The INEOS Grenadier First Look: A Freshman 4X4 Comes For The Defender
Despite a huge array of established automakers already pushing deep into the off-roading market, global chemical giant INEOS is trying its hand at manufacturing. A small group within the company is bringing to market what they describe as an “uncompromising” SUV with a back-to-basics approach to on-road function and off-road capability.
The newly formed INEOS Automotive subsidiary’s freshman entrant is the Grenadier: a four-wheel-drive utilitarian workhorse that will tackle all types of terrain and offer value to varying consumer demographics, including off-road enthusiasts and farmers. INEOS’ goal is to create a remarkably capable 4×4 that includes multiple safety features, easy-to-use intuitive technology and comfort.
The London-based company recently purchased a factory in Hamburg, Germany from Mercedes-Benz to build its Genedier starting late this year.
The first-ever INEOS Grenadier prototype, showcasing a license plate that reads IG0001, landed in the U.S. a few days prior to its stateside debut outside of Houston, Texas.
“After 1,000,000 miles of testing, the Grenadier has to be dependable,” said Greg Clark, INEOS Automotive’s executive vice-president of the Americas, who joined the company in early 2021.
A British native, Clark is not a stranger to the automotive world. He’s played pivotal roles in the industry for nearly two decades, including senior product, brand management and marketing positions at Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Benz and Acura to his most recent post at Jaguar Land Rover. He was hired to help INEOS successfully break into the North American market.
The vehicle has been put through the paces in extreme temperature swings, from minus 40 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, as a way to test how it will navigate humidity, ice and snow in the long run. “It has to deliver,” he stated. “It’s a delicate balance to strike because simplicity is massively important. Simplicity, from a reliability perspective.”
“It’s super important that [the Grenadier] is ergonomically comfortable,” Clark said. He also wants the INEOS Grenadier to be a collector that will be a sought-after classic that holds its value in 40 to 50 years, a goal that mirrors the evolution of Land Rover’s coveted Defender.
Gas Only, Maybe a Fuel Cell
The Grenadier, which features a body-on-frame construction, plans to house a BMW-sourced straight-six cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed transmission with manual shifting capability. The company has not decided whether it’ll be facilitated by paddle shifters or a manual shifter at the gear selector. However, a traditional manual transmission will not be offered.
Both gas and diesel powerplants are anticipated, although the diesel won’t be an option for the U.S., Canada or Mexico the U.S.—at least to start. As INEOS continues to develop its relationship with BMW, things may change.
“I’ll never say never,” said Clark when asked why the diesel wouldn’t be offered stateside. “There is a possibility that a diesel might come and of course, an alternative powertrain is something that has to be true in our plans.”
A fuel cell powertrain could be an option, however. INEOS signed a memorandum of understanding with Hyundai, “in terms of partnership and collaboration with fuel cell development.” Clark explained that for INEOS, fuel cell development “is a much more viable option than battery electric.” He doesn’t want INEOS customers worrying about being tethered to charging networks or having “mega range anxiety.”
The 4×4 Grenadier will boast a two-speed transfer case, front and rear solid axles and coil-sprung suspension, a galvanized steel chassis, approximately 750 pounds of rooftop static load capacity and a near-class-leading towing capacity of 7,000 pounds.
The INEOS Grenadier may include off-road-ready features like triple locking differentials, underbody skid plates, rock sliders, a front-mounted winch and meaty BFGoodrich mud-terrain tires. Which items will be earmarked as standard or optional equipment is still unclear.
INEOS Automotive is also in discussion with several aftermarket manufacturers to offer accessories to help haul bikes, kayaks and rooftop tents or upgrades like running boards, lift kits, winch bumpers and more.
Not only does INEOS plan to offer an extremely capable 4×4 right out of the box, they’re thoughtfully planning accoutrements like pre-wired systems for auxiliary lights and winches as well as switches to run them effectively.
Distinct Exterior Details
Carefully placed diamond-plate armor pads will keep feet planted during engine service while side-mounted grab handles and a rear-facing ladder allow easy access to the vehicle’s roof. Body-mounted L-track rails, otherwise known as airline track, line the Grenadier’s sides, which makes easy work for mounting shovels, fuel cans or other expedition-type goods. They also could act as an anchor for nearby guy lines (tensioned cables that add stability to a tent) on camping excursions.
Although to some the lines of the INEOS Grenadier may resemble those of a classic Land Rover Defender 110, INEOS remains steadfast that the Grenadier was designed from the ground up, with simplicity and off-road capability in mind.
How Much Will a Grenadier Cost?
Pricing is yet to be determined but is expected to hover a “bit above Wrangler and Bronco, up at the top end,” Clark said. The Grenadier will be priced “way underneath Mercedes G-Wagon but will be around the [new] Land Rover Defender territory.”
Its anticipated arrival to the marketplace will start in the United Kingdom in 2022 with North American deliveries in the first half of 2023.
Although dealer and maintenance networks are yet to be determined, Clark’s aim is to have “between 30 and 50 sites across the U.S. and Canada, with a few down in Mexico by the time that we launch.” Peak year sales projections are about 30,000 units.
The INEOS Grenadier “has got to stand on its own two feet or on his own four wheels,” Clark said. The company is determined that this will be a “profitable endeavor, not just for ourselves, but also for our partners.”
Testing of the off-roader will continue in Death Valley in July as well as high-elevation traversing in the Colorado mountains.