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? Nicely, let’s begin initially 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 enduring 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 pals at his favorite pub – The Grenadier in Belgravia, London – he determined to create his personal old-school off-roader.
INEOS Automotive was created and lots of of hundreds of thousands 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 significantly 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 computerized transmission.
In different phrases, the Grenadier has come a good distance for the reason that challenge kicked off in 2017.
So, what’s the Grenadier, what’s it prefer to drive, and has Sir Jim achieved his aim?
It could look much like the boxy outdated Land Rover Defender with a touch of Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, however the Grenadier is new from the bottom up and there are some delicate variations.
As Toby Ecuyer, head of design at INEOS Automotive, mentioned: “The transient was easy. We got down to design a contemporary, useful and extremely succesful 4×4 automobile with utility at its core.”
Obtainable 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 (virtually) flat windscreen, it ticks all the correct packing containers for a utility automobile focused at 4×4 patrons. They are going to vary from farmers, emergency companies, worldwide charities and the army on the hardcore finish of the market to chill individuals who need to stand out from the gang.
There are some intelligent touches too, akin to twin mini-sunroofs which may be hinged or popped out, plus a large number of equipment which may be added from the phrase go, together with a ladder, full-length roofrack, built-in aspect roof rails, roof-mounted LED mild bar and an built-in all-weather aspect awning.
Inside it’s a world away from the outdated Defender and the present minimalist pattern. 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 large number of dials, switches and buttons.
Up above there’s one other panel which is extra off-road centered, with controls for diff locks, wade mode, hill descent and far more.
The remainder of the cabin has a suitably rugged, useful really feel. There are waterproof, anti-stain Recaro seats, wipe-down supplies all through and even drain plugs underneath 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 obtainable), an eight-speed computerized 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 in depth two-day check (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 aspect angle restrict 45 levels), however nothing beats with the ability to put a 4×4 by its paces in robust, real-world circumstances.
Nevertheless, first we needed to drive to our all-terrain areas, and in contrast to the outdated Land Rover Defender and a few 4×4 pick-ups, the Grenadier is a well-mannered performer on the highway.
The mixture of a surprisingly clean, refined experience, together with comfy, supportive seats and ample area made the cabin a civilised place to be.
Visibility is usually good, however the cut up rear doorways and spare wheel imply that the rear digital camera is important for manoeuvring as a result of the wiper-swept space is modest.
The driving place is sweet, besides that the engine unit eats into the driving force’s footwell on right-hand drive variations, so there’s restricted area to relaxation your left foot. On the plus aspect, 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 always should right and over-correct. The recirculating ball steering format with hydraulic help is nothing new within the 4×4 world, however it’s identified 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 should 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 by a lake, climbing snow-covered hills or tackling tracks lined in slippery rocks and dust, it took all of it in its stride with virtually no fuss.
Easy although it was, my solely reservation was that a few of the overhead switches had been on the fiddly aspect 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 at the present time.
No automobile is ideal and the Grenadier isn’t any exception. Let’s begin with the folding stuff, as a result of even a primary 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 lovers had hoped for. In actual fact, it’s just about in the identical value 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 grow to be inexpensive for the plenty.
Then there’s economic system. Official figures for the petrol engine are 18.9-19.6mpg, whereas the diesel fares just a little 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. Nowadays it appears odd for brand new vehicles to not have an extended of security techniques and driver help tech.
Sure, the Grenadier has airbags and ISOFIX factors, computerized hazard warning, SOS Emergency Name and fundamentals akin 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 anticipated for 2024 when it can grow to be obligatory within the EU, however for now, commonplace Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), land-keeping techniques and adaptive cruise management will not be obtainable 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 good first effort from INEOS. It turns heads for all the correct causes, and as we discovered in the course of the launch, generates big quantities of curiosity.
Verdict: The Grenadier is a powerful debut mannequin from INEOS Automotive. In class report parlance, there’s undoubtedly “room for enchancment”, however in the end it’s a sensible, very succesful and severe off-roader with good highway manners.