Don’t call it a Defender. Yes, that was the original intent of Sir James Arthur Ratcliffe, a British billionaire who tried to purchase the rights to the old Defender from Land Rover. That endeavor failed, so he put together a team and created this, the Ineos Grenadier. There’s certainly a resemblance to the much-loved Defender of yore, but this off-roader is its own animal from the ground up.
Before you start gathering your down payment, there is something you should know. While this does mark the debut of the Grenadier's design, it’s still an in-development project. Instead of keeping prototypes under wraps with camouflage, Ineos took the road less traveled by revealing the design early. According to Ineos Automotive CEO Dirk Heilmann, this was done because Ineos is “a new business, building a new brand, and we want to take people with us on this exciting journey.” Honestly, it’s hard to argue with a simple, refreshing concept like that.
Unfortunately, it means there’s very little information available about the Grenadier at this time. The design obviously pays homage to the old Defender, but that’s where the similarity ends. Ineos has designed and built the Grenadier from the ground up as its own vehicle, utilizing cost-saving measures like identical round headlight and taillight designs. It is also designed to be highly customizable, with personalization being a key component of the Grenadier ownership experience. That goes for factory options as well as factory-built and third-party add-ons. It seems Ineos is well aware of how 4x4 owners love to customize their rigs.
Gallery: Ineos Grenadier
To that end, the Grenadier is a purpose-built, utilitarian off-roader that Ineos says has a clear, unambiguous purpose. The beltline features rubber trim for protection. The rear features offset side-opening barn doors, with a small door on the left for accessing smaller items. With both doors open, Ineos says the Grenadier can carry a European-sized pallet inside.
Speaking of inside, we have absolutely no information to share at this time. The same goes for the Grenadier’s powertrain, though some of the press photos above show what appears to be solid axles front and rear. A pair of bright exhaust tips suggests it will have at least modest horsepower under the hood.
From here, Ineos will take Grenadier test vehicles on and off the road for a year-long development program. The goal is to accumulate 1.8 million kilometers (1,118,468 miles) while sussing out any areas of improvement. As such, no official on-sale date or expected price range is available.
At this point – like Heilmann said previously – we’re just along for the journey.
INEOS Automotive reveals the design of its upcoming 4x4, the Grenadier
· “Form follows function” in an engineering-led design process focused on delivering a vehicle to do a job
· Development programme moving forward, with prototype testing now on the march towards accumulating 1.8 million kilometres on and off-road over the coming year
· Created to fulfil the vision of adventurer and INEOS Group Chairman, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the Grenadier will be a capable, durable and reliable 4x4 designed and built to handle the world’s harshest environments
INEOS Automotive today reveals the exterior design of the Grenadier, its forthcoming, no-nonsense 4x4 vehicle for the world, another step on the road towards start of production.
Built from the ground up on an all-new platform, the INEOS Grenadier has been designed on purpose: namely to meet the demands of its future owners for a rugged, capable and comfortable go-anywhere working vehicle.
“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”.
Dirk Heilmann, INEOS Automotive’s CEO, said: “We are delighted to be able to share the design of the Grenadier so early in the process. Most manufacturers would hold back, but we are a new business, building a new brand, and we want to take people with us on this exciting journey.
“Showing the design now allows us to focus on the critical next phase of the vehicle’s development, testing its capability and durability. We have a very challenging programme ahead, as we put prototypes through their paces in all conditions, on the way to accumulating some 1.8 million test kilometres over the coming year. From today the covers are off. Testing ‘in plain sight’ without the need for camouflage wrapping, foam blocks or fake panels is an added benefit.”
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Chairman of INEOS, said: “The Grenadier project started by identifying a gap in the market, abandoned by a number of manufacturers, for a utilitarian off-road vehicle. This gave us our engineering blueprint for a capable, durable and reliable 4x4 built to handle the world’s harshest environments. But it had to look the part as well. As you will see today, Toby and his team have done a great job in delivering a design that is both distinctive and purposeful.”