‘I drove this off-roader – it shows that Britain can thrive after Brexit’

Express.co.uk takes the Ineos Grenadier 4X4 for a spin

What we love

  • Off-road ability
  • Bias towards button in the cabin
  • It puts the “Utility” back into SUV

What we don’t

  • On-road ability not as good as rivals
  • Function over form aesthetics
  • Price

The Ineos Grenadier is Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s answer to a question no one was asking, ‘What would the old Defender have looked like if JLR had chosen evolution over revolution?

In all likelihood, it might have looked like the first vehicle to roll off Ineos’ production line in Hambach, France where the automotive arm of the chemical company has set up shop.

Although the Brexit-backing billionaire had originally intended to build the Grenadier in Britain, in the end, Mercedes’ exit from the Moselle facility and its location meant the French factory won the day.

Still, the Ineos is ostensibly both a British and European endeavour and acts as a symbolic show of strength that Britain can still operate brand-new car companies even though it has left the European Union. This is why it wasn’t Reims, France to which Express.co.uk headed to test the new Grenadier, but Redhill in Surrey.

What is it?

In a sentence, the Ineos Grenadier is a tough all-purpose no-nonsense SUV built on a ladder frame chassis.

What’s under the bonnet?

Powered by a 3.0 litre straight six engines from BMW it can deliver between 245bhp and 282bhp to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Power from the BMW unit depends on whether you go for the diesel or petrol variants. The petrol has more power (282bhp vs 245bhp) but is down on torque compared to the diesel motor (450nM vs 550nM).

How much does it cost?

This all depends on which trim you opt for. Prices can start from £55,000 for the Utility version and rise all the way to around £80,000. For reference, the Defender 110 starts from just over £63,000 and riseS past £100,000 depending on options.

Does this mean I should cancel my order and buy the Grenadier?

Hold your horses. Yes, the Grenadier might be cheaper at the upper end, but remember people don’t just buy, the car they buy the brand – and with a brand they get the aesthetic.

Which is?

With the Defender it’s the ability to straddle two worlds. One is the ability to fjord any river and climb any mountain in the great outdoors whilst the other is also being able to look cool in the beating heart of Chelsea with an oat macchiato, a small spaniel, and your entourage.

And the Grenadier doesn’t?

It does the outdoors part brilliantly, impeccably in fact as we’ll explain later, but it wouldn’t fit in with the plushest parts of London. In reality, this won’t really matter for 99 percent of owners but it could swing the day if it’s a choice between this and a new 110.

What’s it like on the road then…

On the road it’s competent. It doesn’t defy physics on tarmac, it rolls and the BMW engine pulls well for the weight it’s shifting, but it’s not at home here, it’s not an SUV that can pretend to be a hot hatchback, and that’s not the point.

What is the point?

The point is when you get off-road and into the really tricky, car braking, bank-busting off-roady bits. In part, because of its purposeful looks and tough-as-rock demeanour, you don’t worry about scratching the paint or breaking it.

You have short overhangs front and rear enabling you to ascend and descend without worrying about hitting the bumper. It has a ground clearance of 264mm, it can wade in as much as 800mm of water and tow a massive 3.5 tonnes. Its ability to make its way through nature is helped by a transfer case enabling you to switch from high to low range.

In contrast, the Defender 110 has more ground clearance, a bigger wading depth, and can also tow 3.5 tonnes, which means on paper it is better, in practice there are a range of factors that can impact off-road performance.

So should I just buy the Defender?

If it’s between this and Grenadier, yes.

So what’s the point of buying the Grenadier?

The Defender is the better car, but this doesn’t mean the Grenadier is a bad one. Remember Land Rover have been at this for well over… years and at its first attempt Ineos have given the people from JLR a good run, and some will still buy the Grenadier over the Defender.


It all comes down to the brand and aesthetic. Remember, part of the Grenadier’s aesthetic is that it looks and performs as well as the old Defender, a car adored and beloved by so many.

As a result, its stats may not win the minds of some, but its spirit might capture the hearts of others.

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