If you’re jonesing for a different, capable kind of 4×4 than the one down the block, look no further than the British-designed, German-engineered Grenadier from INEOS Automotive. “Who is INEOS Automotive and what’s the INEOS Grenadier?” You may ponder these questions as you scratch your head in curiosity, looking more closely at the Grenadier’s Land Rover-esque shape.
Recently, I was one of a few North American journalists invited to Scotland to drive the production-ready off-roader—a rugged workhorse 4×4 produced by the brand new auto manufacturer, owned by England-based chemicals giant, INEOS Group. INEOS Automotive held its first-ever Global Media Drive Event: Expedition 1.0. It was my chance to drive their latest iteration compared to my time with the 2B prototypes in France just one year ago.
Is the INEOS Grenadier a Land Rover?
The INEOS Grenadier 4×4 isn’t a Land Rover, though it echoes similarities to the original Defender. The Grenadier is constructed from the ground up, built for a specific purpose: to fill a gap that Jaguar Land Rover created in 2016 when it ceased production of its legendary body-on-frame utilitarian Defender. INEOS’ goal is to create a 4×4 that uses old-school mechanical engagement and know-how whenever possible and technology only when necessary.
First formed in 2017, under the direction of British billionaire and INEOS Group’s Chief Executive Officer Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the burgeoning auto manufacturer assembled top talent in the industry, bought a Mercedes-Benz Smart car factory in Hambach, France, and retrofitted it to build its off-roaders. It has since finished testing several prototype iterations before rolling out production-ready models for us to test and certain markets to soon purchase.
INEOS Grenadier Basics
The INEOS Grenadier comes in three different iterations: the most off-road capable Trialmaster edition, a slightly posher Fieldmaster, and the base Grenadier 4×4. Out of the box, the Grenadier showcases a peppy turbocharged 3.0-liter BMW B58 inline straight-six gasser that generates 281 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque.
The Grenadier is surprisingly quick and can carry you into traffic with relative ease. The BMW mill, which was revised for this application, is mated to a ZF 8HP51 8-speed smooth-shifting automatic (this transmission can also be used in manual mode).
EPA ratings for fuel economy are yet to be announced, but non-U.S. petrol fuel economy figures range from 18.9 to 19.6 miles per gallon (typical for an adventure vehicle of this size). The Grenadier includes a 23.77-gallon fuel tank (90 liters), too.
Two Grenadier model configurations are currently available, with more in the works. North America will only receive the INEOS Grenadier five-seater “wagon” or SUV, though a two-seat commercial utility vehicle is also available, it’ll remain overseas to assist fleet companies and corporations.
The INEOS Grenadier is longer and taller than comparable competitors like the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon JLU. It’s also wider but slightly shorter in wheelbase but feels equally stable off-road. The Grenadier sits at 115 inches whereas the Rubicon stretches to 118.4 inches. The Wrangler tows 3,500 pounds, though the INEOS Grenadier blows that out of the water with an impressive 7,000-pound towing capacity.
INEOS’ created the Grenadier to be field fixable whenever possible, so it employs several old-school-yet-proven 4×4 workhorse attributes. Some of these items include solid front and rear axles, a robust ladder-frame chassis, and old-school recirculating ball steering with a hydraulic assist (steering focused primarily for off-road duties).
For owners who want to work on their Grenadier themselves, INEOS will provide online-available 3D interactive manuals to assist with repairs, with support from the technical team at INEOS headquarters simply a call or click away. Roadside assistance is included as a standard feature with every Grenadier, and a comprehensive INEOS-accredited service network will stock commonly used parts. Parts not easily available will be shipped via express carrier from Belgium.
The five-seat Grenadier showcases a minimally appointed and nicely designed interior. The cabin is spacious and airy, allowing plenty of room for taller passengers or cargo. Comfortable and durably made manually adjustable Recaro seats are featured across all editions. However, a manual-cranking lumbar function for additional back support and height-changeable seatbelt adjustments to fit passengers with shorter torsos would be welcomed additions.
The Grenadier features an oversized center stack and overhead control module. The 4×4’s 12.3-inch digital display system is in the center of the vehicle versus in front of the driver. It shows speed, fuel level, engine temp, the vehicle altitude, off-road statistics, and more. The infotainment system includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, shows a ton of informative graphs, and is easy to use. Though, some of the text is small and hard to read when bouncing around on off-road trails.
Simple buttons adorn the interior, focusing on oversized placements and low-tech engagement wherever possible. A physical key even replaces a typical push-button start. The rear cargo area is boxy, deep, and has integrated L-tracks to easily secure luggage. The rear 30/70 split doors open sideways, however, there isn’t an interior pull handle to close the larger door. You need to close it using the outside door itself (which is a painted surface) or the spare tire. A pull handle should be an easy-to-add convenience item.
Visibility when driving the Grenadier is adequate, even for shorter people like me (thanks to a hand-crank height-adjustable seat). However, the traditional rearview mirror leaves much to be desired when looking out of the Grenadier’s rear split doors. Between the factory-optional roof-access ladder and the full-size spare tire, there is little room to see clearly behind you. My suggestion: offer an optional technology upgrade that includes a digital rearview mirror with a coordinating rear-facing camera for obstruction-free viewing.
Though the steering has a slow ratio with 3.85 turns (lock to lock), it’s smooth and stable when navigating Scotland’s curvy country roads and exceptionally precise when off-roading. Although my focus was primarily on the Grenadier’s off-road attitude, its on-road feel is equally as important.
Fortunately, the INEOS Grenadier is responsive enough to not tax me on country roads at quicker paces. The suspension is compliant and the ride is smooth if you’re fluid with steering transitions. Braking and acceleration are equally as admirable, although you won’t win any drag races as the 0-60 time is just over eight seconds.
At highway speeds, there was very little wind noise. You could carry on a quiet conversation and easily be heard—something other off-road 4x4s struggle to achieve. There were zero rattles or creaking as well which made the rig even more pleasant.
The Grenadier is an all-around fun and deeply enjoyable vehicle to drive on the pavement. It’d make an ideal cross-country roadrunner or daily driver grocery getter.
INEOS Automotive partnered with top industry names to create the Grenadier. Some of these include a BMW engine, ZF transmission and shocks, Carraro heavy-duty axles, Eibach progressive-rate coil springs, Brembo brakes, BFGoodrich all-terrain tires, RED winches, and more. The INEOS Grenadier is truly a hard-working brute.
The Grenadier lineup has permanent four-wheel drive and features a manually operated two-speed transfer case with 4H and 4L (2.5:1 ratio produced by Tremec), as well as a standard center-locking differential. However, it can take a time or two to fully engage 4L it via its stout lever. Optional front and rear differential lockers are electronically actuated via ceiling-mounted push buttons. Front and rear lockers are standard on the Trialmaster but are factory available for the Fieldmaster and base Grenadier.
Wheel articulation is 9 inches in the front and 12 inches in the rear, with total wheel travel measuring 23 inches (I used every inch). The Grenadier lineup has 10.4 inches of ground clearance (less than a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon JL) and a wading depth of 31.5 inches. It has an approach angle of 35.5 degrees, a departure angle of 36.1, and a breakover angle of 28.2 degrees. INEOS Automotive says it can lean to its side up to 45 degrees, too (though I wasn’t able to test it to that intensity).
Other Off-Road Elements
The INEOS Grenadier includes 17-inch and 18-inch steel and alloy wheel options and three-peak mountain-snowflake-rated tire choices: 265/70R17 or 255/70R18 Bridgestone Dueler all-terrain tires (great for on-road use) or LT265/70R17 or LT255/70R18 BFGoodrich KO2 all-terrains (excellent off-road rubber).
The BFGoodrich KO2 all-terrain tires were swapped on all testers due to the nature of the terrain we were driving (in my opinion, a grippingly solid choice). Note: BFGoodrich KO2s are normally standard on Trialmaster and base Grenadier editions and Bridgestone Duelers are standard on the Fieldmaster model.
The Grenadier also includes standard front/fuel tank and rear skid plates (which came in handy when slogging through deep partially frozen mud bogs and thick ice-lined trails). Additionally, external roof-mounted pre-wiring for auxiliary accessories and cargo-hauling L-tracks are also included—items not found on the comparative competition.
Modular steel bumpers are standard, and a factory-available front-integrated bespoke RED winch can be ordered (it’s made in Britain and includes synthetic rope and a wireless remote). Note: A wired remote wasn’t mentioned and may not be included. A rear removable winch is also available.
The Euro-spec bumper on our tester had no access point to realign the synthetic winch rope after use if needed. However, when asked for information on the North American-spec factory-winch bumper design, a product team spokesman from INEOS Automotive said, “There is easier access—unfortunately, we don’t have any images to share.” Actual access points to service the winch on our bumper design remain to be seen.
Scotland’s Luss Estate is in the Scottish Highlands. It boasts a demanding natural course that tested the Grenadier’s off-road capabilities (sans its Wading mode). Soggy wet conditions met us after freezing temps and icy road conditions made the first day of testing tricky. This was especially true on twisty country roads.
Mud-filled chutes gave way to moss-encrusted hillsides and rocky trails. It was the perfect place to try the Grenadier’s Off-Road mode while in low range. Off-Road mode is a system that deactivates seatbelt reminder noises, auto start/stop, and parking sensors to enhance driver focus. The Off-Road mode, Wading mode, available front and rear lockers, and other off-road features can only be employed via a specific two-step push-button sequence. This makes sure their usage is deliberate before carrying on. Once learned, the system takes seconds to engage, becoming a natural habit.
The hill descent control system is easy-to-use and phenomenally balanced. It meticulously managed throttle and brake adjustments as I effortlessly drove down steep and loose off-camber tracks. This was done without touching the brakes or throttle. Once engaged, the system can be slowed to three miles per hour. It can also be increased using the vehicle’s cruise control buttons.
Uphill assist helped the Grenadier solidly remain in place after navigating up extreme terrain. Twisty tree-lined areas tested the Grenadier’s surprising finesse in tight areas, too. This was something I wasn’t expecting given its girth. Mind you I normally drive a two-door Mitsubishi Pajero 4×4.
In short, the INEOS Grenadier is a truly capable and comfortable off-roader. It’s a fresh, new alternative to the current North American market. It displays similar capabilities to the Land Rover Defender, Jeep Wrangler, Ford Bronco, and Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen. However, its throw-back design and unique offerings allow it better chances to be fixed in the field. Additionally, factory-supplied features like pre-wiring for aux accessories and L-tracks to secure cargo make the Grenadier a distinctive off-roader.
The Grenadier confidently conquered all trail obstacles without any suspension weaknesses or clearance issues, even at full articulation. I didn’t even hear a creak or rattle while I drove the petrol Fieldmaster and diesel Trialmaster. However, it was difficult to disengage the front and rear lockers after use. I spent an unreasonable amount of time rocking it back and forth. The vehicle was also throttled about before it detected wheel slippage and confirmed the status change. I hope that’ll be refined once the 2024 model hits our shores.
That set aside, I was extremely impressed with the production-ready INEOS Grenadier’s off-road capability and overall refinement. The Grenadier has an insatiable appetite for any type of terrain. It certainly proved its worth during my time with it in the Highlands of Scotland. That speaks volumes coming from a young gun manufacturer.
North American Updates
Several parts of the world will get the 2023 INEOS Grenadier before we’ll see it later this year. It will be a 2024 model. MSRP has been announced in a few markets, and prices for North America will be shared soon.
INEOS has completed 1.1 million miles of strenuous testing and development. They’ve put together comprehensive warranty packages for customers in the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, and Asia. However, North America’s warranty plan has yet to be disclosed.
Off-roaders, outdoor enthusiasts, and lifestyle go-getters are pining for different vehicles. The INEOS Grenadier may just fit the bill on numerous levels. I see it at home atop Imogene Pass in Colorado. It’ll confidently crawl up Moab’s Metal Masher. But, it’ll equally be as suave running Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills or bombing through the Big Apple, too.
The INEOS Grenadier is something different. It’s a new 4×4 that’s paying homage to old-school-off-roaders while incorporating the bare necessities of technology. And, sometimes, that’s the proper way to go in today’s day and age.
INEOS Grenadier Quick Stats
- 2023 INEOS Grenadier (North American market will receive 2024 model year)
- Price as tested: prices are dependent on the edition/accessories chosen. North American market pricing will be announced in the coming months.
- Anticipated North American sale date: late 2023 (as a 2024 model year)
- Engine: turbocharged 3.0-liter BMW B58 inline straight-six gas
- Power/torque: 282 hp / 332 lb-ft torque
- Fuel economy ratings: yet to be announced for the North American market. Non-U.S. petrol fuel economy figures ranged from 18.9 to 19.6 miles per gallon.
- Warranty: North American warranty information will be announced in the coming months. However, a comprehensive mechanical, parts, ladder-chassis, and accessories warranty has been put together for other parts of the world.
- Competitors: Land Rover Defender, Jeep Wrangler, Ford Bronco, Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen