2023 Land Rover Defender 130

The classic Land Rover Defender comes in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, so it's a tradition the new car does, too. In its debut, the Defender appeared as a four-door 110 and two-door 90, which is shorter in length but more attractive. The Defender 110 offers the option of an additional rear seat in the cargo area, though this is largely unhelpful. To create a true three-row seat package required a third body design, and we have that now with the elongated Defender 130.

We've been praising the design of today's Defender, which pulls off the no easy feat of looking utterly modern but is unmistakably linked to an off-road icon from the 1940s - that's true of both the Defender 90 and 110, but the extra length of the 130 (13.3 inches longer than the 110, 30.5 inches taller than the 90) changed proportions. (For some of us, it reminded us of the Jeep Grand Wagoneer L.) With the long rear overhang, it's conceivable that opening the side-hinged cargo door and placing a particularly heavy item on the rear cargo floor could be done by the Land Rover.

Of course, that would never happen, in part because the Defender itself is pretty heavy. At 5,931 lbs., our Defender 130 is 158 lbs heavier than the last Defender 110 to cross our scales.

The 130's engine width is trimmed from bottom to top, which means no turbocharged four-cylinder or V-8. Thus, what gets the Land Rover crowd excited is one of two 3.0-liter inline-six engines: the 296-horsepower P300 and the 395-horsepower P400. In most cases, it will be the P400, which is found in all but the lowest level.

The supercharged straight-six engine also has an electrically driven supercharger that effectively combats turbo lag. There is also a 48-volt engine-generator; Although there it is, restarting from an automatic stop-and-go system could be more flexible. The long-stroke throttle seems designed for careful adjustment in tough off-road situations with a restrained touch. Push beyond that, however, and this boosted six proves smooth and muscular. Paired with an excellent ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, it shrugs off an Avirdupois 130 and proves more than up to the task of powering our well-laden example. While the 2020 Defender 110 SE (same engine) takes 6.3 seconds to hit 60 and 14.8 seconds to go the quarter mile, this 130 supercharges to 60 mph in 6.2 clicks and shortens the quarter mile by 0.2 seconds. It is also rated to tow £8,200.

Unsurprisingly, the EPA estimates a grim 17 mpg city and 21 mpg city (with both engines), and in our 75-mph fuel economy test, the XL Landie drank a gallon of premium every 19 miles. That sounds bad, but it's actually 1 mpg better than our result with the Defender 110X with the same powertrain. We should note that the 110X comes with the Explorer Package, which includes a roof rack, snorkel and a side-mount rack.