At first glance, it can be easy to dismiss the Ineos Grenadier as a mere clone of the fabled Land Rover Defender.
In fact, at one point British billionaire Sir James Arthur Radcliffe tried to purchase the production rights for the original Defender, but failed when Land Rover rebuffed his plans. With that idea up in smoke, Radcliffe did the next best thing, put together a team of engineers, and set to work on creating the Grenadier SUV.
While it is still in the testing phases, Ineos has taken a key step forward by unveiling the Grenadier’s final exterior design in a brief release the company issued earlier this week.
The design does pay its fair share of homage to the original Defender in terms of basic design elements as well as the side profile. However, that is roughly where the similarities end, and the Grenadier’s distinctiveness truly shines. Ineos was intent on building the Grenadier as a distinctive vehicle from the beginning, and as such, the company utilized a number of cost-saving measures to try and keep the Grenadier program profitable. This includes identical head and tail light designs, as well as other unspecified measures designed to help the Grenadier trim its production costs.
The rush to save pennies didn’t detract from the Grenadier’s mission of being a highly flexible canvas for personalization, which was a key goal. This goes for factory options as well as factory-built and third-party add-ons for the SUV.
The front fascia is a very simple affair, with the beltline featuring thick rubber trim that helps protect the Grenadier from off-road related scratches and dings. Ineos claims that the Grenadier has a clear, unambiguous purpose which seems to suggest the Grenadier can easily flip between being a consumer-focused offering and a purely functional model that can please commercial buyers.
The rear of the Grenadier features off-set side opening barn doors, with a smaller door on the left side allowing owners to access smaller pieces of cargo. Ineos claims that with both doors open, the Grenadier can easily carry a European sized pallet which is a very potent example of its cargo hauling capabilities.
Ineos chose to not release interior photos or performance information, but a few of the images do show solid front and rear axles as well as brightly colored exhaust tips. This would seem to suggest that a V8 of some kind could potentially find its way under the hood, but we will have to wait for more information from Ineos to validate this theory.
As mentioned, the Grenadier is still in the testing phases, with Ineos choosing to go the unconventional route and unveil the design early. As we speak, Ineos is taking the SUV on a year-long development program that would include on- and off-road driving. The goal is to accumulate 1.8 million kilometers (1,118,468 miles) to try and iron out any bugs as well as find areas for further improvement.
With the Grenadier still knee deep in the testing cycle, it should come as no surprise that pricing information as well as a formal on-sale date are not available, but look for Ineos to eventually release those bits of information towards the end of the year, or perhaps sometime in early 2021.