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The Land Rover Defender 130 is a big amalgamation of luxury and all-terrain capability that, with seating for up to eight, can take the whole family off the beaten path or coddle them on a highway cruise. Surprisingly, these characteristics aren’t the top reasons buyers like the Defender 130, but the real-world complaints owners share are predictable.

Owners rank what they like most about the Land Rover Defender 130

J.D. Power’s 2022 Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) study surveys real-world owners on their likes and dislikes for the new cars they have put in their garage, and the results for the Defender 130 are a mixed bag of anticipated answers and some surprising findings. Respondents are asked to rank the Land Rover’s agreeability in 10 categories, including;

  • Driving comfort  
  • Driving feel
  • Exterior styling
  • Feeling of safety
  • Fuel economy
  • Getting in and out
  • Infotainment
  • Interior design
  • Powertrain
  • Setting up and starting

According to the survey, what Land Rover Defender 130 owners liked most about their midsize luxury SUV was its looks — its exterior styling topped the list. The Defender 130’s butch appearance and commanding presence certainly garner attention, and it doesn’t look like a typical model in its class. Obviously, among buyers surveyed, that is its strongest suit.

Driving feel ranked second for what buyers like most about the 130, and though the survey doesn’t specify whether that includes both on- and off-road ventures, it’s clear Defender owners are satisfied with its overall performance.

The Land Rover Defender 130’s powertrain ranked fifth on the list. The P300 model is fitted with a turbocharged inline-six and mild hybrid system for a total output of 296 hp and 347 pound-feet of torque. The more powerful P400 delivers 395 hp and 406 lb0ft.

The Defender’s powertrain ranking could have been lowered by what owners liked least about the 130 model.

The Defender 130 is too thirsty, owners say

Perhaps as expected, the Land Rover Defender 130’s fuel economy ranks lowest on the list. Both Defender 130 models are rated by the EPA for just 19 combined mpg.

Buyers also took issue with getting in and out of the large SUV, ranking it second among their least favorite characteristics of the model. The Defender has 11.4 inches of ground clearance in its off-road setting (it features a standard air suspension), but even when lowered, owners apparently feel getting in and out isn’t the most graceful act.

However, paying more in monthly fuel bills and a proverbial leap into the cabin is to be most expected among large SUVs.

For instance, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer is rated for just 15 combined mpg, and its 10 inches of ground clearance isn’t exactly suited for those who don’t want a bit of a stretch to slide into its driver’s seat.

It’s a similar story for the Lexus LX, which has some legitimate off-road pedigree along with the Defender 130 and Grand Wagoneer. The LX returns 19 combined mpg, the same as the Land Rover Defender, and shorter passengers will still need to leap a bit to get into it with the Lexus’ ground clearance at 8.3 inches.

These figures underscore that if you want a luxe, three-row large SUV with genuine all-terrain capability, expect to dish out more dough for premium fuel, and maybe don’t wear a short skirt when getting in and out, no matter the model.


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