Is This Defender Clone a Rip-Off or a Reinvention?


When in 2015 Jaguar Land Rover introduced that after 67 years it was ending manufacturing of the long-lasting Land Rover Defender, British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe noticed a possibility. Ratcliffe knew JLR was engaged on a high-tech successor to the Defender, and he figured it could be a way more upmarket automobile than the previous one, leaving an apparent gap out there. To fill it, Ratcliffe tried to purchase the previous Defender tooling, however JLR refused to promote. Undaunted, he determined to create his personal Defender-style off-roader as an alternative. Meet the Ineos Grenadier.

Ineos is the identify of the U.Okay.-based, multinational chemical substances firm Ratcliffe half owns. Grenadier is the identify of the pub in Belgravia, London, the place Ratcliffe first floated the thought of constructing his personal off-roader. And the Ineos Grenadier is an unapologetic homage to considered one of Ratcliffe’s favourite automobiles.

The Grenadier is a body-on-frame SUV with coil-sprung stay axles entrance and rear. Two engines will initially be out there, each BMW-sourced 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-sixes, one which burns diesel and one which burns fuel. The engines drive all 4 wheels via an eight-speed automated transmission and a two-speed switch case.

A lot of the Grenadier’s growth work is being achieved is by Magna Steyr, which builds the Mercedes-Benz G-Class at its plant in Graz, Austria. The emphasis is on functionality, sturdiness, and utility, because the Grenadier is designed to be a real off-roader able to working in punishing environments. “We’re not constructing an SUV,” say Ineos insiders. Jeep’s Wrangler is likely one of the growth crew’s benchmark automobiles by way of each on- and off-road efficiency and functionality.

Although Ineos Automotive design chief Toby Ecuyer says his design crew checked out Jeep Wranglers, FJ-era Toyota Land Cruisers, Nissan Patrols, and even previous Ford Broncos and Mercedes-Benz Unimogs, the Grenadier seems virtually a carbon copy of the previous Defender. The pronounced shoulder on the bodyside; the flat beltline beneath the cabin; the flat-top entrance fenders that roll to the vertical to accommodate the headlights; the marginally protruding grille; the clamshell hood; the clip-on roof with Alpine lights—they’re all classic Land Rover visible cues.

The Grenadier is barely wider and barely shorter general than the previous long-wheelbase Defender, and the bodywork is a combination of aluminum, composites, and high-strength metal. The Grenadier will initially launch in long-wheelbase wagon and crew-cab pickup physique kinds, however short-wheelbase variations are additionally mentioned to be beneath growth.

Ineos hasn’t launched inside particulars but however count on extra old-school Defender minimalism, although with fashionable ergonomics. “I feel it is honest to say that our ergonomics will likely be about as removed from Defender as we are able to make them,” says Ineos Automotive business director Mark Tennant. “The 1950s 85th percentile male just isn’t fairly the identical because the 21st-century one, so clearly that is an space of great focus. The automobiles have gotten to be far more comfy than a few of these originals.

The Grenadier will likely be initially launched in Europe subsequent 12 months, however the North American market could be very a lot on the radar, says Tennant, although he will not be pinned down on timing. “From a regulatory perspective and a distribution perspective, it is difficult,” he admits. “We actually have to make it possible for we do not go into the U.S. with out having every little thing lined up.”



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