2023 Land Rover Defender Pros vs Cons. Should You Buy?
The 2023 Land Rover Defender is both a luxury SUV and a serious off-road machine. This is a larger SUV with an available three rows of seats. The Defender is offered in both two-door and four-door body styles. All-wheel drive is standard, as one would expect from an SUV that's geared towards off-road performance.
One thing that's surprising about the Defender is how smooth it rides over paved roads. It has an unmistakable and rugged exterior style with a well-equipped interior. Here's a look at what's new for 2023 along with 10 of the best reasons to buy a Land Rover Defender. We will also look at some of the downsides to owning a Defender and compare it to two of its top competitors.
What’s New for 2023?
The extended-length 130 models of the Defender debut for 2023. This model is extended for a third row of seats. It also gets a unique exterior-color option called Sedona Red. The infotainment system now gets Amazon Alexa integration. There will also be a limited, special-edition model of the Defender for the vehicle's 30th anniversary.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2023 Land Rover Defender – The Pros
1. Amazing Off-Road Performance
From the standard all-wheel drive to the high ground clearance, the Land Rover Defender was engineered for serious off-road duties. There are a variety of off-road specific features and options too. This includes an air suspension system and a Wade Sensing feature that helps drivers navigate through shallow water. There are also locking differentials and a Terrain Response System with multiple different driving modes.
2. Strong Overall Performance
The Land Rover Defender provides strong overall performance thanks to its strong available engines. Land Rover offers a 3.0-liter I6 engine that produces 395 horsepower. The gasoline engine combined forces with an electric supercharger and a 48-volt hybrid system. This powertrain can get the Defender 90 models up to 60 miles-per-hour in just 5.7 seconds.
For even more power, Land Rover offers a supercharged V-8 engine. The big V-8 produces 518 horsepower. It can get a Defender 90 model up to 60 miles-per-hour in just 4.4 seconds. Those numbers are akin to the speed of a sports coupe. That's not too bad for a large SUV!
3. Plenty of Room for Passengers
With it's available third row, the Defender 130 models can comfortably seat up to eight people. Smaller models of the Defender still have plenty of room for five people to ride comfortably. There's plenty of headroom and legroom in the first and second rows regardless of the size of the Defender model. The Defender is a great vehicle to own if you have a large family, or just a lot of friends to take with you on your next trip or outdoor adventure.
4. A Lot of Cargo Space
The Land Rover Defender doesn't just have room for your passengers, there's plenty of room for your passengers too. Depending on the side of the model and the body style, there would be either 10.2 or 27.1 cubic-feet of storage space while all of the seats are being used. By folding down the rear seats, this can be expanded up to 44.6 or 76.1 cubic-feet of space, respectively.
5. Provides a Smooth Ride
Most of the time, when a vehicle is designed primarily with off-road prowess in mind, the on-road ride quality takes a hit. You often end up with a notoriously stiff and truck-like riding experience. Not so with the 2023 Land Rover Defender. The ride quality here doesn't suffer at all. It's smooth and refined as the suspension system soaks up every bump in the road.
6. The Well-Designed Interior
The Land Rover Defender isn't just attractive on the outside. It's equally sharp and well designed on the inside too. There's an upscale, premium vibe to the interior with a nice balance of ergonomics and practicality thrown in. Buyers can get 12-way power seats up front with 2-way adjustments for the headrests. The seats have a heating feature up front. Land Rover offers grained-leather trim for the seats as well as a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
7. The Rugged and Attractive Exterior
The land Rover Defender has a striking and distinct exterior design. It's rugged and aggressive with a squared-away profile that would look at home on a military transport vehicle. There are power-adjustable, heated mirrors on the outside. This makes defrosting quick and easy when it's cold outside. The Defender also gets signature LED headlights with Auto High-Beam Assist.
8. Technology and Entertainment Features
The 2022 Land Rover Defender has an excellent infotainment system to keep the driver and passengers connected. There's an available WiFi hotspot. The system is compatible with Apple's CarPlay and the Android Auto app. There will be a 10-inch touchscreen display for most trim levels. A huge 11.4-inch display is available as an upgrade, or by default on certain higher trim levels.
An in-dash navigation system is installed in every model. Music lovers will enjoy the premium Meridian sound system with either 10 or 14 speakers. These are placed strategically throughout the cabin for amazing sound. Bluetooth technology allows for easy streaming of one's favorite tunes.
9. Strong Towing Capabilities
By this point, it should be obvious that the Land Rover Defender was built with outdoor adventures in mind. This makes the ability to tow a heavy load a fantastic benefit. One can easily take a trailer or small boat along for the ride when driving a Defender. When properly equipped, the Land Rover Defender can tow an impressive 8,201 pounds.
10. Safety Features
There's a wealth of stock safety features for the Land Rover Defender. Every model gets an advanced airbag system. Anti-locking brakes is a standard feature for all models. A 360-degree camera gives the driver a better awareness of everything around them. There's a Lane-Keeping Assist feature and Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection. Blind-Spot Monitors are standard and Adaptive Cruise Control is available as well.
Reasons Not to Buy a 2023 Land Rover Defender – The Cons
1. It's Not Very Fuel Efficient
One of the major weaknesses of the 2023 Land Rover Defender is the subpar fuel economy. A Defender 90 model with the I6 engine will get about 17 miles-per-gallon in the city and 22 miles-per-gallon on the highway. The 110 models with the same powertrain have roughly the same fuel efficiency. A 110 model with the V-8 engine should see around 14 miles-per-gallon in the city and 19 miles-per-gallon on the highway.
2. The Options Get Pricey
The Land Rover Defender comes from a luxury brand and has a price to match. It's a fair starting price for the performance and quality, but it's not cheap. Things get even more expensive once the buyer adds on desirable options and packages. The Defender is a great vehicle, but there are less expensive SUVs in its class.
3. A Heavy and Awkward Rear Hatch
The rear hatch has an awkward opening angle. It's also on the heavy side. This makes loading and unloading cargo more of a chore than it needs to be. Hopefully Land Rover will make some changes here on future models of the Defender.
4. The Third Row Is Small
The first and second rows of the Defender offer plenty of room no matter which model and body size one chooses. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the third row of seats in the longer 130 models. Most adults will find the third-row seats to be quite cramped. They're still a good option for small kids, however.
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How It Stacks Up to the Competition:
2023 Land Rover Defender vs 2023 Ford Explorer
The 2023 Ford Explorer is similar enough to the Land Rover Defender to be serious competition for it. It's also quite different in a number of ways. Like the Defender, the Explorer is available with three rows of seats. This makes both of them great vehicles for a family. The Ford Explorer has a much lower price and is almost equally well-equipped with convenience and entertainment features.
The Defender has more horsepower and a nicer interior, though the Ford isn't shabby on the inside at all. Both are attractive SUVs with the Defender being more rugged and the Explorer being perhaps a bit more sophisticated. The Ford has more cargo space while the Land Rover is vastly superior in off-road performance. In most categories, the Land Rover Defender is the better SUV, even if it does cost you more.
2023 Land Rover Defender vs 2023 Jeep Wagoneer
The Jeep Wagoneer is another similar vehicle to the Land Rover Defender. It also has an available three rows of seats to accommodate up to eight people. The Jeep Wagoneer can almost give the Defender a run for its money when it comes to off-road capabilities too, but only almost. The Defender is still kind of that category. Both have comfortable, well-equipped interiors. The Defender offers the better ride quality while the Wagoneer has better steering dynamics.
This time, the Defender is significantly cheaper when compared to its competition. The price gap here is rather large and it's hard to justify. The Wagoneer may do a few things better than the Defender, but not enough to warrant the massive increase in cost. The 2023 Land Rover Defender is a much better bargain here.
The 2023 Land Rover Defender is simply a fantastic SUV. It performs great with plenty of horsepower for good acceleration and impressive towing abilities. It has amazing off-road capabilities, making it ideal for outdoor lovers. It's also an excellent daily driver due to its fantastic ride quality and great handling. The interior is comfortable and equipped with plenty of convenience and entertainment features. The Land Rover Defender is a perfect SUV for adventurous families.