2024 Land Rover Defender: rugged, expensive

James Raia

The Land Rover Defender, a preferred vehicle for safari participants and military operations, debuted in 1948 as a series of British off-road cars and trucks.

The brand and its lineup have endured several iterations, with the manufacturer’s offering now viewed as luxury haulers for adventurous families. Visits to the African outback aren’t required.

Rugged, utilitarian and fueled in part by testosterone, the 2024 Defender 130 Outbound is equipped with a 3-liter, six-cylinder gas engine with 395 horsepower and an eight-speed automatic transmission. It has 20-inch wheels and all-wheel drive. Electric power-assisted steering, hill descent control and air suspension add to the Land Rover’s dual personality.

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The 2024 Land Rover Defender Outbound is at its best off-road. All images © James Raia/2024.

Beyond its off-road learnings, the Outbound is also a luxury vehicle. It has top-line leather seats, a superior-quality leather steering wheel and a refrigeration compartment. There’s plastic, too, but the ease of the adjustable seating configurations and overall interior design combine to give the vehicle a top-line feel. It’s outdoorsy and it’s also classy when arriving at a gathering with valet parking. 

The SUV’s performance is impressive considering its segment. It accelerates from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 6.4 seconds, a quicker-than-dutiful effort for a 7,450-pound gross-weight vehicle. Its versatility includes an 8,201-pound maximum towing capacity. Gas mileage averages are 16 miles per gallon in city driving, 18 mph on the highway.

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The 2024 Land Rover Defender 130 Outbound has an external side-mounted ladder and storage compartment.

Subtle isn’t part of the Defender’s appeal. The exterior has solid rear panels and two unique items are attention-grabbers. There’s a protruding lockable side-mounted storage bin on the passenger side and a folded ladder on the driver’s side.

While other Defender 130 models have three rows of seating, the Outbound only has only two rows. It’s not a bad thing. The two-row version provides more cargo space, albeit for fewer occupants.

Competition is rich in the off-road vehicle segment, which translates into more manufacturers offering more standard equipment. The Defender lineup offers plenty: LED headlights to rain-sensing front wipers and heated door mirrors to electric memory front seats w/lumbar and driver memory.

Three-zone climate control with rear heating and cooling assist to cabin lighting and keyless entry and push button start to a Meridian sound system add the vehicle’s appeal.

Safety and security features are another Land Rover strength. The Defender approaches overload status. Consider: Safety & Security: front airbags with passenger seat occupant detector, perimetric alarm,  electronic traction control, dynamic stability control, roll stability control, emergency braking, anti-lock braking system and emergency brake assist. 

Several remote systems (emergency collision notification, stolen vehicle locator and remote start), adaptive cruise control a 3D surround camera, 360-degree parking aid, blind spot assist, rear traffic monitor, lane keep assist, driver condition monitor, traffic sign recognition and an adaptive speed limiter bring the available stuff to the brink of technology overload. One annoyance: the rear-mounted tire obstructs the rear mirror view.

With its off-road and luxury vehicle combination, the Land Rover Defender 130 Outbound isn’t for bargain hunters. It’s a lot of vehicle for a lot of money. It’s a strong choice for a niche market. It’s not the best as a daily driver. It’s at its best for recreational driving and adventures into the wilderness, urban or otherwise. 

The Outbound has a starting price of $84,500. Its options and delivery charge pushes the price to $95,389. The tally is likely fine for a small corps of buyers fond of the brand, its long history and its reputation for keen companionship in the outdoors. But the price is likely a dealbreaker for a larger share of potential buyers. 

Article Last Updated: February 11, 2024.

1 thought on “2024 Land Rover Defender: rugged, expensive”

  1. Greetings: I really enjoyed this article on the Land Rover Defender. Pedantry is one of my weaknesses, so I hope you won’t mind if I point out that the outback is what the Australians call their wilderness areas. In Africa, we simply call it the bush. As for taking the new Defender anywhere near such inhospitable terrain, it’s not to be recommended. Way too many electronic gizmos which will undoubtedly fail in such extreme conditions, which is why most safari vehicles are Toyota Landcruisers. Thanks for an enjoyable read every week.


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