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Land Rover Defender 130 Review: Lengthened Landie

We explore how the biggest Land Rover we’ve tested fares on our roads
Joel Foo
Joel Foo
12 Nov 2023

What we like:
Fantastic looks that pay homage to the original
Unique and has great road presence
Commodious cargo space
Feature packed
What we dislike:
You’ll need to cater extra time to look for a suitable parking space

I started to miss the Land Rover Defender 130 almost immediately after returning it at the end of our media test stint. I would pin it down to its rough-and-tumble, go-anywhere looks and capabilities that provide a warm sense of assurance and reliability that I would miss. This is opposite to first impressions of the 130, as I thought it would be cumbersome to move around our small island in. But Land Rover has somehow made this Defender really easy to live with - let me tell you more.

How big is the Defender 130?

Yes, you got that right, it was the Defender 130’s size that is most striking at first glance. Coming in at 5,358 mm, the 130 is 340 mm longer than the 110 model which we tested earlier in the year. For reference, that is more than 1 cm longer than the Mercedes Benz S450L or EQS which come in at 5290 mm and 5216 mm respectively.

For the Land Rover historians out there, I must caveat that the 130 is a successor in spirit to the original 130, as the figure does not represent its wheelbase length, unlike that of the original Defenders. The L663 Defender 130 instead shares its wheelbase with the 110 model and the difference in body length comes from its extended rear overhang.

Is the Defender 130 too big?

Remarkably, it doesn’t feel as big as the figures suggest. On-road manners are very similar to the Defender 110. It definitely feels wider than most cars today, and you have a majestic view of the road.

Only when it is time to find a parking spot do you really feel the squeeze. Standing tall at 1970 mm, one needs to be mindful especially if you frequent CBD parking lots where 1.9 m height restrictions are commonplace.

Is the Defender 130 a hybrid?

In some sense, yes. The Defender 130 is powered by the same P400 3.0-litre twin-turbo mild hybrid petrol engine that you will find in the 110 model. With 400 bhp and 500 Nm of torque, the straight-six block produces sufficient grunt to haul this 2.5 tonne SUV around. It is extremely smooth in delivering power, and manages the century sprint in 8.0 seconds, a surprising figure for a vehicle of its heft and footprint.

You’ll definitely feel its weight when at the helm of the 130. Being quite softly sprung, the laws of physics are hard to escape and inertia is definitely felt through the bends and under heavy braking. But being more luxuriously appointed than the original 130, these traits give the 130 a cruise liner-like ride, with an uncanny ability to steam roll over bumps and humps on the road.

How many seats are in the Land Rover Defender 130?

The Defender 130 sits 8, in a 2+3+3 configuration. With the extra 340mm of overhang, the third row of seats is able to accommodate 3 persons of average build comfortably. Passengers sitting in the second and third rows benefit from a stadium rise, giving an unblocked view of the road ahead.

Even if you don’t intend to utilise the 130 for its people-carrying abilities for most of the time, the 130 offers a vast 2,516 litres of cargo space when all 3 rows of seats are folded down. What I really liked was that from the rear, you are able to lower the 130’s Electronic Air Suspension at a touch of a button to ease lifting of heavy loads.

Should you get the Defender 130?

If you are looking for an alternative to the regular people carrying MPVs that commonly ply our Singapore roads, the Defender 130 definitely hits the note as a luxurious offering that stands out from the crowd.

It has a fantastic number of features that come as standard, like its 3D Surround Camera, a Wade Sensing function and a configurable Terrain Response system. There are also touches of luxury, like its crisp 11.4-inch Pivi Pro Touchscreen infotainment system and 10-speaker Meridian Sound System, which elevates the Defender to modern standards.

Combined with an exterior design that pays homage to the original Land Rover that we all grew up with, the Defender 130 makes for a unique proposition if you are looking for something that is a bit different from the typical SUV that you see on the roads.


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Photos by New Gen Marketing

Land Rover
Defender 130
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