It's almost the spring of 2021, and it's safe to say that by now, the new Land Rover Defender has fully established itself. People have gotten over it not being a faithful recreation of the classic model...which means it's time for Land Rover to flesh out the lineup.
Last week, the company unveiled a supercharged V8-powered Defender that also offers a super-luxurious Carpathian Edition. Now, according to Automotive News, Jaguar Land Rover executives have confirmed another addition to the Defender lineup: a bigger one better suited for American audiences.
Land Rover says it will revive the Defender 130 nameplate as a three-row SUV. The Defender 130 will keep the same wheelbase as the four-door Defender 110, but add 14 inches in length to accommodate the third row of seats.
The brand reportedly wants the new SUV to hit dealers within 18 months, so expect the Defender 130 to arrive by summer 2022, likely as a 2023 model year vehicle
The move to build a bigger Land Rover isn't really a surprise. Previous reporting had suggested a three-row Defender would be coming alongside the V8 version. And it simply makes a whole lot of sense: American families, particularly the ones shopping in the luxury vehicle market, love the flexibility of a three-row SUV; it's one of the most popular (and profitable) segments there are right now. Hell, Jeep is adding three new three-row SUVs to its lineup in 2021.
Admittedly, adding bigger and V8-powered versions of the Defender doesn't really mesh with Land Rover's recent promises on the surface. These changes aren't moving the Defender toward fuel-efficiency and electrified powertrains, and they aren't simplifying the lineup to help improve production and build quality. But sweeping lineup transitions cost money — and producing the SUVs buyers want right now is the way to pay for them.