When Land Rover lastly axed its ‘old’ Defender in 2016 and promised to switch it with a thing greater, traditionalists get rid of tears as conveniently as their beloved aged-college Landys dripped oil. And the arrival of the ‘new’ Defender in early 2020 did nothing at all to support: ‘too expensive’, explained some ‘too complicated’, explained other people. ‘Too precious’, they moaned. ‘Not a actual Defender’, they concluded.
Oddly, it appeared, these types of individuals genuinely did want to carry on driving a car or truck centered on a 70-yr-outdated style that was bereft of protection characteristics, as aerodynamic as a breeze block, as draughty as a drop, rusted commonly beneath and with the turning circle of a tanker.
But just one human being resolved to do one thing about the obvious gap in the market still left by the demise of the previous Defender – and that was Sir Jim Ratcliffe, chairman of Ineos Group and frequently named as 1 of the UK’s wealthiest folks.
Originally Sir Jim offered to get the legal rights and tooling to have on constructing the outdated Defender, but Jaguar Land Rover turned him down flat. So in 2017, whilst indulging in a pint or two at the Grenadier pub in the vicinity of the Ineos offices in Belgravia, he resolved to construct his personal off-roader that would be new from the floor up and would tackle all the shortcomings of the old Defender although retaining its rugged, utilitarian character.
In honour of in which the thought was conceived, the car or truck would be known as the Ineos Grenadier – and, considerably less than six many years considering that those people pints were being pulled, it is up, managing and in output as a additional useful proposition for tackling roadways less travelled than today’s magnificent ‘soft roader’ SUVs.
In trying to keep with the car’s ‘Built on Purpose’ mantra, initial drives of the production Grenadier took the variety of an function labelled ‘Expedition 1’, in which a relay fleet of Grenadiers began at the Castle of Mey in northernmost mainland Scotland and ended up in Belgravia where by it all started.
I was invited to acquire part in the 2nd leg, which ran from Inverness to Glasgow amid snow, ice and bitter chilly by using a mostly off-street route – situations that could hardly have been much better for the launch of a vehicle specifically crafted to deal with just about anything that mother nature can toss at it.
On initial sight, the shape produced by Toby Ecuyer (an automotive debut for a man best regarded for developing superyachts) appears to have been evidently encouraged by the old Defender, albeit with a front close that has additional in popular with the celebrated Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen. Make no error, although: the Grenadier is no pastiche of anything at all that has long gone right before, but a totally new car from the ground up.
Starting up from the bottom, it has been provided a huge ladder chassis, a pair of hefty beam axles and a established of excellent, outdated-fashioned coil springs relatively than the hi-tech (but most likely troublesome) air suspension units observed on a lot of present day off-roaders. That set-up alone is enough to exhibit that the Grenadier genuinely is intended to acquire the (really) tough with the smooth, a point backed-up by the 3 differential locks (front, center and again) that assure ability goes to all four wheels at all instances in challenging off-street scenarios.
Below the bonnet there is a option of petrol or diesel-run, 3-litre, six-cylinder BMW engines that travel by way of a tried using-and-tested ZF 8-speed automated gearbox with handbook override and a decision of higher or lower ratios.
Inside, the cab is rugged but comfy with a option of trim alternatives and an impressive control set-up which is divided in between a break up dashboard (touchscreen infotainment previously mentioned, business-like knobs and buttons under) and an plane-style overhead console that residences switches for activating characteristics these types of as the differential locks, hill descent regulate, ‘wading’ and ‘off-road’ modes.
The overhead console is also equipped with a multitude of auxiliary switches which are wired-in to take some of the a lot of add-ons that entrepreneurs will likely want to insert to their Grenadiers. Other sensible touches that enrich the car’s versatility contain stout lashing factors on the roof, ingenious clips alongside each individual aspect of the overall body for attaching accessories this sort of as tables and tents and a 2,000-litre cargo region that can be configured in diverse approaches and fitted with a array of components from an already rapidly-rising catalogue.
The drive routes in the remotest parts of the 50,000-acre Ardverikie and Luss estates were intended to check the Grenadier’s mettle devoid of compromise, using in boulder-strewn tracks, ice-lined ascents and descents, deep river crossings, substantial rutted tracks – and even a wade as a result of Loch Lomond. The car absolutely did not disappoint, not the very least many thanks to a experience of invincibility that actually does inspire an urge to pack it all in and head off on an journey getting roads fewer travelled.
Almost as impressive as the Grenadier’s off-road functionality, nonetheless, was the way it goes on frequent metalled surfaces. Everyone who has ever driven an outdated Land Rover Defender (or a single of its even far more essential predecessors) will know that the on-street steering was imprecise to say the least, and the trip could be bone-jarring. Include to that the wind that rushed by means of the door gaps at motorway speeds, the cramped driving place and the to some degree lumbering overall performance and the reluctance demonstrated by lots of persons to vacation prolonged distances in a Defender becomes easy to understand.
The Grenadier addresses those points with doorways that essentially shut thoroughly, taut and precise steering and small body roll regardless of the pliant, off-road suspension. Leading speed is only about 90mph, but the car or truck will cruise comfortably at 70.
So whilst the Grenadier is absolutely no limousine and surely not a sporting activities motor vehicle, it is accurately and unarguably what it was generally meant to be: a tough and simple off-roader with adequate refinement and overall performance to not only get you to the commence of your next adventure – but to bring you safely and securely household once again, as well.
There are now 4 designs of Ineos Grenadier to opt for from – the two-seat ‘commercial’, the foundation design ‘utility’ and the higher-specification ‘Belstaff Editions’ in extremely-rugged ‘Trialmaster’ or extra refined ‘Fieldmaster’ trims.
- Engines: BMW a few-litre, six cylinder, diesel or petrol
- Energy: 183kw (diesel) 210kw (petrol)
- Torque: 550Nm at 1,250 – 3,000rpm (diesel) 450Nm at 1,750 – 4,000 rpm (petrol)
- Transmission: ZF 8-velocity computerized with guide override mechanical centre differential lock electronic entrance and rear differential locks
- Weight: 2.7 tonnes
- Towing capability: 3.5 tonnes
- Size: 4.8 metres
- Width: 1.9 metres
- – 100kph: 9.9 secs (diesel) 8.6 secs (petrol)
- Best pace: c. 99mph / 160 kph
- Value: Base price ranges from £49,000 (two-seat industrial) £59,000 5-seat ‘utility’ £69,000 for Belstaff Trialmaster and Fieldmaster editions.