Land Rover lookalike Ineos Grenadier revealed
‘No nonsense’ 4x4 designed to full the utilitarian void left behind by the old Land Rover Defender
The Ineos Grenadier has finally been revealed, after a long gestation process which had seen the company try to buy the rights to make the original Defender from Land Rover
With Land Rover’s high-end new Defender arriving into Irish dealerships, a petro-chemical company, Ineos, reckons that it has what it takes to fill the square-shaped gap in the market left by the original.
The Ineos Grenadier has finally been revealed, after a long gestation process which had seen the company try to buy the rights to make the original Defender from Land Rover. LR declined the offer, made by Ineos chairperson Jim Ratcliffe, and has thus far maintained a dignified silence about the Grenadier and its prospects of stepping on Land Rover’s intellectual property toes.
It remains to be seen if that silence will remain in place, now that the Grenadier has been properly revealed. Certainly, the big new 4x4 bears an uncanny, unsurprising, resemblance to the old Land Rover Defender, although Ineos’ copyright lawyers will doubtless be hoping that the small tweaks and differences dotted around – the line of the bonnet, the lights, the rear three-quarter panel – will be enough to keep any cease and desist orders from the door. To be fair, there are also some visual references to the old Spanish-built Santanas, as well as the original Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen.
The Grenadier, according to its designer, has been styled to be “easy to read”, with an “unambiguous purpose”
That last is at least a logical link, as Austrian-based company Magna-Steyr is partnering with Ineos to get the Grenadier into production – Manga-Steyr originally developed the G-Wagen for Mercedes The Grenadier won’t be built in Austria, though. Ineos has earmarked a factory in Wales for that task, (alongside another plant in Portugal making components and body parts) but it will have a Teutonic heart; a BMW B58 straight-six engine will provide the Grenadier’s power, driving all four wheels through a ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox, and heavy-duty Carraro axles.
Whatever its resemblance or otherwise to old Land Rovers, the Grenadier, according to its designer, has been styled to be “easy to read”, with an “unambiguous purpose.”
“The brief was simple. We set out to design a modern, functional and highly capable 4x4 vehicle with utility at its core”, said Toby Ecuyer, head of design. “A design that is ‘easy-to-read’, with no ambiguity about the Grenadier’s role in life. There to do everything you need, and nothing you don’t. Nothing is for show. Modern engineering and production techniques ensure the Grenadier is highly capable, but we have been able to stay true to the essence of creating a utilitarian vehicle that will stand the test of time.”
That approach means the belt line along the side isn’t just there for looks – it’s designed so that you can hang extra equipment from it, such as luggage panniers or extra fuel cans, as well as acting as a door-rubbing strip. At the rear, there’s a double-door arrangement, with the narrow left-hand door opening first. A ladder, for roof access, can be fitted to that, and when both doors are open the Grenadier can swallow a standard Euro-Pallet. It’ll carry a one-tonne payload, and can tow as much as 3.5 tonnes. The chassis is a classical ladder-style one, with the body attached, which is the traditional way of making serious 4x4s and pickups.
The Grenadier’s wiring system has easy-access points front and rear, so that extra lights or other equipment that needs electric power can be easily fitted, while the headlamps are the same design, left and right, so that spare parts are easier to carry.
Up top, there are roof bars and roof strips to enable loads to be mounted and secured directly without a roof rack (although of course you can fit one) and there’s a wet-storage box built into the rear, which is accessible from outside so that you can drop wetsuits, muddy boots, or anything else manky, without dragging it through the interior.
Beyond that, Ineos says that it wants the Grenadier to be “open source” and is encouraging owners to find new ways to fit and carry items, as well as third-party accessory suppliers. Obviously, the company will also offer its own range of add-ons and extras.
Alongside the SUV-shaped model, a crew-cab pickup will be available, and the Grenadier is due to go on sale next year. How Ineos prices the Grenadier will be crucial to its success - if it’s more expensive than the Land Rover, many might ask what the point is? If it’s cheaper, how will a newly-made car company turn a profit on what, presumably, will be small sales, at least initially?
Jim Ratcliffe, though, is bullish, reckoning that his company has spotted a gap in the market left behind by Land Rover. “The Grenadier project started by identifying a gap in the market, abandoned by a number of manufacturers, for a utilitarian off-road vehicle” said Ratcliffe.