Land Rover Defender Drives With the Spirit of Adventure

As the marque’s name suggests, every car manufactured by Land Rover has excellent off-road capabilities. But, when it comes to exploring truly uncharted territories it’s the Defender you want. With an unbroken bloodline that stretches back to the 1940s, it is the original expedition vehicle. At one point in history, it was even said that the first vehicle seen by half the world’s population was a Land Rover. And for those pioneers still looking to plunge into the unknown, the newly unearthed Defender 130 Outbound is equipped for your every possible need on any conceivable adventure.

The 130 Outbound has taken Land Rover’s longest Defender model and made some tweaks, starting by swapping out its eight seats for five, thus giving the car some 1,329 litres of cargo space in the rear (and a staggering 2,516 litres of room with the rear seats folded). The rear windows have been exchanged for body-coloured panels to increase security and rigidity, and interior cubbies, latch points, and a new cargo net have been fitted for securing everything firmly in place.

“We noticed a gap in key global markets, such as North America and the Middle East specifically, for clients who want the interior space delivered by the 130 body design while also featuring the luxurious interior,” says Mark Cameron, Jaguar Land Rover’s managing director for the Defender and Discovery lines. “However, not all clients need up to eight seats, so a five-seat version with all the same advanced capabilities of the Defender 130 is available with optimum load carrying capacity.”

Throw in a Herculean towing capacity of 3,000 kg — Cameron expects a high rate of opt-ins for practical features like towbars — and the 130 Outbound opens up a literal world of all-terrain possibility. From mountain bikes to diving equipment to kiteboards and jetskis, this Defender variant can haul everything you’ve ever wanted to take out to remote trailheads or secluded beaches. You can even choose from other extras, including the carmaker’s Expedition Roof Rack, Deployable Roof Ladder, and Lockable Side Mounted Gear Carrier. As an expedition vehicle for you and up to four friends, it’s the ultimate cross-country stronghold; a base camp mounted on 20 inch gloss black wheels.

“We have ensured the fitment of premium durable accessories that enhance the carrying and stowage capability,” says Cameron of the car’s Swiss Army knife set-up. “Because with the 130 Outbound, clients are more likely to carry a variety of objects.”

The Outbound’s interior is a far cry from the agricultural austerity of the original Defender, featuring an 11.4 inch touchscreen, premium 10-speaker sound system from Meridian Audio, and three-zone climate control. However, customers still have the option of upholstering their Outbound with Land Rover’s durable synthetic leather, Resist, to ensure their seats can withstand even the muddiest post-adventure passengers.

Optional extras aside, the rugged underpinnings of the Outbound remain much the same as those found elsewhere in the Defender lineup. It’s got the latest generation of electronically adaptable terrain management and air suspension that can be raised for greater ground clearance. Peak articulation is an impressive 430 mm, and it can wade through water almost a metre deep. Off-road tires, naturally, come as standard. It’s a four-by-four force to be reckoned with.

In Canada, a single engine is available — the 395 horsepower, three-litre straight six — but it’s as high-tech as the Outbound’s electric off-roading systems, incorporating both a 48-volt mild-hybrid powertrain and an electric supercharger. The final decision to be made is colour, which is limited to four options: Carpathian Grey, Fuji White, Eiger Grey, or Santorini Black. There are also matte accents on the grille and bumpers, with a blacked-out treatment on the side vents. An optional satin-finish protective film can be applied to keep any scratches at bay, and an interior rear cargo protector folds out over the rear bumper.

But such capable, practical touches shouldn’t come as a surprise. Later this year, the third annual Defender Service Awards will take place, with six customised Defender 130s presented to a half-dozen U.S. and Canadian non-profits and charities. With its huge cargo-carrying capabilities and go-anywhere abilities, the 130 Outbound is essentially the civilian-spec version of those Defenders — the kind equipped to deliver essential supplies to hard-to-access areas or assist in search and rescue missions. The question is: what would you do with yours?