The Land Rover Defender is once again available in three bodystyles, as the 4x4’s line-up has been crowned with the longer, eight-seat 130 variant.
Land Rover bosses promised right from the start that – despite its more overtly upmarket focus than the utilitarian original – the second-generation Defender would be given a similar flexibility of purpose, courtesy of the same three-pronged model line-up: 90, 110 and 130.
The largest of the three is now official, with 340mm of extra length added behind the rear axle, rather than between the wheels as was the case for its predecessor. As a result, it is identical to the mid-sized 110 ahead of the C-pillar. Measuring 5358mm (211in) long overall, it is primed to take on the largest luxury SUVs on sale and is actually slightly longer than the BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz G-Class.
The extra length makes for a huge, 2516-liter load space with the two rows of back seats folded. That’s 953 liters more than offered by the 110 in the same configuration.
But more significant than that, it accommodates a new two-three-three seating layout as an option, which makes the Defender the only mainstream SUV in Europe capable of carrying more than seven occupants. In the UK, eight-seat layouts are currently the preserve of van-derived MPVs and people carriers.
The three rows in the eight-seat car are arranged in a ‘stadium’ format – whereby the middle and rearmost are slightly elevated – to enhance forward visibility. Land Rover says access to the rear seats is “effortless”, courtesy of a sliding and folding middle row, and three adults can travel in comfort back there with “generous head room”, heated seats, padded armrests, storage cubbies and USB-C ports. There is a second panoramic sunroof at the back of the car, too, so the interior is “light and airy for everyone”, and four-zone air conditioning can be equipped as an option.