The Ineos Grenadier is the best new SUV you probably haven’t heard of.
Even so, you should consider this tough, capable and comfortable off-roader, available in North America in Fall 2023.
I tested a pre-production model recently, over rocks and through mud, and was suitably impressed.
The Ineos Grenadier merges the best off-road capability of the Land Rover Defender and Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen with the comfort of a luxury sedan into an SUV that’s equally at home on treacherous off-road mud tracks, hauling the kids to school or the camper to the lake.
Nearly 10,000 buyers have already placed reservations to be the first to own and drive this new $71K purpose-built phenom when it arrives in the US by the end of 2023.
Ineos Grenadier History
The vehicle was born – literally – in a London pub named Grenadier.
Adventurer and off-road enthusiast Sir Jim Ratcliffe was lamenting to friends a few years ago that the legendary tough-as-nails Defender was going out of production, and decided to buy the rights to continue its production.
He tried, but Jaguar/Land Rover wouldn’t sell. So he decided to build his own.
As chairman of Ineos, one of the largest chemical corporations on the planet, Sir Jim had the money, connections and drive (pardon the pun) to build his own dream off-road SUV.
He gathered designers and engineers from Britain, Germany and elsewhere in Europe, and bought a modern factory on the French-German border which was built originally by Daimler to produce the Smart car, to manufacture it.
“We started with a blank piece of paper,” EVP Greg Walls told me.
That allowed the new car company to choose the best of each possible component, from gearing to tires, without worrying about what he described as the “legacy constraints” of manufacturers like Land Rover or Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler.
I was at a rocky, muddy off-road track facility in the mountains of upstate New York, to test drive a pre-production model.
It was the kind of trail where 3MPH feels fast.
I was impressed by its sure-footed handling, especially through tight trees that left a blink of space between the super-sized sideview mirrors and the tree trunks.
The Ineos Grenadier is a specialized and capable off-road SUV. Photo: Evelyn Kanter
Ineos Grenadier is Tough
There’s a tough mix of three locking differentials, solid beam axles, a ladder-frame chassis, and recirculating ball steering.
That’s more responsive and heavy-duty than the traditional rack-and-pinion steering on most cars and SUVs.
And a tough, powerful 3-liter, 282hp turbo-charged engine from BMW.
There are dozens of dashboard and overhead controls for various on-road and off-road functions, but none to turn in the mirrors against the chassis, including when the engine is shut off.
It seems to be the only feature the Grenadier is lacking.
Ineos Grenadier Features
My favorite features were the comfy leather seats that cushion the bumps and a split 60-40 back door that allows you to open one side to grab the grocery bags, or both to haul a stroller, skis or golf bags.
Multiple tie-downs in the cargo area keep things from shifting on a steep or bumpy slope. The smaller door has a ladder for easy rooftop access.
The cargo bay on the super-rugged Trail version has a “hose out” design for quick and easy cleaning up muck. And, of course, there’s a multimedia screen and system with all the bells and whistles expected these days.
Both brakes and steering had more “play” than I expected in such a rugged vehicle, but then responded firmly in another split second. Walls explained that actually allows for more control, such as in panic braking or steering.
“The more specialized a vehicle is, the more time it takes for familiarization. But once you know the characteristics, you have more control,” he explained. For me, it took just once or twice to understand and adapt.
Walls says the Grenadier customer ranges from what he describes as “utilitarians,” who are serious off-road adventurers like Sir Jim, to outdoor lovers who need a vehicle capable of packing camping gear and towing a boat, snowmobile or ATV.
Ineos Grenadier EV is Down the Road
The Ineos Grenadier will be available in North America in Fall 2023, at a starting price of $71,300.
It will be sold at a combination of independent dealerships and online and soon won’t be the off-road SUV you’ve never heard of.
Disclosure: I was a guest of Ineos Grenadier for this test drive. Opinions and muddy shoes shared here are my own.
Additional disclosure: A version of this article was published earlier on A Girls Guide To Cars, for which I write often.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is a journalist with 20+ years of experience as a newspaper and magazine writer, radio & TV news producer & reporter, and author of guidebooks and smartphone apps – all focusing on travel, automotive, the environment and your rights as a consumer.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter currently serves as President of the International Motor Press Assn. (IMPA), a former Board Member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and a current member of the North American Travel Journalists Assn. (NATJA).
Contact me at email@example.com.
Copyright (C) Evelyn Kanter