The 2023 Land Rover Defender 130 Is A Defender 110 With A Giant Ass

Morning Dump Land Rover Defender 130 Rear 34

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

Land Rover Defender 130 side
Photo credit: Land Rover

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

2022 Gmc Yukon Denali
Photo credit: GMC

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

Electric Last Mile Solutions Urban Delivery Van
Photo credit: Electric Last Mile Solutions

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

2023 Bmw 2 Series Interior
Screenshot: BMW

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.

The Flush

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

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31 Responses

  1. I must be an absolute clot. When I’m running mostly the school runs my ’20 Silverado 3.0 gets about 18 mpg/tank. But the 17 yr old Rover gets 10. tbf, ANY other runs on the truck I get mid 20’s, & was 27mpg xcountry to boston and back last summer. 38 mpg through Wyoming. The service costs are less than the Rover, so, it’s all perspective.

  2. “ 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.”

    I’m totally in agreement. The bellwether to me on when “the madness will end” will be what VW does with their mid cycle refresh of the current EVs & Golf since those seem to have had the most vocal criticism.

    1. Yeah it seems to me diesel oil changes and other services requirements are never considered in the diesel vs Ice argument.
      I may be wrong as I blew the motor in the only diesel truck I ever owned. And that 1500 GM Diesel engine didn’t get any better mileage than the ICE engines in the vehicles I replaced it with.

  3. I will never not be amused/aggravated by the fact that even press photos of these new digital dashboards have obvious glare. These are professionally staged pictures and they still couldn’t eliminate it? How bad is it going to be in the real world under less than ideal lighting conditions?

  4. No massive screens, please. The required reverse camera is nice, but it doesn’t have to be particularly large. Also, I would like a white (not stainless) refrigerator which can hold magnets and with no more bells and whistles than a built in ice maker/water dispenser. Am I going to have to go find a vintage fridge to match my vintage 1950s toaster?

    1. I wonder how many computer chips could be saved by not putting unnecessary crap in the computer infotainment system? Especially the set it and forget it stuff.
      Yo Lovey can you have the maid tell the butler to turn the heat down from 78 to 77 its getting a bit stuffy in the billiard room.

      1. > I wonder how many computer chips could be saved by not putting unnecessary crap in the computer infotainment system?
        Probably none, unfortunately. Most everything is already on the computer bus. Microcontroller chips cost pennies That’s why they want to move everything there, because it costs almost nothing (aside from maybe a little programmer time and a few cents for hardware) and removes the cost for switches, holes for switches, wires, installation. If they could get away with it, turn signals, gas pedal, brakes, and shifter would be there too. Maybe next year.

      2. Incredibly few, by which I mean between 1 and 0. That’s it.

        All of the infotainment ‘chips’ as it were reside in what GM calls an HMU and everybody else calls something different. Which is literally a little black box with an ARM or x86 processor inside that tends only to change housings and software loads between models. And often not even the housing.
        The only reason you might increase scarce IC consumption with a larger screen has nothing to do with that, and everything to do with how many screens. If it’s one contiguous screen, then it’s just one display controller, no matter how big you make it. All the expensive parts and logic live in the HMU controller, and the displays themselves have almost no ICs. (That isn’t to say they don’t have other scarcity issues, but ICs are generally not on the list.)

  5. We had an e90 335d in the garage for about 6 years. It was certainly entertaining to drive (425lb.ft. is a lot of twist!), but the running costs were definitely not as good as we had hoped for. Between the high cost and limited availability of diesel, and the need to keep adding DEF every so often, there just wasn’t the value. We got it as a road-trip car and and it was reasonably good in that role, but the fuel economy just wasn’t what we expected. Switched to a PHEV and that’s a MUCH better solution for the economy question, as we don’t have to use dino-juice at all on short trips so our overall fuel economy is actually much better. I understand there may be a use-case for a diesel SUV if you do a LOT of long highway trips, but I can’t imagine our family ever buying another diesel-powered road vehicle.

  6. I honestly can’t figure out what the “ideal” interior/dashboard would look like. I prefer buttons for most things (especially climate control), but it remains that navigation is nice on a big screen, plus some of those “take-it-for-granted” settings. And it’s nice to be able to see all the little details on the song currently playing.

    If you discount navigation, my ’97 E150 was as good as it gets. Easiest head unit swap ever.

    My current ’12 Prius v, on the other hand….
    It’s a mixed bag. The climate controls are separate physical controls from the screen, but there’s clearly some integration there (the screen says “Fan Off” briefly when you turn the fan off).
    You can change songs, tune, and adjust volume with physical buttons, but navigating songs in folders is done on the touchscreen, which I’d say is a good compromise.

    But, it also has settings like “lock doors when shifted from park” and how long the lights stay on after turning it off set from the screen, so even though it’s reportedly easy to swap the head unit with an ordinary double-din touchscreen, you still lose some functionality.

    A compromise between upgradeability and physical controls seems a really tight rope. (…I wouldn’t install subwoofers in this car, but I worry for the chances of being able to do it easily in a future van if they’re so tightly integrated like this.)

  7. “The 2023 Land Rover Defender 130 Is A Defender 110 With A Giant Ass”

    More like “For Giant Asses”.

    Infotainment is an interesting made up word. I guess if you want your apps, distractions and entertainment on a touchscreen, that’s pretty much fine. But now we have the actual functions of the vehicle migrating there too? This can’t possibly end well. How many menus deep will the windshield washer controls be?

  8. I think my ideal “infotainment” setup consists of a digital dash with navigation and most infotainment-y menus accessible through it front and center, with a small LCD on the center stack plus buttons for climate control, buttons/knobs for audio and every other feature, and a inset backup cam screen in the mirror. I’d even go for a flip down backup cam that’s at the back of the ceiling like those 3rd row entertainment screens, but facing forwards so that I can turn to physically look behind me while still seeing the backup cam display as I often end up having to glance between the two of them while backing up into a spot or hitching up my trailer.

  9. “and the Yukon’s actually shorter than this Defender 130”
    Important Caveat that Land Rover claims 211 inches with the spare wheel on the back, which is 10.7 inches additional length. So the 210.9 Tahoe is actually nearly a foot longer.

  10. I live in a coastal summer vacation town in Maine. The new Land Rover Defender is a sure indicator of a wealthy part time resident from Massachusetts. What’s funny is all the off road accessory crap they put on them. Those gravel driveways to the waterfront palaces are rough!

  11. “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.”
    On a Yukon Denali? You know why the owners don’t go diesel? Because they have enough money to not give a shit except as performance art. The base Yukon Denali is $70k, and the XL is $74k. Just ticking the 4WD box (which exactly zero customers will not tick) puts the 6.2 at $77k. Oh, you want it with options? Your minimum OTD price for a Yukon Denali with literally any options is over $85k – and that’s with the cheaper diesel too.
    Oh, and the Denali is the cheap one. The Escalade starts at $81k regardless of engine. If you want 4WD because snow, you aren’t getting out of there for under six digits. The ESV, you may as well say fuck it and buy a Porsche Cayenne GTS. Because it’s cheaper.

    “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.”
    Show of hands, people that didn’t see a niche vocation van manufacturer with no prior auto manufacturing, no marketing, and literally has never made the news aside from this item going bankrupt? No reason to worry at all though! The founders and their friends will be well taken care of, having taken their golden parachute packages in February after an investigation found blatant insider trading and accounting fraud.

    “the infotainment screen jumps to 14.9 inches and the dashboard sees some major changes.”
    And just like that, the rate of cars being totaled out on minor collisions more than quadrupled. The second the airbags deploy, all of those fancy screens are toast. And those OLEDs cost many thousands of dollars to replace. The super cheap Mustang panel (which is TFT, technology literally the same panel you find in a $100 monitor) is over $1400 for the partial TFT version. You better believe those bespoke OLEDs are more than 3 times the cost – because that’s about the nominal price difference from TFT to OLED. 300%.

    The Flush
    Honest answer is probably never, because those infotainment shitshows make it possible for them to lock features you paid for behind subscriptions. And recurring captive revenue, so hot right now. (Just not the part where they openly talk about forcing people to pay a monthly fee to keep using their Apple CarPlay and an additional fee for the heated seats and another fee for the remote start…)
    The age of owning your car is long over; you don’t actually own anything. Read the fine print in the infotainment T&Cs and EULA you agreed to, and it outright says that you have no rights to any part of it, the manufacturer can turn it off any time, and has no obligation to even so much as patch security. Same with every other electronic module in the car – just replacing the BCM without the manufacturer’s written approval is a DMCA violation. No, seriously.
    Not only that, but, see above re: costs of screens. Manufacturers do not like the used market, because that is money they are not getting. Those screens are not only prohibitively expensive, but also DMCA covered, so they can simply refuse to sell them at all if they so choose. They can permanently disable features for the car’s second owner, or the third. They can claim they just don’t support it any more so tough luck (see also the 2G/3G shutdowns.) This is 100% legal – same as the bullshit Tesla pulls where they take away features for the second owner unless they pony up another $8k, even though the car already had it. How? Because bullshit shrinkwrap EULAs. None of the licenses or agreements transfer with the car. And since the manufacturer didn’t sell you the car, and the owner has no rights to sell any of the licenses, they can turn everything off and tell you “that’ll be $MONTHLY_SUBSCRIPTION to make the heated seat switch work again fuck you.”

    1. I think when you guys are approaching the European levels of fuel price, the impact is starting to feel even with the wealthy ones. I’m not speaking of rich, but people that might lease this. When you are starting to spend 20+k/YEAR on gas, you start looking at the fuel consumption.

  12. If BMW is really taking away the physical buttons for the stereo on/off, volume, HVAC and seat heaters, then they have lost a customer. If I want a fully glass cockpit I can buy (lease) a Porsche. If anything I wish they would add the volume control knob next to the I-drive controller like on Mazdas. Shame on you, BMW.

  13. I love the big screen. Functionally and the look. I even like the new grilles!

    But no climate knob and the loss of the F* model’s programmable buttons is a complete deal breaker for me. Right now, it’s looking like my M2C is the last BMW I’ll ever buy. Unless they come to their senses and put some tactile controls back.

  14. “Over five years, these savings over a gasoline-powered model really do add up.”

    I mean until the first major service.

    Plus you’re missing out on that sweet 6.2L. You couldn’t pay me enough to drive a modern diesel under any circumstances.

      1. On my truck it’s less than $20 of DEF every 10000 miles and many larger gas stations around here now have DEF dispensers next to their diesel pumps so you can fill both up at once.

        It’s a little extra hassle, but it’s neither especially costly nor a pain in the ass.

    1. Yeah it seems to me diesel oil changes and other services requirements are never considered in the diesel vs Ice argument.
      I may be wrong as I blew the motor in the only diesel truck I ever owned. And that 1500 GM Diesel engine didn’t get any better mileage than the ICE engines in the vehicles I replaced it with.

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