Scott Brady visits the Land Rover training grounds in North Carolina to evaluate the new Defender 130 SUV, which combined the capability of the Defender 90 and 110 with 13 inches of additional length aft of the rear axle. The 130 feels premium, while simultaneously being competitively priced with Sequoia, Yukon, Tahoe, Wagoneer, and Expedition. The advantage of the 130 is immediately apparent once leaving the pavement, with only the Sequoia TRD Pro having similar capability outcomes. This is due to the slightly narrower width of the 130, the advanced traction control (with available rear locker), and extended-travel / variable-height airbag suspension.
The interior of the Defender is intentionally minimalist (which we prefer) and functional for outdoor use. The extended length makes it even easier to sleep in the back, and there will also be a two-row model in 2023, which will allow for a near-flat load floor. The 130 also benefits from good payload numbers and auto-level in the airbags, which permits up to 1,763 pounds of payload, and a 300+ pound dynamic roof load rating. In testing, we found the limiting factor to be tires, which will perform poorly in all conditions short of dry pavement. Fortunately, tires are easy to swap out. The Defender 130 is also not available with the 18″ wheel package, which is an important consideration for both flotation and tire selection. Despite this, the Defender 130 is shockingly capable on the trail for such a large SUV, demonstrating good overall stability with impressive traction control intervention. The engine is adequate, and the cruising comfort excellent. The Defender 130 is likely to become the overlander’s model of choice, and we look forward to seeing them on the trail.
Land Rover https://www.landroverusa.com/index.html