2024 Ineos Grenadier
If you are a loyal reader of DrivesToday – and I hope you are – you would have read my initial thoughts on the beautiful new off-roading beast that has finally made its way to market… the Ineos Grenadier. And if you are an avid follower of DrivesToday’s website – let’s hope so – you would also have seen me bouncing around in the cabin of this impressive vehicle as we filmed our test drive from Inverness to Loch Long in Scotland.
Grenadier Grandeur: Theepic off-road newcomer
Or rather, ‘The heart of the heartlands’ – by Ineos’ own description. Nevertheless, whether you’ve been following closely or this is your first insight into our take on the Grenadier, here lies my most comprehensive review yet, where I’ll be breaking down the look, feel and all the finer details of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s brainchild. It was at the Grenadier pub in London where the British billionaire sat with some friends and conceptualised their very own 4x4. The idea came in the wake of that iconic British off-roader, the Land Rover Defender, being discontinued.
At the time, the overlanding fraternity and motoring industry at large thought this typically British idea had its merits, considering the new luxurious direction the Defender had taken. After an extended teaser campaign and extensive testing in a variety of harsh conditions the most anticipated offroader is finally ready for the public. Does it live up to the hype?
In many respects, the Ineos Grenadier pays homage to the Land Rover Defender – the iconic, boxy UK overlander icon that changed very little in look, or ultimately also in practicality, since the first series was released in 1948. Designed with a similar attention to the boxed, utilitarian aesthetic of the Defender and other classic off-roading cars – think 70 Series Land Cruiser and Mercedes’ G-Wagon – the Ineos Automotive team did a fantastic job of merging the classic off-roading appearance with contemporary design elements in their first ever iteration of the Grenadier. There’s a good reason for this design and it comes down to practicality when tackling rough terrain, where approach and departure angles matter most.
Built on a ladder-frame-chassis, and mounted on 17-inch wheels with aggressive all-terrain tyres, the five-seater SUV was unmistakably built for beating down paths and looks to have most of the necessary ingredients. The flat flanks and roofline of the Grenadier are contrasted by an angular bonnet and simple but distinguished slatted grille, to give the face of the vehicle a mean demeanour. LED headlights are mounted fairly high on the body, to help with visibility on the trail, while the grille makes room for LED fog lights for low-visibility conditions, and the sides of the car are equipped with LED marker lights to improve the visibility on trails and assist other vehicles in seeing you. Inside the cabin, one really feels a continuation of the combination between the rugged practicality and contemporary technology that the exterior implies. A choice of leather or cloth upholstery is available, while the steering wheel – wrapped in soft-touch leather – comes coupled with a simple but effective control system placed at your fingertips. This brings me to one of my favourite aspects of the Grenadier: the manual selection of driving controls amidst the state-of-the-art digital technology. These physical controls are a boon and ensure that you spend more time with your eyes on the road ahead, something that most manufacturers have moved away from. On one hand, you’ve got the rugged feel of analogue buttons and toggles to tinker with your driving modes, climate control and the works, but at the same time you’re presented with a 12-inch infotainment system compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which displays all the necessary information on the car while offering you satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity and sends your music through to a high-end, six-speaker audio system. But more on this in a bit.
Many off-road enthusiasts are used to the distinctive clatter and smell of diesel, but if you’re planning on buying the Grenadier, you’ve the choice of either diesel or petrol. BMW is responsible for producing both engines in Ineos’ first off-roader, and the car offers a turbocharged in-line six-cylinder version of either, paired to an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission.
I was among a group of journalists lucky enough to be part of Ineos’ extensive testing process, and over the course of our journey from Inverness, we had the opportunity to put both engines to the test. The diesel engine pushes out 183 kW and 550 N.m, and the torque-heavy nature of the diesel motor was noticeable and welcomed as we traversed the tough, gnarly Scottish terrain. However, my personal preference remains the petrol engine. Putting out 210 kW and 450 N.m, the power delivery from the petrol motor was so clean and linear, with an appreciated smoothness that few can match. Both powertrains are fitted with a 90-litre fuel tank, meaning range is acceptable for the majority of situations, but those who plan to drive extremely long distances in the most remote places will need to purchase a secondary tank.
Ineos, in its inaugural venture into the automotive industry, has produced three iterations for the first run of the Grenadier all of which are available in South Africa; The entry-level Grenadier (R1 416 985), the Trialmaster Edition (R1 528 940) and the Fieldmaster Edition (R1 528 940). Pricing is spot on for the segment with in-demand rivals at a premium due to stock shortages.
The three models share the same basic silhouette and distinctive features that make for the recognisable amalgamation of ruggedness and class prevalent in the Grenadier.
The entry-level edition is a more than capable utilitarian vehicle, comfortable on the roads of suburbia but trail ready whenever it is called upon. The Trialmaster features an improved suspension, and a few more comforts here and there; the Fieldmaster is strongly accessorised for off-roading, with an advanced suspension system, improved clearance and better approach and departure angles. The interior, of course, is also kitted out with the luxurious leather trim that we reclined in throughout our many kilometers of driving.
Those keen on remote travel may look to the entry-level model, as keeping things simple in the bush is often best and this should provide a good base for specific needs. and personalisation.
“Cockpit” and «cabin” are terms often thrown around when one reviews the space encompassing the dashboard, driver’s seat and passenger seat. Never has it felt truer to me than inside the Grenadier’s control room. It feels like a very unique yet usable space that’s been inspired by an engineer’s desk at a nuclear power station.
As I said earlier, the control systems in the car were one of my favourite aspects.
You have a classy steering wheel with simple controls next to a well-sized, subtle but very useful infotainment system where you can monitor everything that is happening in and around the car, from tyre pressure to steering angle. Interestingly, Ineos did not adopt their digital interface from BMW, but developed the wonderful system, which for the most part is simple and easy to use, in-house.
Above your head, much like you would expect to find inside a commercial aeroplane, sits this retro-style control board with various switches allowing you to toggle between the off-road driving and wading modes, lock the front or rear differentials, turn traction control off or engage hill-descent assist.
Complementing the panel on the roof is a centre console where similar switches are available for climate control, volume control and simply starting the engine. Next to the elegant-looking gear selector sits a classically styled two-speed transfer case, where you can flick between low and high range driving modes. The Grenadier offers 2H, 4H and of course 4L low range driving modes. There are obviously a couple of other buttons, and while one would expect such a scattering of switches to be superfluous, every knob just makes sense, in placement and functionality. With off-road modifications in mind, there are pre-existing auxiliary switches, too, that can be wired for additional lights, for example.
As a lover of the classics in the motoring industry, I would hate for this to be perceived as an attack on a vehicle as iconic as the Land Rover Defender. This is certainly not the case; instead it’s a lesson taken by one of the most capable vehicles made. The Ineos Grenadier is everything the new Defender could have been if it was still made on a ladder-frame chassis today, and I’m sure many Land Rover enthusiasts wish it was. The Grenadier keeps, in aesthetic, that classic off-roading style and ruggedness, but comes coupled with the comforts of your luxury modern-day SUV.
The technology available makes off-roading a breeze, but the handling and attention to detail make the Grenadier truly utilitarian, in its ability to bridge the gap between city roads and unforged trails. The BMW-sourced engines are strong and have proven reliable in their German applications, Time will tell if this remains true for the Grenadier. After a rigorous week of testing it from tar through to the muddy, watery terrain of Scotland’s heartlands it’s safe to say it’s one impressive feat for a new car company’s first attempt. I can’t wait to test it on local soil.
- 01 The approach, breakover and departure angles are, respectively, 35,5°, 28,2° and 36,1°.
- 02 The Trialmaster Edition has been specced with extreme off-roading in mind.
- 03 Solid axles front and rear ensure impressive articulation.
- Permanent all-wheel drive with selectable 2H, 4H, 4L
- Off-road mode
- Wading mode
- Traction control
- Hill descent assist
- Locking differentials and optional front- and rear locking differentials
- 01 There’s no denying that the Ineos Grenadier closely resembles the classic Land Rover Defender.
- 02 A claimed wading depth of 800 mm should prove sufficient for most.
- 03 Tough BF Goodrich all-terrain rubber is stellar off-road.
- 04 Interior quality feels solid.
- 05 Overhead controls are a study in design showboating.
- 06 Fed up with fiddly touchscreens? This rugged off-roader is the antidote.
- 07 BMW-sourced gear selector seems a tad out of place.
Technical data 2024 Ineos Grenadier
- Engine: 3,0-litre, Inline 6 turbodiesel
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Max Power: 245bhp / 183kW @ 3250rpm
- Max Torque: 405lb ft / 550N.m @ 1250rpm
- Fuel consumption: 9,5 L/100 km*
- Emissions: 276–319 g/km*
- Maximum towing capacity: 3 500 kg
- Price: R1 416 985–R 1 528 940