The eight-passenger SUV wars are a thing right now. For 2023, Land Rover’s new Defender 130 is joining the fray to take on the GMC Yukon, The Toyota 2023 Sequoia, the Infiniti QX80, and others in the luxury SUV segment. The GMC Yukon seems to be the bogey for Rover, as it can be optioned as a luxury eight-seater with serious towing and bug V8 engine options. But, with an extra 13-inches in length, the Land Rover Defender 130 now can pack enough that it’s a serious competitor. It’s so serious, that the company gave one to Queen Elizabeth II to celebrate her 75th Jubilee.
1: The Rover is the only one with a hybrid option
The Yukon has two V8 options and one diesel alternative. Sure, they’re big and powerful, but they’re thirsty. The standard 5.3 (355 hp) or optional 6.2-liter (420 hp) V8s only get both get 14 in the city and 19 on the highway with four-wheel drive. The diesel does get 27, however, on the highway in two-wheel drive. GMC dropped the Yukon’s hybrid option in 2013.
The Rover comes in two versions, the P300 and P400. The Rover’s engines are competitive. But Rover gets 296 horsepower out of a smooth 3-liter turbo inline-six in the P300. The hybrid is the one to get, though. With the extra electric boost, it makes 395 horsepower from the same engine in the P400. Rover says it will hit 60 mph in 6.3 seconds. In the Defender 110 the hybrid gets 17 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.
2: Rovers are built for off-roading
Rover had to figure out a clever way to preserve the Defender’s off-road credibility in the transformation. Instead of just taking on some extra sheet metal like GMC does with the extra-long version of the Yukon, the XL, Rover made a boat tail rear end. That rear end angles up, preserving the SUV’s departure angle, ensuring you don’t get hung up on any big rocks or steep ledges. Its departure angle is a respectable 28.5 degrees. Despite its unibody, Rover says the Defender is still sturdier than body-on-frame SUVs like the Yukon.
The Yukon is built on a truck chassis and with it comes all of the goodies you’d expect, but you really need to step up to the AT4 package, not the Denali, to get the off road goods.
3: They’re both luxury SUVs, but the Rover isn’t a truck.
Beyond the Ceres Silver Satin paint, and the extra bobbles of the available Bright Pack, Rover designed a true luxury SUV. You can order light oak trim, and perforated Windsor leather upholstery, for example, but it really shines with luxury designer touches around. But, these are European designer touches with tasteful chrome, a quiet ride, and panoramic windows, not the American kind of thick leather and boomy stereos.
By contrast, the Yukon is in many ways the same SUV at its core as the down-market Chevrolet Tahoe, but with $50,000 in leather, navigation, and technology. Both offer air suspension systems.
4: Both bring the tech, but Rover’s is voice-activated
The GMC does bring the new Super Cruise technology to the party. Super cruise lets you travel hands-free on more than 200,000 miles of roads – including when you’re towing. You can also order up to 13 available cameras that show HD surround vision. Both the SUVs have three screens, and the Denali has a heads-up display that projects your speed and more onto the road. And, OK, we’ll say it: the Rover is just cool.
But the Rover, too, has three screens and it adds an 11.4-ince touchscreen that is voice activated through the what3words navigation system.