The Land Rover Defender is once again available in three bodystyles, as the 4x4’s line-up has been crowned with the longer, eight-seat 130 variant.
Land Rover bosses promised right from the start that – despite its more overtly upmarket focus than the utilitarian original – the second-generation Defender would be given a similar flexibility of purpose, courtesy of the same three-pronged model line-up: 90, 110 and 130.
The largest of the three is now official, with 340mm of extra length added behind the rear axle, rather than between the wheels as was the case for its predecessor. As a result, it is identical to the mid-sized 110 ahead of the C-pillar. Measuring 5358mm long overall, it is primed to take on the largest luxury SUVs on sale and is actually slightly longer than the BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz G-Class.
It has been on display alongside the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport at Goodwood Festival of Speed, as Land Rover showcases its luxurious new range-topping 4x4 models.
The extra length makes for a huge, 2516-litre load space with the two rows of back seats folded. That’s 953 litres more than offered by the 110 in the same configuration.
But more significant than that, it accommodates a new two-three-three seating layout as an option, which makes the Defender the only mainstream SUV in Europe capable of carrying more than seven occupants. In the UK, eight-seat layouts are currently the preserve of van-derived MPVs and people carriers.
The three rows in the eight-seat car are arranged in a ‘stadium’ format – whereby the middle and rearmost are slightly elevated – to enhance forward visibility. Land Rover says access to the rear seats is “effortless”, courtesy of a sliding and folding middle row, and three adults can travel in comfort back there with “generous head room”, heated seats, padded armrests, storage cubbies and USB-C ports. There is a second panoramic sunroof at the back of the car, too, so the interior is “light and airy for everyone”, and four-zone air conditioning can be equipped as an option.
Land Rover points out that because it has crafted a “subtle boat-tail uplift” of the lower body behind the rear wheels to make room for the extra space, the 130 has a departure angle of 28.5deg – lower than the 110’s 40deg but still competitive against its luxury off-roading rivals.
As with the range-topping V8 versions of the 90 and 110, the 130 comes as standard with the largest, 11.4in curved touchscreen in Land Rover’s portfolio, running the latest generation of the firm’s Pivi Pro software. The 130 can be had with a choice of new interior trim options, including chrome air vents and seat switches, oak veneer and tan leather seats.
It is available in a choice of five trims from launch: SE, HSE, X-Dynamic, X and limited-run First Edition – the last of which is offered in three “carefully curated” bespoke colour combinations and comes with the bulk of the option boxes ticked. All variants are equipped with adaptive air suspension, giving up to 430mm of articulation and, in its highest setting, a wading depth of 900mm.
Buyers also get a choice of three mild-hybridised powertrains, familiar from the shorter Defender models and each paired with an eightspeed ZF automatic gearbox. The P300 petrol straight six opens the line-up with 296bhp and 347lb ft, while the P400 brings hikes of 99bhp and 59lb ft and cuts the 0-62mph sprint from 8.0sec to 6.6sec. Diesel power comes in the form of the 296bhp, 479lb ft D300 straight six, which covers the 0-62mph sprint in 7.5sec.
There is no word yet on additional powertrain derivatives, but the 90 and 110 are each available with plug-in hybrid and performance-oriented V8 options.
Prices range from £73,895 for the entry-level petrol car and climb to £98,400 for the range-topping diesel, while the limited-run First Edition nudges the price just slightly over the £100,000 mark.
In the wings
Defender pick-up: Vehicle programmes boss Nick Collins has called an open-backed Defender “technically possible”. There’s no sign of a truck yet but the 130 shows how flexible this platform is.
Hot Defender “SVX”: While the 130 goes after the most luxurious SUVs, the upcoming Land Rover Defender ‘SVX’ will take on the fastest. Expect a ripsnorting V8, chunky off-road tyres and a £100k-plus price.
Luxury flagship and EV: In its bid to make the Defender name a standalone model line-up, Land Rover is plotting a luxury flagship based on the Range Rover’s MLA platform, paving the way for an EV.