An up and coming British automaker’s attempt at an old-school off-road SUV inspired by the old Defender

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When folks like us are obsessed with a car, we draw it on papers, doodle about it, and all of that. But, if you have billions of pounds in your bank account, you just build a fully-functional vehicle from scratch. This is how the Ineos Grenadier came to life.

Ineos is a British petrochemicals group founded by Sir Jim Ratcliffe which now has an automotive division in its portfolio. Such was his love for the classic Defender that he tried to purchase the rights from Land Rover. When denied, he went on to build an SUV from the ground up that takes heavy inspiration from the old Defender. Although it looks the part, is the Ineos Grenadier as tough as the classic Land Rover?


2020 Ineos Grenadier
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The Ineos Grenadier has a very strong resemblance to the classic Land Rover Defender. The boxy shape overall, the circular headlights, the upright windows, and windshield, etc. scream ‘ye olde’ from all the angles.

Autocar UK spoke with Ineos Automotive’s head of the design team, Toby Ecuyer, who didn’t deny the Defender resemblance, but said to have used other vehicles like Nissan Patrols, Jeeps, Toyota Hiluxes, a Toyota FJ40 [Land Cruiser], Land Rovers, Ford Broncos, and even vans, lorries, Unimogs, and military vehicles to come up with the design and specifications for the Grenadier.

How Does The Ineos Grenadier Look On The Outside?

2020 Ineos Grenadier
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Speaking of the exterior design, the Grenadier is a boxy SUV but is built to near perfection in terms of proportion.

To put things into perspective, it is slightly longer but narrower than the old Defender 110.

Up front, it features circular headlights wrapped in a square, black grille with vertical slats in the middle. The short bumper coupled with the high ride height results in a good approach angle. There is a skid plate underneath for added protection and two red tow hooks on either side of it that are angled downwards. The windshield is almost upright and gives the old-school vibes to the SUV.

2020 Ineos Grenadier
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The square wheel arches with black plastic cladding house the steel wheels wrapped in All-Terrain tires. The windows are trapezoidal at the front, square in the middle, and rectanglular at the end. It is unclear, but the last-row could have the butterfly-window setup. There is a beltline running along with the door handles to break the monotony on the side profile. It also doubles up as utility rails to mounting lights and stuff and will be helpful when you go camping in the nights. The hinges are placed outside, which suggests that the Grenadier will have removable doors. This adds to the SUV’s off-road design philosophy and will be a big attraction for the purists.

The rear looks hot with a tailgate-mounted spare tire and a ladder to access the roof. The roof has an overhead space built into the body which eliminates the need for a roof rack. There are four tie-down bars on the sides for you to pack your stuff up safely. The tailgate itself has a split design; a small section that opens first so you can access the space-saver tool compartment in tight spots, and then the full tailgate opens up. Thoughtful touches there.

The Chassis, Engine, and Transmission

2020 Ineos Grenadier
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The SUV rides on a body-on-frame chassis with twin live axles and a non-independent coil suspension.

This is an old setup, but if the build is robust, I don’t see any reasons to complain. However, the non-independent suspension will certainly affect the ride quality and comfort.

The British automaker has chosen BMW’s B57/B58 mills for the Grenadier. So, it will be powered by either a 3.0-liter, six-cylinder gasoline or diesel engine.
2020 Ineos Grenadier
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Power will be sent to all the wheels via a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic gearbox and a separate low-range transfer case. If you go by BMW’s state of power tunes for these engines, they will churn out anywhere between 265 and 405 horses.

Ineos is aiming for a curb weight under 5,300 pounds for the Grenadier, but the initial prototypes are said to be around 200 pounds heavier. The automaker will work on reducing the weight as it is essential to the SUV off-roading prowess.

Final Thoughts

2020 Ineos Grenadier
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Ineos hasn’t revealed any details or pictures of the interior, but you can expect an old-school layout with not a lot of creature comforts on offer. The automaker also said that it is running a few weeks behind its schedule because of the pandemic, but by early next year, it will be doing its first production tests and will hopefully roll out the production SUVs by the end of 2021. There is no word on the pricing whatsoever.

All-in-all, the Ineos Grenadier may have drawn inspiration from other classics, but it sets itself apart from other off-road-oriented SUVs present in the market today. The removable doors, utility rails on the side, split tailgate, and the integrated overhead space are unique and add to the pizzazz of the SUV. We’ll have to wait and watch how the market perceives it – an impressive, inspired product, or an enthusiast’s attempt to build an SUV to check an item off his bucket list.

Which school of thought do you fall under? Let us know in the comments section below.

Source: Autocar UK

Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Senior Editor, Truck Expert, EV Expert -
Sidd joined the team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a senior editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
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