The current-generation Land Rover Defender is a very desirable SUV if you’ve got the cash to splash. Why so? Well, apart from its gorgeous styling that won the 2021 World Car Design award, it is also one of the most iconic and capable off-roaders in the world.
The vehicle is also offered in a few different body styles and engine options, such as the adorable short-wheelbase, three-door Defender 90, the regular-wheelbase, five-door Defender 110, and more recently, the long-wheelbase Defender 130 variant that’ll allow you to carry around your family or extra cargo as you brave the outdoors (or the parking lot of a high-end mall).
The third body style is finally here, as Land Rover Philippines invited us to have a preview of the extra-long off-roader.
At first glance, you’re looking at mostly the same Defender, albeit with an extended rear end to accommodate the extra space needed for cargo or the third row of seats. There’s a mildly redesigned rear end and a panoramic sunroof (sorry, no more “alpine windows” here). It looks kind of odd when you view it side by side with the smaller 110, but on its own, it still manages to turn heads.
The one you see here is painted in the Defender 130-exclusive finish of Sedona Red with silver accents on the body cladding and the skid plates (called the Extended Bright Pack), which looks more regal than rugged, especially with the 22-inch wheels fitted to both units on display. You’ll probably want to get smaller wheels if you plan to bring this off-road.
Inside, you won’t be seeing that much of a difference from the regular Defender’s luxurious cabin that is still upholstered with leather and soft-touch plastics—the latter of which is necessary if you plan to go off the beaten path and dirty up the cabin.
New to this is the enlarged 11.4-inch touchscreen running the latest Pivi Pro operating system. It features over-the-air updates, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and pushes out audio through an optional 10-speaker Meridian sound system.
The biggest question most buyers will have is just how useful the extended rear end is. In five-seater form, you can carry up to 2,516L of cargo. But most will probably go for the eight-seater. Here are the official capacities:
- Up to 2,291L with all seats down
- Up to 1,232L with the third row down
- Up to 389L with all seats up
According to Land Rover, you should be able to comfortably fit three adults at the back behind the second-row seats, and just as I found out, it was surprisingly roomy for someone of my frame (5’10”), but do be warned that getting in and out of the third row is a bit of an awkward ordeal.
It was also capable of comfortably accommodating Coventry Motors head Chris Ward and my colleague for a quick video, making this great for bringing the boys out on a camping trip.
For powertrain choices, Land Rover is offering it locally with the 3.0-liter in-line-six turbodiesel. These are still mated to the eight-speed ZF automatic transmission with power being sent to all four wheels with a twin-speed transfer box.
Despite the added length of 340mm behind the rear axle, it’s still a capable off-roader with the Terrain Response system and the standard air suspension, but the approach, departure, and break-over angles have all been (understandably) affected compared to the Defender 110 (37.5°, 28.5° and 27.8°, respectively).
It is still capable of wading up to 900mm of water, and has 290mm of ground clearance (in off-road mode). And you’ll be relying on the digital rearview mirror and the 360° camera system most of the time to keep this large SUV dent-free.
Considering owners of the latter won’t let it touch anything more than tarmac (even if it is capable) and the former can’t slog through uneven terrain as easily as the Defender, we’re sure that the target niche will love the extra capabilities that the stretched Defender brings to the table.