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Car Review

Land Rover Defender 130 review

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Published: 11 Mar 2024
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A behemoth of a car, but one bestowed with genuine practicality and actual off-road ability

Good stuff

Genuine seating for eight, all the off-road smarts, glorious grunt in the V8

Bad stuff

Doesn’t really fit on UK roads (or in car parks), that V8 drinks fuel for fun

Overview

What is it?

It’s the Land Rover Defender 130 – essentially a Defender 110 with an extra chunk of bodywork plonked on the back and some more seats. And here ends this review.

Just kidding, although that isn’t exactly an inaccurate description of the 130.

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Can I have a bit more background, please?

Of course. Despite the 90 and 110 versions of the new-age Defender breaking cover way back in September 2019, it wasn’t until May 2022 that we first saw the extender-Defender that is the 130. 

The wheelbase is exactly the same as the 110’s, but there’s an extra 340mm of body added on to create the extra room – the result being seating for eight adult-sized humans. Probably worth remembering here that the 110 can be had with five, six or seven seats, while the 90 maxes out at a slightly squished six if you spec the front jump seat.

It looks… interesting?

Yeah, the 130 certainly isn’t the most elegant thing. Viewed from side-on that extra length makes it look rather ungainly. Darker colours do hide the shape slightly better, which is a shame because we spend our lives telling people to buy colourful cars. 

Anyway, from the front and rear at least the looks are all standard new Defender. You’ll no doubt have your own opinions on this, but we really rather like the modern remake. 

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What powertrains can I have?

Great question. When the 130 was first revealed it was only available with six cylinders and mild-hybrid assist. You can still have those options (P300 and P400 petrols and a D300 diesel), but now you can also have a whacking great V8 if you so wish. We do wish.

All 130s get an eight-speed auto gearbox, and it’s worth noting there’s no plug-in hybrid option so you’ll have to stick to the 110 if you’re desperate for a small amount of all-electric range.

How much will it cost me?

At the time of writing the 130 range kicks off at £73,850. There’s more info over on the buying tab of this review, but if you’re willing to spend a frankly bonkers amount of money, you should be aware that 130 V8 prices start at £117,475.

Can it still go off-road?

More of this over on the driving tab, but Land Rover couldn’t risk ruining the Defender’s reputation by having the people-carrying version let the side down off-road. As a result, it has all the tricks and electronics of its smaller siblings, so it’s mightily impressive when you reach the rough stuff. 

Want to see exactly what that means? Click here to watch what happened when we took a then-new 110 across Namibia

Our choice from the range

What's the verdict?

A behemoth of a car, but one bestowed with genuine practicality and actual off-road ability

If you like the Defender 110, you may not actually be that keen on the looks of the 130. It’s the new Defender stretched to within an inch of its life, but once you’re over the initial shock of the side profile there’s a fantastically competent car underneath.

With seating for eight people it’s clearly hugely practical, but it’s also still a desirable object to own and – particularly with the supercharged V8 engine – a bit of a riot to drive. You’ll be able to spot the V8 by its quad exhausts, 22-inch wheels and lovely Alcantara steering wheel.

Unless you’re okay with a miles per gallon figure in the teens though, we’d probably recommend the sensible D300 diesel. It’ll do everything a 110 would off-road (with only a slight compromise to the departure angle) and might even be more imperious on-road. Just make sure you leave plenty of time to squeeze into a parking space at the end of each journey. 

The Rivals

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