The 2023 Land Rover Defender 90 Trophy Edition lets you live out your off-road competition fantasies. Not only do you get a unique limited edition SUV but also a one-of-a-kind experience.
If you’re of a certain age, Land Rover and pale yellow go together like Ferrari and red. The Defender, Discovery, Range Rover, and even Freelander all got to play in some of the world’s worst driving conditions as drivers worked to win the Camel Trophy in Landies decked out in that unmistakable paint shade.
The event and the paintwork are so iconic that Land Rover brought it back with an inaugural U.S Trophy event and a special-edition SUV last year.
For 2023, Land Rover is offering a few limited-edition pale yellow Defenders once again. This time, the Defender 90 Trophy Edition along with another Defender Trophy Competition experience celebrate that history.
The Original Land Rover Trophy
Starting in Brazil in 1980, the Camel Trophy ran until 1998, and all but the first year saw competitors in Land Rover vehicles. Driving in the Amazon basin, Madagascar, Siberia, Malaysia, and other inhospitable — for vehicles, at least — environments. It was a challenge for both vehicles and competitors alike, ending right about the time that cigarette sponsorships were declared persona non grata.
Modern Defender Trophy Edition
Land Rover has been running a version of the event on a much smaller scale on and off since 1996. Called TReK, it was aimed at helping dealer staff from the U.S. and Canada — along with a few select journalists — learn what the vehicles they were selling were capable of and build even more passion for the brand. They then bring that enthusiasm and knowledge back to dealership customers across the country.
Starting last year, Land Rover made a new Defender Trophy Competition meant for customers, with a Defender 110 Trophy Edition to go with it. The American running took place at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C., in late 2021, while a U.K. event took place at Eastnor Castle.
This year, the Land Rover Defender Trophy Edition is based on a 2023 Defender 90 P400 X-Dynamic SE. Yes, that’s a bit of a mouthful, so just tell your dealer you want a Defender Trophy.
The D90 is the short-wheelbase three-door version of the Defender, and P400 means you get the turbocharged 3.0L six, offering 395 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, under the hood.
We might have expected the new Defender 130 to get the Trophy treatment, since it has the most cargo space and is the newest Defender model. On the other hand, the stubby Defender looks very sharp in this livery, and there’s always next year for a 130-based special edition and yet another competition.
The wrap is the highlight of the Defender Trophy Edition, matching the pale yellow of the original trophy contenders. It’s different from last year’s model, especially the new white hood overlay. Yes, it’s a wrap rather than a complete paint job, Land Rover says.
The Trophy trucks will have special badging including a big trophy sticker on the door and a numbered boot badge. They’ll also have Land Rover’s extended black exterior trim pack and a tow hitch.
Real Off-Road Kit
The off-road kit starts with the Defender’s Air Suspension Pack with adaptive suspension and an extra 5.8 inches of ride height on demand. The terrain response modes and All Terrain Progress Control off-road cruise control of the Advanced Off-Road Capability Pack are included, and the Trophy has the heated windshield, washer jets, and wheel of the Cold Climate Pack.
Accessories like an expedition roof rack, roof ladder, and electric winch are part of the deal, too, so this is more than just cosmetics if you want to chase those true off-road adventure dreams.
Comes With Land Rover Experience
Land Rover is only building 220 Defender 90 Trophy Editions for the U.S. and another 30 for Canada. Buying one will give you a chance to enter the one-day Defender Trophy Competition off-road race held this year at the Land Rover Experience Center in Vermont.
Up to 90 teams of two will get a shot at the event, on a first-come-first-served basis. There will be more than just on- and off-road challenges; the event has team-building obstacles and will give you one-on-one coaching from Land Rover’s experts. And yes, you will be using your own Land Rover to do it.
Judges will be watching, and the overall winning team will get a chance to take their off-road skills internationally. They’ll be able to enter the next Classic Land Rover Trophy competition held in the U.K. and set for spring 2023.
For 2021 Defender Trophy entrants, buyers of last year’s Trophy Edition Defender, a second competition group will be held. Just 15 teams are allowed in this one, and there is a $5,000 cost. But the winner will still get that trip to off-road in the U.K.
The Defender Trophy Edition will be offered at select dealers in the U.S. and Canada. Starting from $95,000, they’ll be available starting this month.