Test all limits in the Nissan Navara
Test all limits in the Nissan Navara

Why the Ineos Grenadier is the 4×4 I can’t wait for.

Promising to be utilising the DNA of some of the greatest 4×4’s throughout the years, taking the best characteristics of each, the Ineos Grenadier promises to be a functional 4×4 utility vehicle featuring great design design and features.

So how did this Grenadier adventure start? The story goes that a couple of years back Ineos boss and billionaire, Jim Ratcliff and a couple of his mates were having a pint in a pub in London called the Grenadier. Deep in the discussion, they realised that one of the last great utility vehicles was about to exit the market and it would sorely be missed… Thus, inspired (by the pint or discussion or both?) the gang set off to design a new vehicle where functionality and capability would be leading the engineering design. It would be – in Jim’s words – be the spiritual successor to the Land Rover Defender, it needs to be able to pull a plough, clear a minefield and be able to drive up to Buckingham Palace. “A no-frills uncompromising off-road 4×4, as reliable as the Toyota Landcruiser.” Nothing to it, then mate…

But, what would make the Grenadier so special that its release to market has been dubbed as one of the most exciting and long-awaited launches in the 4×4 industry?

First up would be the ladder frame chassis. The Ineos teams believe that a ladder frame is the only way to build a proper off-road vehicle is where it all starts. This, of course, has been the motto for off-road vehicles since the first iconic 4×4 with the debut of the Willys Jeep, released during WWII. For over 70 years this, of course, has been the standard. The ladder frame is ideal for attaching those sought-after accessories that we all love – replacement bumpers, rock sliders, winches, underbody protection or anything else you might need in the bush. So, first points scored for the Grenadier – it’s based on a box section ladder-frame that gives it more rigidity when off-roading. From here they looked at the axles and the Grenadier engineers decided on beam axles front and rear and decided to rope in Carraro, an Italian based company with a long history of building tough 4×4 vehicles – including tractors – which makes it the perfect fit for the Grenadier. More points to the Grenadier: beam axles are less likely to be damaged when going off-road which is, of course, what we all want to take this puppy!

Next up: the suspension. Austrian company Magna – boasting over a century of experience in building and developing off-road vehicles – was the obvious choice in suspension partner. Built with the assumption that Grenadier drivers will be using their vehicle every day in both tarmac and off-road conditions, the idea was to provide the best possible traction, ground clearance and high articulation and suspension travel. Certainly no easy task – as such, the engineers explored the three main suspensions systems available: leaf spring, airbag or coil system. For the Grenadier team, there was only one way to go and we couldn’t be happier with the coils and heavy-duty dampers selected! With progressive springs the stiffness increases or decreases, depending on the load, adding separate dampers and huge energy-absorbing bump stops. Adding to this each axle gets two big bottom links and two smaller top links to increase stability against brake torque and keep the axels from moving. On top of that, a robust Panhard rod to the front keeps the axles from lateral movement. The same setup is repeated for the rear and there are no electronics to manage the system. Even more points to the Grenadier!

And what about under the bonnet? The heart of this beast will be derived from two engine options provided by BMW: a straight-six diesel and petrol version will be available for the Grenadier and they have been testing and tuning these vehicles over more than a million kilometres since the dream started in that London pub. This will be coupled to an 8-Speed Automatic ZF gearbox with torque converter fully electronic controlled. It will have a full manual mode for the more experienced off-road drivers. The transfer case was designed from scratch with the aim of being best in class and will let the Grenadier run in permanent 4×4 with a manual selection for high and low range and diff lock, a deliberate design from the team as it is more rugged, durable and easier to service. The Ineos Grenadier would be available with front rear and central diff locks which should make this a very capable vehicle.

The final verdict, of course, lies in the looks… We all expected from that start that it will look very similar to the old Land Rover Defender, and the reveal in recent months underlined that influence. A UK court, after JLR sued Ineos for a bunch of things including trademark violations, found in favour of the Ineos team. The vehicle does look very familiar but as Toby Ecuyer, Head of Design at Ineos Automotive explained this was purely based on the fact that his team looked to get the best shape to do the job. Things like approach angle, departure angle and overall functionality were considered in designing the vehicle. Toby also hinted that they will also be bringing out a Double Cab and single cab version in the future – we can’t wait, Toby…. Get it done, mate!

The team from Grenadier are in the final stages, with worldwide testing in different conditions set to start soon. So far, you can colour the Adventure-Avontuur Afrika team impressed…. We are keenly awaiting this beast and particularly curious about the power and torque figures they will be able to get out of both engines and, of course, what the interior would look like. Watch this space to find out as and when we do!

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