If you think the last thing we need is another SUV, well, guess again.
The 2023 Ineos Grenadier is a new ute developed by a new automaker: Ineos Automotive. Founded in 2017, the new automaker is a division of Ineos, a privately held chemical company that ranks as the world’s third largest, with $65 billion in annual sales, 25,000 employees, and 39 businesses in 31 countries. This is one neophyte automaker that’s well-funded.
The new venture is the vision of Ineos CEO Jim Ratcliffe, who developed the new vehicle as a true successor to the previous-generation Land Rover Defender, which ceased production in 2016. It’s named after his favorite London pub, which the company now owns.
Offered in three trim levels — base, off-road-oriented Grenadier Trialmaster and fancier Grenadier Fieldmaster — the new vehicles were developed with help from BMW, which supplies the engine and transmission, and Magna Steyr. The vehicle is built in France at a former Mercedes-Benz plant.
Ineos plans to have about 15 dealers in the United States, with most being in the smile states. The automaker has contracted with BMW to handle routine maintenance. In an effort to make repairs easy, many of the Grenadier’s parts are off-the-shelf items. Nevertheless, the company says the new vehicle is built with intention of lasting 30 years, rather than the 10 years typical of most modern SUVS.
The smooth, aerodynamic modern reductionism that characterizes the current Land Rover Defender is absent here. Function is its fashion. It’s easy to spot the Grenadier’s Defender-like design elements, such as the headlights placed in the fenders, the 70/30 split rear door, the high roof or the slit-like windows just below the roof. But you’re just as likely to see bits of Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen.
But its body’s stout appearance is no accident. Built from a mix of aluminum, steel and a ladder chassis, the body-on-frame Grenadier is tough enough for you to sit, stand, or work on the bumper, fenders and hood.
And it’s chock-full of clever design touches. L tracks on its side can hold luggage, shovels, rescue ramps, jerry cans and other things. Grab rails are integrated into scoops atop the rear side windows double as tiedown points for cargo on the roof or assist in accessing the roof. As for the roof, it holds as much as 750 pounds when parked, making it perfect for camping, and carries up to 300 pounds on the move. Exterior power outlets placed at each corner can power lights or other small electric items.
If you have a bouffant or beehive hairdo, or happen to wear a top hat, you’ll find the Grenadier’s headroom very accommodating. Then again, its interior is spacious and finished with sporty, rugged yet durable finishes. The driving position is ideal, as it’s easy to see the road ahead, as the hood is lower on the left and right sides and the squared-off fenders make it easy to place the vehicle’s corners. The seats are extremely comfortable for long turns in the saddle.
The driver faces a small screen that displays important warning lights. The instrument cluster is located on a screen in the center screen. Switches below that control comfort and convenience features. A second, roof-mounted panel contains buttons for the driveline. In both cases, the buttons are large and widely spaced, so wearing gloves doesn’t prevent you from being able to use them.
The Grenadier’s turbocharged 3.0-liter straight 6-cylinder engine comes from BMW, and is connected to an 8-speed ZF transmission that produces 282 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque.
It uses a Tremac transfer case, Eaton differential lockers, and Brembo brakes. If parts are required, they should be simple to get. Permanent four-wheel drive is standard.
Safety and Technology
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the Ineos Grenadier. When it comes to Driver Assistance Safety Systems, the Grenadier’s list of standard features is still being finalized, although those dictated by the federal government, such as a review camera, are standard.
The tech system was fairly good, although the navigation system wasn’t always the easiest to figure out.
If you’re considering a Land Rover Defender or Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, you owe it to yourself to drive the 2023 Ineos Grenadier. As competent and accomplished as either, and more refined than the latter, it employs recirculating ball steering and solid front and rear axles, old school stuff to be sure. But engineers did this to ensure reliability and ease of repair, if needed. But what’s more remarkable about the old school tech is its amazing refinement.
Simply put, it allows for an extreme amount of wheel articulation, yet returns a ride both on-road and off that’s remarkably free of excess body motions. It’s also fairly absorbent, although the Trailmaster seems a little stiffer than the Fieldmaster.
And its 35.5-degree approach angle, 36.1-degree departure angle and 10.4 inches of ground clearance allow for you to have no fear of terrain, be it mud, rocks, ruts, mud or anything else. It nonchalantly handles it, even a 300-foot drop at a 25-degree pitch. And its downhill descent control works without the grunting and jerkiness that are hallmarks of many such systems.
And considering its steering is made for off-roading, it allows for a precision of control off-road that’s inordinately helpful. Power is very good as well, although its 99-mph top speed and a 0 to 60 time of 8-plus seconds won’t have you challenging anyone at the stoplight grand prix.
But the performance that matters here isn’t speed. And what it returns is mighty impressive.
2023 Ineos Grenadier Specifications
|Dimension||L: 191.2 inches/W: 76 inches/H: 80.2 inches/Wheelbase: 115 inches|
|Powertrain||3.0-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder engine, 8-speed automatic transmission and permanent 4WD|
|Fuel Economy||19 mpg combined, European test cycle|
|Performance Specs||282 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||To be announced|
|On-Sale Date||Summer 2023|
It’s hard to imagine how a company that’s never built a car, truck or SUV could come out of the gate with an SUV that challenges the best in its segment. Designed in England, engineered in Austria and built in France, the 2023 Ineos Grenadier is a welcome option for those tired of mall crawlers disguised as off-road warriors.
This is no such thing; it’s the real deal.
2023 Ineos Grenadier — Frequently Asked Questions
How much will an Ineos Grenadier cost?
U.S. prices haven’t been finalized, but company officials say a comfortably equipped sample could cost about $75,000.
Will the Ineos Grenadier be sold in the U.S.?
Yes. It is scheduled to go on-sale mid-year.
Will the Grenadier have seven seats?