The Ineos Grenadier — a car as British as a cup of tea

Not content with being one of the wealthiest individuals in the country, with a global chemical company and cycling team, as well as stockholder and sponsor of the Mercedes-AMG Formula One team and now part-owner of Manchester United, Sir Jim Ratcliffe also decided to build a car. While many of us shed a tear when the last of the original Land Rover Defenders rolled out of the factory after 67 years in production, someone a little more industrious decided to replace his favourite car by building an automotive manufacturing company. Perhaps that's why some people are more successful than others?

The Grenadier is the first Ineos vehicle, named after the Belgravia pub where the idea was dreamt up -- I'd like to think over a cask ale or maybe a single malt ...

Oh, and Ratcliffe also owns the pub. The design is proudly boxy, echoing the old Defender with notes of Mercedes G Wagon and a lingering finish of early Toyota Land Cruiser. Trim options come courtesy of the clothing company Belstaff -- and, yes, Ratcliffe owns that too.

You can opt for the Trailmaster or Fieldmaster edition: the Trailmaster has the more rugged options for extreme off-roading, with air-intake snorkel and steel wheels, while the Fieldmaster gives you a little more luxury with a leather interior, heated seats and safari windows that allow you to pop out two windows over the heads of the two front passengers.

The Grenadier is made for off-road adventures

The Grenadier is made for off-road adventures

Drive position is imperious, with clear sight lines. Seats from Recaro offer excellent support and you can sit with your arm on the windowsill, looking down at other motorists. Multiple analogue switches adorn the cabin and make you feel like a helicopter pilot rather than a car driver as you peer up at the roof-mounted toggles.

For those irritated by the move towards housing all vehicle controls in a touchscreen, these old-school knobs will be a balm. Although there is a sizeable touchscreen, it is not the all-powerful central command of some new electric cars and holds info such as your speed and fuel level in a high and central position, leaving the sightline in front of the steering wheel clear. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also there, so although this car evokes a simpler past, it also realises it doesn't need to dispense with all of the tech that drivers have come to rely on.

Surfaces are wash-down and the floors are rubber, although carpets are an option.

Utility rails along the doors allow for fixing points for all your adventure accessories, and the 30:70 split rear door is a great idea, allowing for the opening of a small door (the one that doesn't hold the spare wheel) when you only have a few shopping bags.

Knob controls will appeal to those who prefer an old-school set-up

Knob controls will appeal to those who prefer an old-school set-up

The Grenadier looks tough and purposeful -- stepping up and into the cab makes you want to drive off on an adventure to far-flung places -- but, more important, it backs this up with some serious off-road capability. A ladder frame chassis with beam axles, permanent four-wheel drive, differential locks and short overhangs make it one of the most capable 4x4s on the market.


Steering is a recirculating ball system not seen on most cars since the last century, and while the slow gearing will aggravate some, it will please many who enjoy the car's curious mix of past and present. The steering system is there primarily for off-road duties and will not break your thumbs as you navigate the ruts and bumps.

This is a more agricultural approach than some road-focused SUVs, but you will write a cheque for the Grenadier because you want something other than a 4x4 that corners at high speed like a sports car. You will go to Porsche for a Cayenne for that. Yet the Grenadier is surprisingly agreeable on smooth motorways when you are not hustling the car and can relax and enjoy the journey, especially when you have the more road-biased Bridgestone Dueler tyres rather than the off-road specialised BFGoodrich rubber.

The Fusilier is offered as either fully electric or electric with a range extender

The Fusilier is offered as either fully electric or electric with a range extender

Quartermaster is a pick-up variant of the Grenadier with enough room in the rear for a 1,200mm x 800mm standard Euro pallet.

Perhaps as useful is the load-bearing tailgate, which when dropped is the perfect place to park your bum and dangle your legs when you want a break from all that strenuous off-roading. Commercial variants of the Grenadier with a cargo barrier and without rear windows in either two-seat or five-seat configurations will find use with many farmers and NGOs.

Ratcliffe has also recently found time in his busy schedule to pull the covers off his latest vehicle, the Fusilier. This fully electric (or electric with a range extender) SUV will offer the now trademark boxy Ineos look.

It also tells us that the initial pub name for the car will extend to military monikers for the rest of the model line-up.

The Quartermaster, left, is a pick-up variant with load-bearing tailgate

The Quartermaster, left, is a pick-up variant with load-bearing tailgate BEADYEYE.TV LTD

Ratcliffe hopes the Grenadier will fill a gap in the market, which increasingly sees SUVs go in the premium direction. With its Belstaff connection and honest appeal, it feels as British as a mug of tea -- which incidentally sits nicely on the Grenadier's flat front wing.

It is undoubtedly British in spirit, but it's much more of a multinational product, built in France with German engineering and parts from some industry-leading third-party suppliers, such as Carraro in Italy, which supplies the beam axles.

Whether you salute the Grenadier will be down to your particular needs, but Ineos has created something that's not already on the market in[1]


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