2023 Land Rover Defender 130 Review: Park The Bus

Ben Chia

The Land Rover Defender gets lengthened into the Defender 130, transforming it into a no-nonsense, rugged and legitimate eight-people carrying bus

2023 Land Rover Defender 130

Launched: September 2023 – Price: S$558,999 with COE (October 2023)
Five door, large SUV, eight-seats
400hp, 3.0-litre twin-turbo in-line six petrol, VES C2, 12.3L/100km

A proper eight-seater
Lots of space inside
Imposing stance

Extra length makes it tricky to park

Photos: Ben Chia and Jay Tee


When you think of large luxury seven or eight-seater vehicles, the likely image that pops into your mind would probably be something like a Toyota Alphard or Vellfire. Or perhaps something like Hyundai’s plush Palisade SUV, if square boxes and sliding doors aren’t your thing. Certainly, at least, you wouldn’t imagine an eight-seater coming in the form of Land Rover’s rugged Defender off-roader.

But then this is 2023, and anything is possible, so here we have the Land Rover Defender 130, a lengthened version of the new-generation Defender that seats eight. The naming convention does need a bit of explaining, and essentially they hark back to the days of the old school Defender whereby the number denotes the approximate length of the wheelbase in inches. They’ve thus become a sort of legacy carryover on the new model, with no relation to reality, as the wheelbase on this particular car is actually 119 inches long (or 3,022mm in metric).

It’s not as though the standard Defender is a small car in any case. The regular five-door Defender 110 (which the 130 shares its wheelbase with) already measures in at slightly over 5 metres long. On the 130, the extra length, all of which comes in the rear overhang, puts the car in at a whopping 5,358mm long. Just for perspective, that’s longer than a Bentley Flying Spur, which is a pretty sizeable car in its own right. Needless to say, this Defender is simply massive.

The implications of that in Singapore manifests itself primarily during parking. Because of the length of the car, you need to be particularly careful when backing into a lot, especially so if there is a wall or something else (like another car) behind you. There is a reversing camera of course, but it is a little bit deceptive because of the externally-mounted spare wheel at the rear which contributes quite a bit to the car’s length. So ultimately you still need to use your eyes to watch out to prevent yourself from inadvertently bumping into something while reversing.

Of course, there are benefits to the added length as well, and that comes in the form of the extra third row of seats. And Land Rover is keen to emphasise that they are full-fledged passenger-carrying seats, rather than a ‘+2’ kind of arrangement that’s designed for kids or smaller-sized folks. We stuffed chief ed Lionel and senior writer Jay in the back during a lunch run, and they emerged still chummy and with their legs intact, so we’re taking Land Rover’s word for it. It’s a proper bench too, so that makes the 130 a legitimate eight-seater, one of the few such passenger cars to be available for general sale in Singapore.

They’re still on talking terms even after seating in the third row, so all is good

The rest of the car is broadly the same as the Defender 110, with the same no-nonsense rugged looks and imposing stance, just with a bit more at the rear end. Power comes from the 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six that produces 400hp and 550Nm of torque, and the engine is a pretty smooth operator, allowing you to make relatively brisk progress if you want. Ultimately though, there’s no escaping the car’s 2.5-tonne heft, and you’ll probably be best advised to use the power prudently lest you scare yourself with this giant brick of momentum.

It’s not a car for you to carve up B-roads either, certainly not least given its 2-metre width. It does have good body control and decent steering feel, but roll is definitely inevitable, and again you’ll probably be better off just taking it easy. In return, the Defender does offer a pretty cosseting and well-damped ride, thanks to its adjustable air suspension, and the car definitely feels much more at home cruising on the highways in a relaxed manner.

Certainly, at the very least, the Defender 130 is a bit of a left-field alternative for those who want a large people carrier, but also wants something with a bit of character. It’s quite a cool way to carry around eight people, and in rather a lot of comfort too given its mega-length and thus massive space inside. Whether you can cope with the associated issues of manoeuvring and parking it around town though is something that you’ll have to consider very carefully.

Land Rover Defender 130

Drivetrain TypePetrol engine
Engine2,996cc, in-line six, twin-turbocharged
Power400hp at 5500-6500rpm
Torque550Nm at 2000-5000rpm
Gearbox8-speed automatic
0-100km/h6.6 seconds
Top Speed191km/h
VES BandingC2 / +S$25,000
Fuel Efficiency12.3L/100km
AgentWearnes Automotive
PriceS$558,999 with COE
Verdict:Upsized Defender seats eight comfortably, but is a tricky car to park given its massive length


defender defender 130 eight-seater land rover SUV

About the Author

Ben Chia

CarBuyer's print editor went out to explore the Great Big World, including a stint working in China (despite his limited Mandarin). Now he's back, ready to foist upon you his takes on everything good and wonderful about the automotive world. Follow Ben on Instagram @carbuyer.ben

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