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Ineos Grenadier test drive | The Car Expert

Make and model: Ineos Grenadier
Description: Large SUV
Price range: from £64,500

Ineos says: “Combining rugged British spirit and design with German engineering rigour, the Grenadier is a truly uncompromising 4×4 built from the ground up.”

We say: The Grenadier has a surprising amount of character for a brand new automotive brand and delivers on the brief of being an impressive off-roader.


Introduction

After trying to buy JLR’s manufacturing equipment for the Defender, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Ineos’ founder, decided to make his own version. Sitting in a London pub called The Grenadier, a plan was devised to make a highly capable 4×4. Having never made a vehicle before, the whole process was rather unorthodox compared to traditional automotive manufacturers. 

The Ineos Group is one of the largest chemical companies in the world, with several businesses under this umbrella. As a newly founded automotive marque, Ratcliffe employed the public’s help in naming the car. More than 6,000 respondents to a social media poll landed on naming it after the pub where it was dreamt up. 

Originally intending to manufacture its cars in the UK, Ineos instead purchased a former Mercedes-Benz manufacturing plant in France to build the Grenadier. So it’s not so much British as Brit-ish.

The production version was launched in 2022, available across the UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, the Middle East, Asia, North America and parts of Africa.

As of February 2024, the Ineos Grenadier holds a New Car Expert Rating of E with a score of 48% in our Expert Rating Index. That doesn’t sound particularly impressive, but there are valid reasons for such a low score, which we’ll explore as we work our way through this review.

What is it?

The Ineos Grenadier was designed to be a capable 4×4, heavily inspired by the original Land Rover Defender. In recent years, these cars have tended to stray away from their utilitarian roots into the luxury segment of the market so the Grenadier retains some luxury features but focuses on functionality.

This results in a car that works well as a commercial vehicle, or for those who regularly traverse rough terrain. But for most on-road applications, other SUVs or pick-up trucks will offer a more comfortable, more sophisticated experience. 

First impressions

The best word to describe the Ineos Grenadier’s styling is functional. Its squared-off design features chunky bumpers and exterior plastic details to enhance the utility of the car. Get a bit closer and you can see the bumpers are separated into three parts, so if one element gets damaged it can easily be replaced without tearing the entire front of the vehicle apart. 

At the back, a full-size spare wheel is attached to the larger of the side-opening doors and a ladder can be specified over the smaller door. A lockable, 20-litre storage box, holding up to 15kg, can be added to the spare wheel so dirty rags or items needed to be easily accessible can be stored here. The rear space opens using the smaller door first so if the vehicle is towing this still allows access to the rear without needing to uncouple the trailer.

We like: Well thought out, functional design
We don’t like: Mostly hard surfaces throughout 

What do you get for your money?

The Station Wagon is available in two Belstaff edition trim levels. The clothing brand Belstaff is part of the Ineos Group and the trim names come from its jackets Fieldmaster and Trialmaster. In some markets these trims are also available on the Utility model. 

Fieldmaster includes 18-inch alloy wheels, safari windows above the driver and co-driver, leather upholstery, carpet floor mats, heated front seats and an uprated sound system. 

Trialmaster is geared towards off-roading so this trim features 17-inch steel wheels, raised air intake, exterior utility belt, access ladder and a 400W power take-off. This trim also comes with the rough pack which includes front and rear differential locks and BFGoodrich all-terrain KO2 tyres. 

Both trims come with the smooth pack, featuring a rear-view camera, park assist front, heated exterior mirrors, heated windscreen washer jets, lockable central stowage box, puddle lamps, ambient door lighting and auxiliary charge points. 

Despite this being Ineos’ first venture into car manufacturing, sales have started strongly. Compared to other options in this market, including pick-up trucks, the Grenadier is a little pricey. Things start at £64,500 for the two-seat Utility Wagon, stepping up £66,215 for the Quartermaster pickup and from £76,000 for the Station Wagon. 

Larger manufacturers are able to produce more trim and model variants to offer a good level of equipment and utility at most price points but the Grenadier is on the higher end compared to the entry level Defender from £51,745 or a double cab Ford Ranger from £29,800. However, used prices for the Grenadier as of January 2024 sit at around £50,000 so this could be a more affordable entry point as there become more used Grenadiers available. 

It comes with a 12-year anti-perforation warranty, five-year, unlimited mileage mechanical warranty, two-year parts warranty and three-year accessories warranty.

We like: Great off-roading equipment
We don’t like: Pricey and lack of safety equipment for on road driving 

What’s the Ineos Grenadier like inside?

The interior is very functional with real buttons for everything. There’s also a large screen in the centre of the dash, which can be controlled by touch or using a control wheel similar to BMW’s iDrive system. In aeroplane-esque fashion, the centre console continues on the roof of the vehicle so more of the specialised off-roading controls are housed above. 

Everything is very easy to access and turn on and off, even with gloves on. A big plus of the interior is the ability to wash it down without worrying about messing up all of the electrics. Up to a certain point, the inside can be hosed down or wiped over and drained out through plugs in the floor.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard and Pathfinder off-road navigation is included which is a waypoint-based guidance system. 

The Recaro seats make a massive difference to the overall comfort of the vehicle and whilst these are generally seen in performance cars it works well in the Grenadier. Rear space isn’t the best in class for this category but the car is marketed as a utilitarian workhorse, so the focus is on load space. If rear passenger space is a priority then the Station Wagon variant is the one to go for.

We like: Easy to use screen with smartphone integration
We don’t like: Limited space in the rear seats

What’s under the bonnet?

The Grenadier is equipped with either a petrol or diesel BMW 3.0-litre turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine. Availability is market dependent but, for the UK and Europe, all versions are available with either petrol or diesel engine. Both fuel types are also paired with eight-speed automatic transmissions. 

In terms of power, the fuels are closely matched but the diesel edges above as the torquier version. The petrol unit offers 282bhp and 450Nm of torque whilst the diesel has 246bhp and 550Nm of torque. Both can achieve peak torque at low revs, which is ideal for off-roading and towing. 

The vehicle is built on a ladder-frame chassis and has a galvanised steel body. It runs in permanent four wheel drive and has up to three locking differentials. As standard it comes with a central diff lock, and front and rear electronically actuated diff locks are optional.

What’s the Ineos Grenadier like to drive?

Unlike the vast majority of modern cars, the Grenadier’s steering wheel doesn’t self-right itself to a straight position after turning. Instead, the wheel stays where you left it so this can take a bit of getting used to. You have to think back to when you passed your driving test and feed the wheel through your hands to get it on the straight and narrow again. The steering feels very light, though, so it’s not a slog to get it in the right position. 

The Recaro seats make up for any firmness in the suspension set up. It’s comfortable over challenging terrain and it doesn’t feel like your bones have been rattled after tackling uneven ground. On the road, the ride set up is quite stiff so if it will mainly be used on-road then other rivals can offer smoother experiences.  

As a nod to The Ineos Grenadiers road cycling team, the car has a ‘toot’ horn as well as a normal horn. The idea is to make a smaller sound to alert other road users of your presence rather than scaring them off their bikes. 

It’s got the right amount of premium features and a good heating system that even in the winter heats up the cabin quickly, especially if the car is equipped with heated seats. Another nice touch is in off-road mode, all the parking sensors get turned off so there’s no annoying beeping going through long grass or wading through water. Although it’s an expensive investment, it feels solid and well thought out.

We like: Well thought out modes and features like ‘toot’ horn 
We don’t like: Unnatural steering experience takes some getting used to 

Verdict

As a farming or off-road vehicle, the Ineos Grenadier is well worth considering. If you’re after a luxury SUV that takes its styling cues from utilitarian vehicles, however, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class can offer a higher level of luxury paired with capable off-road dynamics.

Instead of trying to appeal to several markets, the Grenadier sticks to its 4×4 abilities and does this extremely well. 

Similar cars

If you’re looking at the Ineos Grenadier, you might also be interested in these alternatives

Jeep Wrangler | Land Rover Defender | Land Rover Discovery | Mercedes-Benz G-Class | SsangYong Rexton | Toyota Land Cruiser | Volkswagen Touareg | Volvo XC90

Key specifications

Model tested: Ineos Grenadier Station Wagon Fieldmaster
Price as tested: £76,000
Engine: 3.0-litre petrol or diesel
Gearbox: Eight-speed automatic

Power: 282bhp (petrol), 246bhp (diesel)
Torque: 450Nm (petrol), 550Nm (diesel)

Top speed: 99 mph
0-62 mph: 8.6-9.9 seconds

CO2 emissions: 279-336 g/km
Euro NCAP safety rating: No rating
TCE Expert Rating: 48% (as of February 2024)

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This article was originally published by a www.thecarexpert.co.uk . Read the Original article here. .

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