wheel-drive bolstered by locking heart and rear differentials plus a two-speed switch case, the Defender is a legit performer in even the worst of circumstances.

That’s all pushed by Land Rover’s 3.0-liter inline-six engine, in both P300 trim with 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, or P400, which steps issues as much as 395 hp and 406 lb-ft due to a light hybrid system. These are good numbers, however with this factor tipping the scales at over 5,500 kilos, there’s quite a lot of mass to maneuver.

The Defender 130 with the P400 accelerates capably, even at freeway speeds. The eight-speed auto shifts easily and, whereas it isn’t probably the most aggressive at downshifting for acceleration, does a superb job of grabbing the best cog with out giving anybody within the automobile whiplash. I noticed 19.5 mpg in my testing, proper on par with the 17 metropolis, 21 freeway, and 19 mixed EPA estimates.

Drive modes are accessed via the left knob within the heart console, which does triple-duty because the HVAC temperature knob and, with a push, additionally cycles seat heating and air flow settings. Nudge the drive mode toggle and this wheel additionally helps you to scroll (slowly) via seven completely different drive modes, beginning with the standard Eco and Consolation then ranging into wilder stuff like Sand and Wade. Not ok? 4 separate customized Terrain Response modes await your tinkering, specifying how sturdy you need the engine to be, how agency you want your steering, and exactly how a lot wheelspin you need. 

It’s maybe a bit a lot, however then that’s what this factor is all about.

Pricing and choices

If you happen to’re seeking to purchase a Defender you’ve gotten quite a lot of selections to make. First in fact is which size, with the shortest, the Defender 90, beginning at $55,100. The larger Defender 110 truly begins at a cheaper price $53,500, whereas this man, the Defender 130, begins at $68,000 for the S mannequin.

However, if you need the extra highly effective P400 engine, you’ll must step as much as the SE, which begins at $78,300, including on another niceties like 20-inch wheels and LED headlights. From there you’ve gotten your selection of 9 exterior colours, 4 upholstery choices, and an countless configuration of inside trims and tweaks. Tick all of the packing containers, add on all of the superior off-road and towing options, and also you’ll be into the six-figure territory.

All Defenders have a complete lively security package deal together with computerized emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep help, and a rear cross-traffic alert. Sadly, including adaptive cruise prices a whopping $1,200. 

This Defender SE had the $750 Advance Off-Street Functionality Pack, giving these configurable drive modes, plus $1,700 in inside upgrades together with these 18-way adjustable seats. $700 for the Chilly Local weather Pack, and one other few styling choices plus a $700 tow hitch receiver and $1,475 vacation spot cost meant an $88,025 remaining worth.

Choosing the 130 does imply making some sacrifices in the case of on-road manners and supreme off-road efficiency, however Land Rover’s greatest SUV doesn’t come up brief in both division, powering via terrain that would depart many lesser SUVs caught whereas carrying a full household plus canine and cargo. It’s a mighty package deal, and never simply because it’s so large.