We spied the three-row Land Rover Defender for the first time in August last year when we saw a camouflaged prototype testing on public roads. It hinted at the changes planned for the most capable off-roader in the British company’s lineup in its transition towards a more family-friendly machine. Today, the Defender 130 debuts with seats for up to eight passengers, rich standard equipment, and two available electrified engines in the United States.
Sold in S, SE, X-Dynamic SE, and X trim levels, as well as a First Edition model, the longest Defender in history has been extended by 13.38 inches at the back, which is mostly visible in the extended rear overhang. It provides more room inside the cabin for the third row of seats giving the rugged SUV a 2+3+3 seating configuration. The cargo space also benefits from the extended dimensions and now offers up to 80.9 cubic feet (2,291 liters) of storage with the second and third rows of seats folded. In a five-seat configuration, the Defender 130 has 43.5 cu ft (1,232 liters) of load area.
Gallery: 2023 Land Rover Defender 130
Land Rover says the third row of seats can comfortably accommodate up to three adults with generous headroom available on all eight seats. Each row gets its own ventilation system and there’s an optional four-zone climate control exclusive to the Defender 130. Getting into the third row is effortless, the automaker promises, thanks to the foldable and moving second row of seats. Loading stuff into the trunk is made easier too thanks to a button in the load area which controls the SUV’s air suspension.
The standard equipment of the Defender 130 includes a 10.25-inch infotainment screen and an 11.4-inch instrument cluster display (standard on the X specification). Making its debut on a Defender is the Cabin Air Purification Plus system, which uses a patented technology for reduction and pathogen removal of nanoparticles eliminating odors and viruses. New color combinations and trim finishes are available exclusively on the three-row Defender.
Powering the Defender 130 in the United States is a range of two electrified gas engines - no V8 is available for the time being. The P300 is the base model with a 3.0-liter mild-hybrid turbocharged mill with 296 horsepower (218 kilowatts) and 347 pound-feet (470 Newton-meters) of torque between 1,500 and 4,250 rpm. Above it is the P400 with a more powerful version of the six-cylinder engine, generating 395 hp (290 kW) and 406 lb-ft (550 Nm) between 2,000 and 5,000 rpm. Every Defender 130 comes fitted with Land Rover’s all-wheel-drive system and an eight-speed automatic transmission developed by ZF. Also standard on every Defender 130 is air suspension and the Terrain Response system.
Needless to say, the Defender 130 is very capable on and off the road. It can tow up to 8,200 pounds (3,720 kilograms) and has a maximum payload capacity of 1,760 lbs (798 kg). If you see potential in the eight-seat Defender as an overlanding vehicle, you should probably know its maximum roof load is 662 lbs (300 kg) when the vehicle is static and 360 lbs (163 kg) when in motion.
The new Defender 130 can already be ordered in the United States with a starting price of $68,000 without destination and delivery taxes.