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The Ineos Grenadier will be a no-nonsense, British 4x4

Disappointed with the new Defender? Step the way of Ineos Automotive

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If you’re one of those who thinks that the new Defender is far too Chelsea, the Grenadier could be the SUV for you. Or rather it could be, if Ineos was referring to the Grenadier as an SUV.

“We’re dropping the S,” says Mark Tennant, Commercial Director of Ineos Automotive.

“It’s a utility vehicle and our primary focus is to build the brand around the vehicle as a working tool. So in practice we’re targeting small business owners, fleet operators and people who need to tow stuff or carry lots of stuff. It should be for work primarily but also useable for play. It’s the classlessness of the vehicle that appeals.

“The new Defender is a great-looking vehicle. It’s what we were expecting it to be, given the platform, and we wish Land Rover every success. But we don’t see it quite being in the same space as the old Defender was, shall we say.”

To fulfil those off-road requirements, Ineos has confirmed that its work-horse of a vehicle will use a ladder chassis with different bolt-on body styles (at least one of which will be a pick-up) and two different wheelbase lengths. There will also be beam axles, locking differentials and a minimalist but hard-wearing interior, as well as short front and rear overhangs.

Quite what those overhangs, or the rest of the car, will look like – we’re not yet sure. And despite the exterior apparently being signed off, we may not see images for another year yet. 

Ineos director Tom Crotty did concede that the design may not be for everyone.  “It may be a Marmite thing. People may love it or hate it,” he said.

“We’ve done some testing with focus groups though and it has been extremely well received.”

Tennant added: “We’re making a virtue of boxiness. We will go near a wind-tunnel, but it hasn’t been a priority at the moment. It’s about practicality.”

So, think original Defender, Jeep Wrangler, etc and you’ll be along the right lines.

Something we do know for certain is that the Grenadier will use BMW-sourced 3.0-litre straight six engines in both diesel and petrol forms. But for those who were disappointed with the lack of a manual gearbox in the Defender, we’ll have to let you down again. Ineos will only be offering a BMW automatic.

“We believe that an automatic will deliver what we want the product to do, and it is already married with a very good powertrain. It comes as a very reliable and durable package,” said CEO Dirk Heilmann. Reliability is a recurring theme when hearing from Ineos.

The infotainment system will also be bought-in from BMW, although the company claims to be developing an app that will help translate diagnostic codes into plain English – something that should be useful if you find yourself with a problem when stuck out in the middle of nowhere. 

Prices won’t quite meet those of the old Defender, but Ineos says its target customers are currently driving high-spec, double-cab pickup trucks like the Ford Ranger Wildtrak. Think £25,000 to £35,000, then. 

So, that’s the full brain download of everything we know so far. Well, almost everything… the big news being that the Grenadier will be assembled in a new factory in Bridgend, South Wales. Click here for more on that.

In the meantime, comment below to let us know what you think. Are you excited by the prospect of a brand-new rugged 4x4?

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