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The eight-passenger SUV battle is heating up. For 2023, the new Land Rover Defender 130 joined the fray to take on full-size rivals like the Toyota Sequoia, GMC Yukon, and Infiniti QX80. Recently, Good Housekeeping named the 2023 Land Rover Defender 130 the best luxury midsize three-row SUV in its “Best New Family Cars” roundup. The vehicle boasts impeccable specs, but the Defender 130 also prioritizes passenger comfort, pampering even third-row riders.

Why is the 2023 Land Rover Defender 130 an excellent family SUV?

2023 Land Rover Defender 130 third row, Defender 130 family SUV
2023 Land Rover Defender 130 third row | Land Rover Defender

The 2023 Land Rover Defender 130 is the lengthiest in the Defender lineup — 13.4 inches longer than the Defender 110. Thanks to that extra length, the Defender provides enough space to seat eight passengers and pack more cargo. Third-row occupants won’t feel like sardines in a can because the second row slides forward and features a 60/40 split to accommodate adults comfortably. This luxurious SUV further pampers third-row riders with heated seats and a glass roof that allows more light and a glimpse of the sky.

Although the Land Rover Defender is a capable off-roader, the new 130 has refined its focus on rider comfort. Passengers have access to multiple USB-C charge ports, four-zone climate controls, and a longer wheelbase so that even the rear-most occupants have plenty of space to stretch. Good Housekeeping notes that the 2023 Defender 130 has even more upscale features than previous models for an elevated off-road experience.

Most notable is the Defender 130’s updated infotainment system. The new model includes three displays and an 11.4-inch voice-activated touchscreen. It also boasts a satellite-based navigation system that allows drivers to navigate virtually any location without depending on cellular signals.

More about the 2023 Land Rover Defender 130: Price, specs, and tech

One area where the 2023 Land Rover Defender 130 falls short is its gas-guzzling V8 engine. But shoppers can choose between two electrically assisted 3.0-liter turbocharged V6s. The model with the P-300 V6 starts at $68,475 and produces 296 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque. And the Defender 130 with the P-400 engine retails for $79,775 and harnesses 395 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 60 mph acceleration times are 7.5 seconds with the less powerful engine and 6.3 seconds with the more potent option.

Another notable Defender 130 feature is the trailer rear that angles up to preserve the mode’s rear departure angle for off-road capability. In addition, every trim boasts air suspension and a low-speed transfer case for cruising over rough terrain.

Other family-friendly winners in the Good Housekeeping roundup

Good Housekeeping lists 24 other models in its best family cars roundup. They include the 2023 Chevy Tahoe, ranked as the best large SUV. The Mazda CX-30 takes the top spot for subcompact SUVs, Honda CR-V comes in first in the compact SUV category, and the Ford Bronco is the best midsize two-row SUV. The Kia Telluride stands tall as the best midsize three-row SUV, and the Lincoln Navigator L is the best luxury large SUV.

Other high-end vehicles are the Genesis GV70, the best luxury midsize two-row SUV; the Porsche Macan, the best luxury compact SUV; and the Volvo XC40, the top luxury subcompact SUV. 

The 2023 Land Rover Defender 130 is the largest in the Defender line, with three spacious rows. Although it boasts many attractive features, passenger comfort stands out. Rather than focus on just off-road dominance, the 2023 Defender 130 provides many family-friendly perks, including heated seats, a glass roof for third-row riders, plenty of USB ports, and more space for occupants.


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