The Land Rover Defender 130 goes long, Electric Last Mile Solutions is running out of cash, BMW updates the 2-Series Coupe already. All this and more on today’s issue of The Morning Dump.
Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.
Land Rover Launches A ‘Stendo Defender
We knew a big boy Land Rover Defender was coming, but we didn’t expect the Defender 130 to look quite like this. It’s longer than the four-door Defender 110, but the wheelbase is identical. As a result, the 130 (which shares its name with the classic, high-payload Defender 130) reminds me a bit of those old extended-length Dodge Ram vans – tons of rear overhang, not a phenomenal departure angle, a bit gawky from certain angles. And just like the extended-length Ram Van, the ‘stendo Defender is only awkward-looking because it can haul more people and things than a standard model. Sure, you can get a Defender 110 with a third row of seats, but you’ll struggle to fit anyone past the age of three days back there. In the 130, you can legally fit up to three people in the third row, plus another three in the second-row. A proper eight-seater Defender, what a concept. (It doesn’t appear that you can get a bench seat on the 130, per the press release).
Alright, maybe you’ve decided that making one offspring is enough, but you still need to haul a lot of stuff. No worries, drop the Defender 130’s third row of seats to find 43.5 cubic-feet (1,232 L) of cargo space, then drop the second row to access the full 80.9 cubic-feet (2,291 L) of IKEA run capacity. Huh, that’s nowhere near as good as what a GMC Yukon offers, and the Yukon’s actually shorter than this Defender 130. A little less than an inch shorter, but sometimes an inch is the difference between fitting in the garage and not. Yeah, we’re a little bit confused about this thing too.
While David thinks the Defender 130 is fine [Editor’s Note: I try not to lean too hard on “This is ugly” or “This is too big” or other negative opinions when writing stories about new vehicle debuts, unless they’re really bad. This isn’t that bad. What I will say about the Defender 130 is that it’s trying too hard to do too much. You know what else is unibody, has a fully independent suspension, and has three rows? The Discovery. And that’s really what I feel the new Defender has become — a Discovery with a different shape. And that’s a bit wack in my eyes. -DT], our wonderful behind-the-scenes master-of-all Erica sent a message to our internal AIM chat room describing the Defender 130 as “gross.” She’s not the only one who thinks that. It’s also worth noting that while the Defender 130’s quoted departure angle of 28.5 degrees is notably better than a Yukon’s departure angle, it comes with an asterisk – said figure is only achievable with the air suspension jacked all the way up. Regardless, expect the Defender 130 to arrive sometime this year at a starting price of $69,350. That’s well-equipped diesel Yukon money, so Land Rover better bring its A-game.
Speaking Of Yukons
With GM hiking prices on full-size pickup trucks, it was only a matter of time before its full-size SUVs followed suit. GM Authority reports that the 2022 Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon, and Cadillac Escalade all get a price bump of $1,500 on the MSRP plus another $100 for the freight charge. Sure, another $1,600 stings, but I have a theory. If you’re planning on keeping a full-size SUV for a while, the diesel will pay back any potential engine surcharge plus this general price hike. Sure, diesel fuel is expensive right now, but the mileage I’ve seen from these diesel full-sizers rivals that of many midsize crossovers. If you’re on a highway run and have a light foot, you can sail one of these jawns to north of 30 mpg. Pretty incredible when you think about it. City mileage is also excellent, the EPA’s rating of 20 mpg is entirely realistic. You’d have to drive like an absolutely clot to get anything less. Over five years, these savings over a gasoline-powered model really do add up.
Of course, anyone who plans to use their full-size GM SUVs to drive through flyover states may want to wait a few months. According to GM’s order guide, Super Cruise hands-free Level 2 driver assistance will be available on 2023 Tahoes, Suburbans, and Yukons. Speaking from experience, it’s simply the best adaptive cruise control I’ve ever used in bumper-to-bumper traffic and well worth the premium of ticking the option box and paying for a data plan. Of course, who knows what 2023 MSRPs will look like? There’s a solid chance that another price hike is in store for when 2023 model order books open.
Electric Last Mile Solutions Is Going Broke
Hey, remember commercial EV startup Electric Last Mile Solutions? No? Honestly, it slipped my mind as well. With a 41 kWh battery pack and a range of 110 miles, the Electric Last Mile Solutions Urban Delivery van isn’t massively capable or even memorably-named, but it promises to be very cheap at just $28,000. Unfortunately, this very cheap delivery van might not be around for long as Electric Last Mile Solutions could run out of cash as soon as June.
Yeah, it’s probably not great to tell investors you’re running out of cash on such short notice, but business can be strange sometimes. Automotive News reports that the Detroit-based startup missed the deadline for filing its 10-K, delayed the filing of its first-quarter 10-Q, and needs to take another look at a minimum of two quarters’ worth of financial statements. As such, it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that Electric Last Mile Solutions is under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Quirky vans are always good, so let’s hope that Electric Last Mile Solutions gets its act together soon. As commercial transportation makes up a significant chunk of transportation emissions, any efforts to help fleets go green seem welcome.
BMW’s Small Car Gets Some Big Screens
In what might be the shortest amount of time on the market before a major interior update in recent history, the BMW 2-Series Coupe is already seeing a big rolling change for production starting in July – the addition of iDrive 8. It’s not just an operating system upgrade, the infotainment screen jumps to 14.9 inches and the dashboard sees some major changes.
For starters, just about everything above the center console is new, and that’s not entirely good news. See, BMW’s latest iDrive 8 infotainment is a bit of a mixed bag. While the configurable tile layout is nice, the infotainment is responsive, and the gauge cluster is more legible, a lack of redundant climate controls isn’t so nice. Let me operate my heated seats without going into a touchscreen, dammit. Plus, the fantastic bank of six programmable preset buttons is now gone, vanished, disappeared. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I feel like more hard buttons and less shit on the screen is a better way of doing infotainment. Also new to 2-Series Coupes is a recessed shifter, change for the sake of change. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the old shift knob, the new recessed shifter saves practically no space, and it just seems like another crevice to trap dust and crumbs, not to mention that it’s piano black. Right, that’s the bad news out of the way, time for the good news. The punchy M240i will no longer be an all-wheel-drive-only affair. That’s right, another small, rear-wheel-drive, mid-trim BMW is on its way, and it honestly seems quite promising. Ditch two driven wheels and a bunch of weight, keep the reasonably compliant suspension and limited-slip rear differential of an M-Lite car, and presto. While the rear-wheel-drive M240i has initially only appeared on European-market configurators, expect a US market announcement in the coming months.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on this edition of The Morning Dump. I hope everyone in America had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend. From honoring fallen veterans to steaks on the grill to the Indy 500 on the TV, there was a lot going on last weekend. Let’s kick things off this week with a simple question – when do you think infotainment screen madness will end? There has to be a point where having a TV plastered to your dashboard feels a bit gauche, right? I have a feeling that we’ll see luxury automakers transition back toward physical controls toward the end of the decade, but I’m curious to hear your thoughts.
Lead photo credit: Land Rover