A brand new model, a troublesome new 4×4. Right here’s our tackle the hotly anticipated INEOS Grenadier utility automobile…
Are you sitting comfortably? Effectively, let’s begin originally Slot as a result of the INEOS Grenadier has a again story like no different new automobile.
With out Sir Jim Ratcliffe – billionaire and chairman of the multinational chemical compounds firm INEOS – there can be no Grenadier.
When the long-lasting Land Rover Defender lastly ceased manufacturing at Solihull in 2016 after 67 years, Sir Jim supplied to purchase the tooling to proceed manufacturing.
Jaguar Land Rover weren’t so eager, so, over a beer with buddies at his favorite pub – The Grenadier in Belgravia, London – he determined to create his personal old-school off-roader.
INEOS Automotive was created and tons of of tens of millions of kilos has been spent growing the 4×4 named after a pub.
The unique plan was to construct the Grenadier at a brand new manufacturing unit in Wales, however then in 2020 INEOS Automotive purchased a Mercedes-Benz/Good plant at Hambach, France, which is the place the primary automobile rolled off the manufacturing line in 2022.
The Grenadier has some critically good DNA. Magna Steyr of Austria developed the chassis, the axles are from Italian tractor provider Carraro and the had been brakes developed with Brembo, plus the 2 engine choices are care of BMW, and they’re each mated to a ZF automated transmission.
In different phrases, the Grenadier has come a great distance for the reason that undertaking kicked off in 2017.
So, what’s the Grenadier, what’s it wish to drive, and has Sir Jim achieved his purpose?
It might look just like the boxy previous Land Rover Defender with a touch of Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, however the Grenadier is new from the bottom up and there are some refined variations.
As Toby Ecuyer, head of design at INEOS Automotive, mentioned: “The transient was easy. We got down to design a contemporary, purposeful and extremely succesful 4×4 automobile with utility at its core.”
Accessible as a five-door station wagon, two or five-seat utility wagon and a two-door double pick-up, its design isn’t overcomplicated.
That includes distinctive spherical headlights and tail-lights, a vertically cut up 70/30 tailgate, a rear-mounted spare wheel, exterior door hinges and an (nearly) flat windscreen, it ticks all the fitting packing containers for a utility automobile focused at 4×4 patrons. They may vary from farmers, emergency providers, worldwide charities and the navy on the hardcore finish of the market to chill individuals who need to stand out from the group.
There are some intelligent touches too, similar to twin mini-sunroofs which may be hinged or popped out, plus a mess of equipment which may be added from the phrase go, together with a ladder, full-length roofrack, built-in facet roof rails, roof-mounted LED gentle bar and an built-in all-weather facet awning.
Inside it’s a world away from the previous Defender and the present minimalist development. Up entrance there’s a big two-spoke steering wheel and a meaty centre console with air vents, a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with each Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration and a mess of dials, switches and buttons.
Up above there’s one other panel which is extra off-road targeted, with controls for diff locks, wade mode, hill descent and rather more.
The remainder of the cabin has a suitably rugged, purposeful really feel. There are water resistant, anti-stain Recaro seats, wipe-down supplies all through and even drain plugs below the rubber mats so the inside may be hosed out.
Drilling all the way down to the hardcore spec, the Grenadier has full-time four-wheel drive with a centre differential lock (entrance and rear electronically actuated diff locks are optionally out there), an eight-speed automated gearbox with a two-speed switch case and passive suspension utilizing ZF dampers and Eibach coil springs.
There’s a selection of two 3.0-litre straight-six BMW engines – a 245bhp diesel with 550Nm of torque and a 281bhp petrol with 450Nm of torque. The latter is quicker off the road (0-62mph in 8.6 seconds, in comparison with 9.9 seconds).
As I discovered throughout an intensive two-day take a look at (on and off highway within the Scottish Highlands), the Grenadier is a hardcore go-anywhere adventurer.
The figures converse for themselves (a floor clearance of 264mm, a wading depth of 800mm and a most facet angle restrict 45 levels), however nothing beats having the ability to put a 4×4 via its paces in robust, real-world situations.
Nevertheless, first we needed to drive to our all-terrain areas, and in contrast to the previous Land Rover Defender and a few 4×4 pick-ups, the Grenadier is a well-mannered performer on the highway.
The mix of a surprisingly clean, refined trip, together with comfy, supportive seats and ample house made the cabin a civilised place to be.
Visibility is mostly good, however the cut up rear doorways and spare wheel imply that the rear digicam is important for manoeuvring as a result of the wiper-swept space is modest.
The driving place is nice, besides that the engine unit eats into the motive force’s footwell on right-hand drive variations, so there’s restricted house to relaxation your left foot. On the plus facet, there’s loads of room for again seat passengers, whereas boot capability is a “class main” 1,152 litres, increasing to 2,035 litres with the 60:40 cut up folding rear bench seat folded flat.
I couldn’t wholly modify to the steering as a result of I used to be continually need to right and over-correct. The recirculating ball steering format with hydraulic help is nothing new within the 4×4 world, however it’s recognized for its vagueness. Additionally, the three.85 turns takes some getting used to.
There are at all times compromises when growing no-nonsense off-roaders that additionally need to carry out on tarmac, and general, the Grenadier manages properly.
Nevertheless, it’s off-road the place the Grenadier excels. Whether or not it was wading via a lake, climbing snow-covered hills or tackling tracks coated in slippery rocks and dust, it took all of it in its stride with nearly no fuss.
Easy although it was, my solely reservation was that a few of the overhead switches had been on the fiddly facet to function. I perceive the logic, however having to press some twice for security causes appeared fiddly, whereas the stubby and clunky mechanical lever for switching between excessive and low ratios appears archaic these days.
No automobile is ideal and the Grenadier is not any exception. Let’s begin with the folding stuff, as a result of even a fundamental two-seat Station Wagon begins at £55,000, a five-seat Station Wagon will set you again £55,000, whereas the 2 Belstaff editions (the Trialimaster or Fieldmaster we examined) begin at an eye-watering £69,000.
In different phrases, very succesful although it’s, the Grenadier isn’t fairly the utilitarian automobile off-road fans had hoped for. In truth, it’s just about in the identical worth bracket as the brand new upmarket Land Rover Defender.
And when you think about that you just wanted round £35,000 to purchase a Defender 110 XS again in 2015, it’ll be some time earlier than used Grenadiers will develop into reasonably priced for the lots.
Then there’s economic system. Official figures for the petrol engine are 18.9-19.6mpg, whereas the diesel fares somewhat higher (23.1-26.9mpg). CO2 emissions are additionally difficult 325-336g/km (petrol) and 276-319g/km (diesel), although INEOS is trying into an electrical, and even hydrogen gas cell variants.
Subsequent comes security. Today it appears odd for brand spanking new vehicles to not have an extended of security programs and driver help tech.
Sure, the Grenadier has airbags and ISOFIX factors, automated hazard warning, SOS Emergency Name and fundamentals similar to anti-lock brakes (ABS) and Digital Stability Management (ESC) and cruise management, however that’s so far as it goes for now.
Apparently a extra intensive security suite is predicted for 2024 when it’s going to develop into necessary within the EU, however for now, commonplace Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), land-keeping programs and adaptive cruise management are usually not out there on the Grenadier.
Lastly, a little bit of housekeeping. The Grenadier has a wonderful 3.5-tonne towing capability and all fashions within the UK get a beneficiant five-year limitless mileage guarantee as commonplace.
So, all in all, the Grenadier is a superb first effort from INEOS. It turns heads for all the fitting causes, and as we discovered through the launch, generates big quantities of curiosity.
Verdict: The Grenadier is a powerful debut mannequin from INEOS Automotive. At school report parlance, there’s undoubtedly “room for enchancment”, however finally it’s a sensible, very succesful and critical off-roader with good highway manners.