The Land Rover Defender Finally Won Me Over

By 7 Min Read

“I could be an off-road guy, right?” No response from my wife, who definitely hears me in the other room. With more than 80,000 acres of unspoiled Florida wilderness at my doorstep, the idea of owning a Land Rover Defender and spending weekends on the trail appeals to my inner outdoorsman—the Outbound model specifically.

The Outbound is essentially a long-wheelbase 130 model with two rows instead of three. It has a side-mounted ladder, an exterior storage box, and a massive cargo hold. Land Rover ditched the extra chairs for additional tie-down spots and a capacious flat, rubberized load floor. If I were a real outdoorsman with…. things, I’d thoroughly enjoy how much room there is to work with.

Quick Specs 2024 Land Rover Defender 130 Outbound
Engine Turbocharged 3.0-Liter Inline-Six Mild-Hybrid
Output 395 Horsepower / 406 Pound-Feet
Weight 5,924 Pounds
Cargo Space 43.7 / 89.0 Cubic Feet
Base Price / As-Tested Price $85,975 / $99,188

There’s 43.7 cubic feet behind the second row and a whopping 89.0 cubic feet if you fold the second row flat, as in the standard 130, and a 1,840-pound maximum payload capacity. The exterior storage box offers a titch of extra cargo too, although it’s mostly for looks. You can maybe fit some tightly folded-up ponchos in there.

The rubberized mat is easy to rip out and hose off, and there’s still a sunroof and A/C vents behind the second row in case you want to take the pups on a trail ride. The side-mounted ladder folds down far enough that you can easily step onto it without pulling a groin, and the Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac all-terrain tires improve the roof carrying capacity by 150 pounds. It can now hold 370 pounds in motion—instead of 220—and up to 661 pounds static.

Those chunkier tires wrap around 20-inch wheels and make quick work of dirt trails. The ride quality barely takes a hit, too, with Defender’s standard air suspension gliding over bumps and rocks. Excellent suspension articulation means even deeper ruts are no match, and it fords streams like a horse; the 11.4 inches of ground clearance means it’ll traverse nearly three feet of water.

2024 Land Rover Defender 130 Outbound

Pros: Hugely Capable, Tons Of Cargo, Thoughtful Overland Touches

But be wary of this SUV’s 17.6-foot length. It’s huge. The departure angle drops from 40.0 degrees on the 110 model to just 28.5 degrees here, which makes it less than ideal on steeper grades. And if you’re sticking a bike rack or storage behind the rear tire, then be prepared to feel like you’re driving a school bus.

You will also have to pay extra for the really good off-road stuff. The Off-Road Pack is $1,250 and adds an electronic rear differential with torque vectoring. If your daily commute includes a trip down Hell’s Revenge, it might be worth it. Otherwise, the Defender is plenty capable on its own.

2024 Land Rover Defender 130 Outbound
2024 Land Rover Defender 130 Outbound

The standard turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six hybrid powertrain delivers 395 horsepower and it’s silky smooth once you get it up to speed. It pairs to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Add the $1,850 Towing Pack 2 and it can tug up to 8,200 pounds. But the throttle response is lazy and low-end torque is lacking, which requires lots of prodding and makes it hard to modulate power at low speeds—not great for rock crawling or towing.

The Defender 130 Outbound isn’t a rock-crawler, anyway. This SUV eats up miles on and off-road as any good overlander is meant to do. In typical Land Rover fashion, the interior is sumptuous and comfy. Black leather covers most surfaces (the only color option on this trim, for some reason) and a secondary “Robustec” dots the seat edges and center console for extra weather-proofing.

2024 Land Rover Defender 130 Outbound

Cons: Daunting Size, Lazy Throttle, Pricey With Options

An 11.4-inch touchscreen comes standard on the Outbound model, and it looks clean and works well. Touch responsiveness is quick, options are easy to parse, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are wireless. If you really want to get fancy, the head-up display is an extra $1,000. It was rarely necessary. But the $360 WiFi add-on is worth it if you need a signal in some remote small town.

With add-ons, this tester comes out to $99,188 with destination. Not exactly an overlander on a budget. The base Outbound at least starts at $85,975, which means there’s a healthy heaping of options on this particular car. That puts it closer to some of the overland-ready alternatives out there, like the Lexus GX550 Overtrail+ ($77,250) and the Toyota Land Cruiser First Edition ($76,695). But you are paying a premium for the Land Rover badge.

My wife would kill me if I brought home a $100,000 SUV—no matter how hard I try and convince her that it’s the perfect vehicle for cruising deep into Florida’s pine forests. But I could see how an avid outdoorsman with an overseas bank account would easily be won over by the kitted-out Defender. It looks cool, it’s nice to drive, and it has just enough extra equipment to make the extra costs worth it. Not that the standard Defender isn’t already capable and cool, but the Outbound model takes it over the top.

2024 Land Rover Defender 130 Outbound
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