The new Defender is getting its big boy pants with the new Defender 130 just announced and confirmed by Land Rover – with up to eight seats and a bigger cargo area. The new vehicle, strategically "leaked" to the press today by Land Rover executives, will be here within 18 months – by the summer of 2022.
The new Defender 130 will be a bit different from the original, which gained its length in its wheelbase and was by far most common in crew cab pickup guise. This time, the wheelbase will be the same as the Defender 110 at 119 inches, with an extra 14 inches added behind the rear wheels for a length overall of 201 inches. The vehicle will only be available in station wagon format. Think of it as the Chevy Suburban to the Defender 110’s Tahoe. In fact, the D130 will end up being about the size a Tahoe was for decades until that truck grew substantially with its 2021 update.
This fills a market niche that Land Rover has long neglected, and one that’s profitable in America and other regions. The D130 will seat up to eight, with more cargo space behind the third row than in the Defender 110. Though the D110 also has a third row, it’s somewhat cramped; expect the D130 to be bigger and more comfortable for adults in the way-back. This is a boon for Land Rover, which only has the Discovery 5 to offer for those looking for a proper three-row SUV.
The Defender 130 is expected to be a success in America, China, and the Middle East. All of these areas are big fans of big cars and Land Rovers, and have never had the two combined in quite this way.
There are also indications from Land Rover that they are interested in developing a Defender pickup. Earlier in the Defender’s development, this was considered a bit unlikely, as it would require serious engineering with no guarantee of demand. But with the success of the Defender so far, it seems it may be more possible, and the marketplace has shown a desire for one. It would still be a unibody pickup, but with the massive payload performance of the Defender, it may be shockingly capable.
The one hangup: with Land Rover giving no recent indication of building an American factory, it would be subject to the 25% Chicken Tax the United States levies on pickups made overseas (the relic of a 1960s trade war with Europe). This would either make it extremely expensive or keep it out of the world’s most pickup-crazed market completely.
All of this is part of the goal of the Defender project: adapting the single platform and design into different profitable configurations. As Defender goes from strength to strength, expect more adaptations in years to come.
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