This is the Ineos Grenadier, a rugged off-roader that aims to take over from where the previous-generation Land Rover Defender left off.
Unless you’ve been following the Grenadier story in recent years, you may not have heard of Ineos. That’s because this isn’t a car manufacturer and is instead one of the world’s largest chemical producers. Founder Jim Ratcliffe was inspired by Land Rover’s decision to kill off the original Defender and decided to build a new one. The Grenadier gets its name from a London pub where Ratcliffe first envisioned the vehicle.
Visually, the similarities between the Ineos Grenadier and original Defender are clear. The Ineos has a similar utilitarian design with a boxy profile. Up front, there is a prominent black bumper, large circular headlights, and secondary lights incorporated into the grille. Like the original Defender, the Grenadier has been designed to be as rugged as possible. For example, the front fenders are strong enough to sit on and there are roof bars and load pads integrated into the roof meaning no roof rack is needed to carry loads.
Out back, the Grenadier pictured sports a spare wheel, circular taillights, a skid plate, and a small ladder to gain access to the roof.
Underpinning the Ineos is a ladder frame chassis and suspension design by Magna Steyr in Austria.
“The brief was simple. We set out to design a modern, functional and highly capable 4×4 vehicle with utility at its core,” says Ineos head of design Toby Ecuyer. “A design that is ‘easy-to-read’, with no ambiguity about the Grenadier’s role in life. There to do everything you need, and nothing you don’t. Nothing is for show. Modern engineering and production techniques ensure the Grenadier is highly capable, but we have been able to stay true to the essence of creating a utilitarian vehicle that will stand the test of time”.
Ineos has yet to finish the interior design of the off-roader but it is expected to use lots of BMW parts. Speaking of BMW, power will come from BMW’s 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine that is mated to a ZF eight-speed transmission. Ineos has yet to announce specifics for the engine but has confirmed it will apply its own tune to the inline-six. Coming standard will be a mechanical center differential with locking functionality being optional.
“The Grenadier project started by identifying a gap in the market, abandoned by a number of manufacturers, for a utilitarian off-road vehicle,” Ineos chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe added. “This gave us our engineering blueprint for a capable, durable and reliable 4×4 built to handle the world’s harshest environments. But it had to look the part as well. As you will see today, Toby and his team have done a great job in delivering a design that is both distinctive and purposeful.”
In the coming 12 months or so, Ineos will partner with Magna Steyr to develop the off-roader with a plan to test it for more than 1.1 million miles (1.8 million km) as part of a grueling development regime.
As the Grenadier comes from a company with no prior experience of this sort in the automotive industry, it wouldn’t be surprising for it to come at a significant premium over other off-roaders on the market. However, Ineos is targeting a starting price of around $30,000 when the Grenadier lands in the U.S. in 2021, putting it in line with the Jeep Wrangler and undercutting the new Land Rover Defender by around $20,000.