EXCLUSIVE REVIEW: Land Rover Defender 130: The real big daddy of SUVs


JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE Land Rover Defender 130 is longer, larger, tougher and more luxurious than its predecessors. The latest version in the sport utility vehicles (SUVs) family has set tongues wagging across the world, including South Africa. The Defender 130 SUV is an automatic, intelligent machine, which is well nitty-gritted with electronics.

Initially, I was not a fan of the Defender. That changed when I test-drove the new one. I love it. Whether I was driving on national highways, malls, national parks and of course on dusty roads, this new machine captured the imagination of onlookers and fellow motorists.

For some reason, they likened the Defender 130 SUV to the American Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade. Apart from its toughness on high terrain, it is almost like a Limousine class car. If its predecessors – Defenders 90 and 110 – successfully made an impact during their heyday, then the Defender SUV 130 is out of this world. It is altogether a new creature, which is a different beast that completely differs with its predecessor in anything.

I find it more impressive in performance, even driving in the most difficult terrains of the Vaal. The Defender 130 seems to be more reliable than its market rivals. It is the most practical and value-for-money SUV I have ever test driven. As compared to other SUVs, the car is not overpriced. Yet it trumps them in terms of new technology, safety, security and luxury.

The Defender 130 has premium luxury in this segment and its off-road capabilities are brilliant to an extent the driver would always enjoy the off-roading with such a vehicle. It is practically a brilliant car worth purchasing. I have driven other SUVs before. I rate the Defender 130 as one of the best, especially for adventure.


FRIDGE: The Defender 130 boasts a small refrigerator that caters for the driver and seven other passengers. If bothered by the heat but reluctant to switch on the powerful air conditioner, cold drinks are an option.

BOOT SPACE: This vehicle is an eight-seater, and seats can be flipped to increase the boot space. Folding the three back seats will not rob passengers of their luxurious space. The Defender 130 is a perfect SUV with the third row, which is a definite boot space to make passengers feel more comfortable.

SPACIOUS: The space is quite remarkable. Passengers, drivers, all feel ease in the comfort of this new Defender 130. Up front, the driver and passenger partner would enjoy an 11.4-inch touchscreen upfront, which comes with the spacious upfront. Passengers in the middle also enjoy sufficient legroom. Equally, the back or last row also has three seats that can accommodate adults without any pressure. It boasts more space for resting or sleeping.

INTERIOR DESIGN: The interior part is not flashy, but I love the set-up – the screen size. It has loads of space, which houses all the features that would make the driver very comfortable when behind the steering wheel. With a third row of seating, Defender 130 offers space for up to eight passengers. While inside, unique details elevate the design even further.

I’m referring to playing your music, making calls and receiving phone calls while driving, all hands-free. You can enjoy drinks (non-alcoholic obviously) while driving and answering calls. The electronic system is dependable. It makes driving exciting.

EXTERIOR DESIGN: An instantly recognizable silhouette enhanced through supremely realized design. The Defender 130 combines form with function to achieve a commanding presence. There is a lot of electronics software on the Defender 130. The electronic system can always alert or tell the driver about the car’s surroundings.

CHARGERS: There are USB chargers, heated seats, air conditioning, padded elbow rests and cup holders underscoring the fact that the rear seats aren’t there merely to fit in an extra bum.

NAVIGATION: It boasts the feature for the global location platform, what3words, that allows accurate navigation by dividing the globe into a grid of 57 trillion 3mx3m squares, each with a unique easy-to-remember three-word address. The integrated technology allows what3words addresses to be input directly to the navigation bar on the Pivi Pro system or via the connected car app, working alongside the existing HERE connected navigation and mapping software.

The 11.4″ Touchscreen and increased brightness of the curved glass interface displays more of the route ahead when navigating to your destination.

PETROL / DIESEL: The petrol mill is good for 294kW and 550 Nm of torque and will get to 100km/h in a throaty 6.6 seconds while the diesel has 221kW and 650Nm reaching 100km/h in 7.5 seconds.

IMPOSING PRESENCE: Measuring in at an impressive 211 inches from its nose to the spare wheel, its expansive design demands attention both off and on road. The Defender 130 is the ultimate combination of space and capability, designed to let you drive like you mean it.

DESIGN DETAILS: Incredibly spacious, the interior of the Defender 130 has been designed to create a purposeful yet elegant interior, with added design touches such as Noble Chrome details and a wooden veneer.

LUXURY LEATHERS: Available in a range of options, including Vintage Tan and Light Oyster perforated Windsor leather in the Defender 130 are breathable, durable, and comfortable.

PRICING: If you thought the pricing would kill, forget, the new Defender 130 SUV ranges from R1 749 968 (D300 X-Dynamic HSE), R1 754 368 (D300 First Edition), R1 920 468 (D300 X), R1 794 352 (P400 X-Dynamic HSE), R1 798 752 (P400 First Edition) and R1 969 952 for the P400 X.

VERDICT: After test driving for a week, my conclusion is that the Defender 130 is the real big daddy of SUVs. I have no doubt, as the year progresses, the Land Rover Defender 130 SUV shall prove its mettle if not turn out to be the most sought-after car in South Africa, Southern African Development Community (SADC), the entire African continent and globally.


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