The Land Rover Defender: now even longer.

Remaking an icon brings with it equal chances of success and failure, although more often than not it’s the latter not the former. After all, we’re no longer drinking New Coke, or McDonald’s hamburgers made from seaweed. That said, no one is very sure exactly what a McDonald’s patty is actually comprised of. Best not to know.

But kudos to Land Rover for its newest Defender, a present-day play on the celebrated off-roader that’s as capable as the archaic model it replaced.

While some mourn the loss of the previous rendition, its classicism stems from the lack of sales and funds to meaningfully change it. This was no grand plan. But the Defender’s newest rendition, with the latest technology and a form that respects the original without slavishly copying it, is a masterful reworking. 

The re-do has proven popular. It is Land Rover’s second-most popular model in the U.S. in 2021 with sales of 19,413 units; only the Range Rover Sport outsold it last year with sales of 22,090 units. In fact, the Defender outsold the entire Jaguar line-up in 2021 by 2,081 units.


The Land Rover Defender 130’s face is unchanged from its shorter siblings.

Until now, this newest Defender came as the two-door 90 or four-door 110. But now comes the Defender 130, where an additional 13.38 inches of rear overhang allows for another row of seats, although its 119-inch wheelbase is shared with the Defender 110. The Defender 130 comes in P300 and P400 trim, although they differ in more than equipment, they also boast different drivelines. Yet all boast the Defender’s legendary off-road athleticism.


What a difference an addition 13+ inches make. If you thought the Defender 90 and 110 had different demeanors despite their identical proboscises, the 130 seems different yet again. While the original Defender was remade into any number of variants, including a really rad pickup, it still remained recognizably a Defender as its size didn’t noticeably change. But the Defender 130’s additional inches brings with it a conspicuously different proportion and silhouette. Its people friendly/cargo friendly size makes it more acceptable on the cul-de-sac, but lends it more of a family truckster profile. Certainly it feels further removed from the original concept. 


The instrument panel is identical to other Defender models.

The added inches are most welcome inside, allowing for comfortable seating for eight. As with any three-row vehicle, the third row is best for the young, young-at-heart or exceptionally limber. But once ensconced it proves adequate. The second row is as accommodating as it is in the 110. Standard sunroof for the second and third rows, in addition to the one up front. Fit and finish is as finely crafted as it is in any Defender. 

But unlike other models, the 130 isan’t available with second-row captain’s chairs or the three-person front bench seat. And surprisingly, the vehicle lacks a flat load floor when the second and third row seats are folded. But it will hold nearly 18 cubic feet of cargo when the seats are folded; 13.7 cubic feet when they’re not.


Power comes courtesy of two mild hybrid 3.0-liter turbocharged inline 6-cylinder powertrains. In the case of the P300, it provides 296 horsepower and 347 pound-feet of torque and runs 0-60 mph in 7.5 seconds. In the P400, expect 396 hp, 406 lb-ft of torque and reaching in 6.3 seconds. Both trims come with standard all-wheel drive, a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission, electronic air adaptive suspension with adaptive dynamics and Land Rover’s Terrain Response system. 

When it comes time to tow, you’ll find the Defender 130 can yank 8,200 pounds and carry 1,760 pounds of people and stuff. The roof can hold 360 pounds while moving, 661 pounds when parked, making it an ideal camping perch.

The seats fold, but do not form a flat floor.

Safety and technology

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has rated the crashworthiness of the Land Rover Defender 130. Driver assistance safety systems include Adaptive cruise control, emergency braking, lane-keep assist, blind-spot assist, traffic sign recognition, driver condition monitor, rear collision monitor, rear traffic monitor, and parking assist.

When it comes to tech, wireless device charging and the latest version of Land Rover’s Pivi Pro infotainment system on a standard 11.4-inch touchscreen.

Driving Impressions

The added length does call for care off-road. As you might expect, the added length brings with it a change in off-road agility. Approach angle is 37.5 degrees, departure angle 28.5 degrees and breakover angle 27.8 degrees. That compares with the 90 and 110’s approach angle of 30 degrees, departure angle 37.6 degrees (90) 37.7 degrees (110), and breakover angle of 24.2 degrees (90) and 22 degrees (110). Opt for the air suspension and you can wade through 35.4 inches of water. But choosing the standard suspension is no penalty; it can still tackle 33.4 inches of tide. 

The extra length doesn’t appreciably change its capability.

Few vehicles can equal the Land Rover Defender 130 for pure skill when it comes to navigating undeveloped territory, crossing streams, climbing over rock beds, descending steep hillsides, or plowing through mud bogs. But, baby got back, so while cornering off-road, you must be aware of its entire length while navigating around a sizable jagged rock or topping a hill. The handling appears to be perfectly balanced for such delicate off-road maneuvers.

Even with its additional weight that the extra length adds, performance feels the same as it does with any other Defender. But its behavior is unaltered. It still has the wheel articulation required for intense rock crawling, yet it provides a comfortable ride on the road without using excessive side-to-side showmanship thanks to a standard air springs and an adaptive suspension that insolates riders from uncivilized road surfaces. When dealing with serious off-road work, the steering is ideally weighted and precise, but there’s no hiding its size.

And it’s quiet — unlike some of your passengers.

2023 Land Rover Defender 130 Specifications

DimensionL: 211 inches/W: 79 inches/H: 77.6 inches/Wheelbase: 119 inchesWeight5,930 poundsPowertrain3.0-liter turbocharged inline 6-cylinder mild hybrid, 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel driveFuel Economy17 mpg city/21 mpg highway/19 mpg combinedPerformance Specs395 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torquePriceBase price: $84,700; As tested: $92,075 including $1,475 destination chargeOn-Sale DateAvailable now

Wrap Up

The 2023 Land Rover Defender takes a good thing and stretches it to new lengths — literally. It certainly adds passenger space. But for those who will venture off-road, consider if the extra bulk is truly worth it. But for denizens of the cul-de-sac, it is definitely the finest in driveway accessories and a fine family hauler of the first order.

2023 Land River Defender 130 ­— Frequently Asked Questions

How much is a 2023 Land Rover Defender 130?

The 2023 Land Rover Defender 130 SE starts at $78,300.

When can I order the Defender 130?

Right now.

Is Defender 130 longer than Defender 110?

Yes, by more than 13 inches.

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