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It’s a comparison we hear all too often from the lips of off-roaders: is the Land Rover Defender 130 better than a High-Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV)? All joking aside, the HMMWV, or Humvee, has more in common with Land Rover’s latest big, bad, British SUV than you might think, including a utility and military history. So, how on Earth does the luxe Defender 130 compare with the Humvee and its civilian-spec counterpart, the Hummer H1?

Which is better, Hummer or Defender?

The original Hummer H1 and its military sibling, the Humvee, are big. Real big. The M1097A2, a recent example of the military’s workhorse, weighs nearly 6,000 lbs with a payload of 4,400 lbs. More impressively, the monstrous military off-roader is seven feet wide, almost half a foot wider than a Land Rover Defender 130.

Still, while you might think the high-dollar Defender can’t handle some of the same challenges that the H1 can, you might be in for a surprise. The Humvees I drove in the Marines could ford through up to 30 inches of water in standard configuration and 60 inches with a fording kit. On the other hand, the Defender 130 we drove at TReK 2023 can wade through 35 inches of water with its air suspension. Unless the

However, regarding outrageous terrain, the Humvee’s ridiculous 72-degree approach angle thoroughly outguns the Defender’s 37.5-degree approach angle. Still, the ever-important breakover angles are closer: 29 degrees for the H1 and 27.8 for the Defender. Of course, only the most posh and over-priced of H1s can run in the same opulent circles as Land Rover’s hulking 130. 

The Land Rover Defender 130 has more in common with the Humvee than you might think

A row of USMC Humvee tactical vehicles, the military version of the Hummer H1, await service in Norway.
A row of USMC HMMWVs | Jonathan Nackstrand, AFP via Getty Images

Comparing the Land Rover Defender 130 to a Humvee or even a custom Hummer H1 seems silly. However, both vehicles have military and utility backgrounds. The Land Rover’s iconic shape was the result of a drawing in the sands of a Welsh beach following WWII, channeling the Willys Jeep’s military and utility talent in a British off-roader. 

Similarly, the Hummer H1 is a derivation of a military vehicle, the HMMWV. AM General’s tactical and utility vehicle won a government contract in 1983 to supply the US Military with tens of thousands of the modular vehicles. Consequently, the Hummer H1, H2, H3, and GM HUMMER EV can trace their roots to the war-bound workhorse. 

How big is the Defender 130 compared to the 110?

The 2024 Land Rover Defender 130 S is 14.2 inches longer than the 110. Further, the hulking 130 is nearly 600 lbs heavier than the 110 with the P300 engine option. 

ModelLengthCurb weight
Defender 90 S180.5 inches3,870 lbs
Defender 110 S197.5 inches5,035 lbs
Defender 130 S211.7 inches5,620 lbs

What’s more, despite the HMMWV’s extra width compared to the Defender 130 (seven feet to the Defender’s six and a half), the Brit is much longer than a Humvee in standard configuration. Specifically, the lengthy eight-passenger 130 is about 14.7 inches longer than the tactical vehicle’s 197 inches. Of course, Humvees are modular for battlefield and logistical tasks; some models can be much longer with task-specific equipment.  

How much does the Defender 130 cost?

A matte black Land Rover Defender 130 sits under a pavilion at the TReK 2023 event in Texas.
Land Rover Defender 130 | Erik Sherman, MotorBiscuit

The entry-level 2024 Land Rover Defender 130 S starts at $70,575 for the P300 model. However, equipping the eight-passenger Defender with supercharged V8 power can take it well above $118,075.

ModelStarting price
Defender 130 S$70,575
Defender 130 X-Dynamic SE$82,775
Defender 130 Outbound$85,975
Defender 130 X$101,375
Defender 130 V8$118,075

Of course, prices change depending on the engine option. For instance, Land Rover fans can order the 130 S with the P300 four-cylinder mill or the torquier P400 3.0L inline-six-cylinder heart, per Car and Driver. Naturally, the P400 demands a higher average starting price than the P300, to the tune of about $8,000.  

Still, don’t think that you’re going to place an order for a new Humvee like you would a new GM HUMMER EV; you won’t find any Humvee dealerships. Instead, fans willing to roll the dice on a tired Humvee can buy one from a government auction website like GovPlanent. Better yet, some auctions start at as low as $3,000 for low-mileage 6.5L models.

Be warned, dear reader: the Humvees I drove in the military were workhorses. Servicemembers often run them up to their limits in temperature and terrain extremes. Don’t think you’re getting a drama-free deal. Still, a Humvee has the potential to be a great toy or ranch truck, while the Defender can take you straight from the country club to the adventure park.

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