Ineos Grenadier review
The Grenadier is a tough 4x4 with real off-road pedigree but it’s far from cheap
In many ways, the Grenadier is an impressive achievement by Ineos – a capable off-road tool from a new brand, with serious utility and toughness built-in. It’s not without its quirks, however, and as you climb the range in search of more creature comforts you get further away from the Grenadier’s core strengths, bringing more polished rivals into play.
Our choice: Ineos Grenadier 3.0 Diesel Station Wagon
About the Ineos Grenadier
You might think that the modern car market is overloaded with identikit SUVs, but there’s nothing out there that’s quite like the Ineos Grenadier. Whether you’ll see that as a positive or a negative rather depends on what you want your SUV to do.
The way it looks and the intense ‘off-road utility vehicle’ focus of the design and mechanicals make it pretty clear what the Grenadier is attempting to do. Yes, we’re going to mention the D word early on. When Land Rover replaced its original Defender with the highly impressive, but significantly plusher and pricier new Defender, Ineos identified a vacancy for something basic, tough and uncompromising – like the original with a splash of the newcomer’s extra refinement. That is the Grenadier.
The car company founded by billionaire Jim Ratcliffe envisages various use cases for its vehicle in different configurations for markets around the world. Most involve getting people and equipment across mud, sand, rocks, snow or whatever treacherous terrain stands in the Grenadier’s way. But Ineos would also like a little of the fashionable kudos enjoyed by other tough off-roaders – specifically the Defender and the Mercedes G-Class.
The range of bodystyles offered in the UK reflects this. First up is the Utility Wagon, which is classed as the commercial vehicle and is available with two or five seats inside. In either configuration, the Utility Wagon has been designed primarily to carry loads; in fact, there’s enough space in the two-seater version to a standard Europallet.
For those wanting to use the Grenadier for carrying people, the five-seat Grenadier Station Wagon offers the most passenger space of the range. There’s also 1,255 litres of cargo space on offer, so it is suitable for family use, particularly if your loved ones are fans of off-roading.
The latest addition to the lineup is the Grenadier Quartermaster pick-up truck. This version is 305mm longer than the Wagons and features an open cargo bed at the back. There are still five seats, however the relatively low maximum payload of 760kg means that the Quartermaster doesn't qualify for the same commercial vehicle tax breaks as the Ford Ranger or Volkswagen Amarok pick-ups.
When it comes to trim levels, the standard model is the Grenadier in its most basic form with a minimalist equipment list including LED lights, 17-inch steel wheels, climate control, remote central locking, a 12.3-inch central touchscreen and a ‘water-resistant’ interior.
The Trailmaster is your extreme off-road Grenadier. It has a raised snorkel air-intake for the engine to breathe when you’re up to your headlamps in swamp and the Rough Pack, which includes front and rear differential locks in addition to the standard centre one, plus BFGoodrich All-Terrain tyres. It also includes the Smooth Pack with luxuries like a rear-view camera, heated mirrors, heated washer jets, extra charge points in the cabin and more.
The Fieldmaster is the plushest model and as close as the Grenadier gets to the comfort levels of a conventional SUV. It comes with the Smooth Pack’s items, as well as little luxuries like a leather-trimmed steering wheel, heated seats, carpet floor mats and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Power for the Grenadier comes from one of two 3.0-litre BMW-sourced engines, a petrol and a diesel, each using a ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox. In terms of pricing, Ineos has kept it simple with both engines costing the same. So the Station Wagon model kicks off at £58,000 and you’ll pay more than £10,000 on top of that for the Trailmaster and Fieldmaster editions. In comparison, the five-door Land Rover Defender 110 starts at just over £63,000.
Engines, performance & drive
The Ineos Grenadier is an old-school 4x4, built on a tough ladder frame chassis with beam axles and coil-spring suspension. However it isn’t the dynamic disaster you might expect for something so obviously tuned for off-road work.
There’s a lot of body roll as you pitch into corners but only up to a point. After the initial tilt, things hold reasonably steady. The ride is good too, again, not by road-biased SUV standards but for a dyed-in-the-wool mudplugger. It takes the edge off bumps and doesn’t fidget around too much on rough roads.
The big issue is the Grenadier’s recirculating-ball hydraulic steering system, and it takes a lot of getting used to. It’s light enough but at 3.85 turns from lock-to-lock you need a huge amount of steering angle to effect a turn. Even small adjustments to keep the car tracking true on the move are tough to get right and with no self-centering effect, you have to wind-off everything you’ve just put on as the road straightens out. It all feels too much like hard work and while things improve with familiarity, everyday on-road driving is made needlessly difficult.
We’ve driven the Grenadier extensively off-road in Scotland and also in Sussex. Based on our time in the car, it’s a little easier to control the throttle in the diesel model at low speeds. The petrol is sometimes a little slow to respond to initial throttle inputs but is generally well up to the job of crawling over very difficult terrain. And, of course, the Grenadier has proper low range gearing selected via a second gear lever next to the main one, and can be ordered with the full suite of locking differentials controlled by a complex overhead panel of switches and buttons that makes you feel like an airline pilot. Rest assured that your off-roading nerve is likely to run out before the Grenadier runs out of ability.
0-62mph acceleration and top speed
Ineos sensibly went to BMW to source the Grenadier’s 3.0-litre straight-six engines. The diesel motor produces 246bhp and 550Nm maximum torque, while the petrol offers 282bhp and 450Nm. We’ve spent a lot of time with both power units both on and off-road.
Buyers might well gravitate towards the diesel purely due to the nature of the vehicle we’re talking about here but the turbo petrol mimics the lowdown grunt of the diesel successfully with its maximum torque available all the way from 1,750 to 4,000rpm.
The ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox that eases up and down the ratios in both engine options is able to hold gears longer in the petrol, making the most of the wider power band. The engine even sounds good, emitting a low growl under hard acceleration. The diesel is a little more vocal and coarser but it’s still a smooth and refined option by the standards of the units you find in other vehicles of this type.
0-62mph takes 8.6 seconds in the petrol Grenadier, which is 1.3 seconds faster than the diesel, though the 99mph top speed is the same for both models. Picking between the two engine options is made even more difficult by identical pricing, however we’d probably slightly favour the diesel given its marginal superiority in the rough stuff and its fuel economy.
MPG, CO2 & running costs
Official fuel economy numbers aren’t impressive for either of the Grenadier’s engines. The diesel manages up to 26mpg with 317g/km CO2 emissions, while the petrol offers 20mpg with 336g/km emissions. At least the wayward steering should encourage drivers to take it steady with the throttle, conserving fuel.
The entire Ineos Grenadier lineup resides in the highest insurance group 50, whether you choose petrol or diesel. This puts the agricultural off-roader alongside supercars and luxury SUVs so it isn’t going to be cheap to get cover for. Meanwhile, the Land Rover Defender sits in insurance groups 32 to 50 range, depending on the exact version you go for.
Ineos is something of an unknown quantity on the used car market but reasonably strong residual values are being predicted. According to our expert data, the Grenadier Station Wagon should fare the best when it comes time to sell as it’s expected to retain around 66 per cent of its initial value after three years and 36,000 miles. The two-seat Utility Wagon isn’t too far behind and should retain around 62 per cent. For comparison, the Land Rover Defender 110 range holds onto a very healthy 62 to 81 per cent of its value, depending on the model.
Interior, design & technology
Outside, Ineos has unashamedly appropriated the design cues and proportions of classic Land Rovers to create something that the casual observer could easily mistake for a previous-generation Defender. It’s a no-nonsense approach that mirrors the more endearing qualities of the vehicle itself.
Cabin design sets out to emphasise the Grenadier’s toughness. It all looks and feels built to cope with some seriously tough use, and lots of creature comforts didn’t make the cut. In the plushest Fieldmaster edition you get leather trim, floor mats, heated front seats, a rear-view camera, heated mirrors, a heated windscreen and puddle lamps (if you’re using the Grenadier properly, there will be a puddle). But there’s no keyless entry, little in the way of electronic driver aids and you can forget about soft-touch materials. The shiny BMW-sourced gear shifter stands out like a pair of Louboutin heels in a rack of steel-toe capped work boots.
The Grenadier’s cabin is the antithesis of modern car interior design trends and in many ways, it’s all the better as a result. The wide centre console contains a variety of chunky buttons and switches that are large enough to use while you’re wearing gloves and will be a welcome sight for anyone who bemoans the proliferation of touchscreen menu systems in modern cars. There is a touchscreen as well, of course – on top of the dash.
Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be any more controls for this car, you look up and there’s a whole other aircraft-style panel overhead. It houses the somewhat over-complicated series of buttons for the off-road mechanicals, lighting and more. Every wannabe chopper pilot loves an overhead switch so we have to give this design quirk the thumbs up.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The 12.3-inch infotainment screen is probably the most obviously high-tech feature in the whole car. It combines information you might usually find on a screen ahead of the driver, like the speed, current gear, fuel gauge and tyre pressures with stereo and sat-nav functionality. There’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, too.
The functions can be controlled in the usual touchscreen fashion or with a rotary controller between the seats in a similar way to BMW’s impressively user-friendly iDrive system. There are buttons on the steering wheel as well, alongside the slightly controversial ‘toot’ button that sounds a softer secondary horn to warn of the Grenadier’s approach. It’s not a terrible concept but the cyclist logo on the button is perhaps slightly ill-judged.
Ineos has developed its own Pathfinder off-road navigation system that lets you plot GPS waypoints, save routes and share them in the standard GPX file format. Below the screen on the Trailmaster and Fieldmaster there’s a compass and altimeter to fall back on, so getting lost should be a real challenge.
Practicality, comfort & boot space
The Ineos Grenadier is a big, roomy vehicle and in five-seat Station Wagon guise offers space for a family with a lot of luggage. The heavy doors with their chunky handles make you feel like it’s built to last.
The driving position is made slightly awkward by the large footrest on the left of the footwell that forces you to drive with one knee raised, but it’s a vast improvement on the old Land Rovers that the Grenadier mimics. The front windscreen wipers miss a large area on the right hand side of the screen – combined with the chunky A-pillar this has quite an impact on forward visibility. The rear wiper isn’t much better, only cleaning the window on the larger of the asymmetrically split side-hinged doors where the glass is partly covered by the spare wheel. Regular hand washing may well be the answer.
The Ineos Grenadier is 4,895mm long, 2,146mm wide (including its mirrors) and stands at 2,050mm tall, and the dimensions are the same for all versions. If we compare it to the new Land Rover Defender, it sits between the 110 and 130 modes in terms of length but is slightly wider, and taller by 80mm. Whichever way you look at it, this is a big vehicle.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
As you’d expect from the sizable exterior dimensions there’s a lot of space inside and three passengers can get in the rear bench comfortably with lots of headroom. Access is a little more of a clamber up than in many lower SUVs but that’s the price you pay for the Grenadier’s prodigious ground clearance.
The Grenadier Station Wagon is able to take up to 1,255 litres of cargo in five-seat mode, close to the 1,329 maximum in the huge eight-seat Land Rover Defender 130. The load length in this configuration is up to 1,062mm.
If you need more space, the Utility Wagon two-seater can carry up to 2,088 litres. Access is via side-hinged rear doors rather than a lifting tailgate. These are split 70:30 to reveal the wide, flat load space. Alternatively, the Quartermaster pick-up truck has a load bed that measures 1,564mm long and 1,619mm wide, however it only has a maximum payload of 760kg, compared to the one-tonne-plus most Ford Rangers can haul.
There’s a good chance that lots of Grenadiers will land towing duties and it’s well up to the task with all versions able to pull a 3,500kg braked trailer or a 750kg unbraked one.
Reliability & safety
The Grenadier’s safety kit count is well down on what you’ll find in other £70,000 SUVs but you do get front, side and curtain airbags, stability and traction control, Trailer Stability Assist and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
There are various systems to help with off-road driving too, including off-road and wading modes, uphill assist and downhill assist. Rather than electronic aids, the Grenadier relies on its mechanicals with the locking differentials and low range gearing giving it serious off-road ability.
The Grenadier has yet to be put through Euro NCAP’s battery of crash safety tests and didn’t make an appearance in our most recent Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, so we have little insight into reliability at this stage.
Every Grenadier comes with a very competitive five-year/unlimited-mileage warranty, plus three years of cover for the paintwork and 12 years cover against rust. That shows admirable faith in the product on the part of Ineos.
Servicing can be done at Bosch car service outlets and is recommended every 12 months. Ineos has a limited but growing dealer network and aims to have an accredited workshop within 30 miles of every customer through this arrangement.