Development of the Ineos Grenadier has moved into a new stage with the revealing of the interior of the new 4×4, expected on sale in mid 2022.
Potential buyers and media are being shown the latest stage in the new model’s gestation in a series of ride events across the UK, though with the car still under development no-one outside Ineos is yet being allowed to drive it.
The Grenadier project was born in 2016 following the demise of the Land Rover Defender, which Jim Ratcliffe, head of the multinational chemicals giant, was a fan of. Initially Ratcliffe approached Land Rover with a proposal to continue manufacturing the Defender, but then decided to start his own project.
The Grenadier will be targeted at users who need a robust, go-anywhere vehicle and who are not impressed with Land Rover’s new Defender, which launched in 2020. The Ineos project gained an element of notoriety when original plans to build the 4×4 in south Wales were dropped after a redundant Mercedes-Benz production line became available in France.
According to Ineos, the new 4×4 will not be a replica of the Defender but will reflect its philosophy, while offering a step change in terms of build quality and reliability based on consultation with Defender users.
The car’s global target market is said to include agriculture and forestry workers, explorers and adventurers and anyone who wants a full-blown off-roader. “Ineos is determined that its new vehicle will offer a real and pure alternative to the current crop of standardised ‘jelly-mould’ SUVs,” said Dirk Heilmann, CEO of Ineos Automotive.
The consultation with Defender drivers is indicative in the interior – according to Ineos user feedback has led to the separation of the centre console controls into two panels, one of them on the inside of the roof between the front-seat occupants.
While the Grenadier will have a touchscreen, all the essential controls are in the form of large knobs, primarily so they can be operated while wearing gloves. Controls are all separated into sub panels on the main console, so that if one fails the entire console does not have to be removed to replace the faulty part.
Full technical details of the Grenadier are still to be released – we do know it will use BMW petrol and diesel engines of 3.0-litre capacity, while Ineos has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Hyundai to develop hydrogen fuel-cell powertrains.
A ride in a development vehicle suggested that the Grenadier will have all the off-road capabilities of the Defender – we will report its on-road performance once we carry out our first test drives, a date for which is still to be revealed.
Also not yet apparent is how Ineos will sell its new 4×4 – as a car manufacturer start-up it has no dealer network or aftersales operation. More details on sales are expected in September.