After years of waiting, we have finally had our chance to drive the old-is-new-again Grenadier on Australian soil. And while it really deilvers as a four-wheel drive, it also comes at a price.
- Great attention to detail with switching, auxiliary power and wiring
- Feels stable and sure-footed off-road
- Suspension feels well dialled for
- It’s quite expensive, for a utility vehicle
- Steering feel takes getting used to
- Driver’s footwell is a bit off-putting
It’s the car that shouldn’t exist.
Watching a self-made billionaire throw caution to the wind and start up a new car brand sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, but this is different. The Grenadier is not some kind of supercar vanity project, nor is it some obscure EV startup. Instead, the Ineos Grenadier is a heavy-duty four-wheel drive that was inspired by the demise of the original Land Rover Defender, and destined to take on the Toyota LandCruiser.
Ineos Automotive is wholly funded and owned by three individuals, with no board of investors to answer to. And after nearly four years and one billion Euros of capital spent, we’ve finally got a finished product at the ready.
Not that this is the first time we’ve been able to slide behind the wheel of this box-shaped, live-axled anomaly. We got a first taste of the Grenadier earlier in the year overseas, and long-waiting deposit holders have been taking delivery across the country.
It’s like an endangered species coming back from the brink of extinction, or researchers discovering a new breed of rare animal, deep in the Amazon.
It’s a rolling antithesis to the increasing focus on gentrification and comfort, something almost all other vehicles out there are guilty of doing. Instead, the Ineos Grenadier focuses on utility, simplicity and durability.
In other words, it’s something of a hardcore niche offering for those who still pray at the altar of live axles and a ladder chassis.
How much does the 2024 Ineos Grenadier cost in Australia?
As much as the Ineos Grenadier will be compared to contemporary rivals like the Land Rover Defender, Toyota LandCruiser and Nissan Patrol, the Grenadier will also appeal to those who have doggedly clung to their classic and ageing four-wheel drive. GU and even GQ Nissan Patrols 80 and 100 Series LandCruisers, and the original Land Rover Defender.
However, a constantly increasing asking price has put a few hammer blows to the value and eventual appeal of the Grenadier.
While pricing was initially set to start at $85,500 for a base two-seat model, buyers are being asked to dig much deeper into their cargo-pant pocket these days. $109,000 is the new starting price, which represents a $23,500 taller hurdle to overcome in order to join the growing group of Grenadier owners in Australia.
However, most buyers will look more closely at the Fieldmaster and Trialmaster variants, which start from $123,000. It’s a far cry from where the Grenadier was first priced, and pins it against (and above) some key established competition.
Buyers can choose between petrol and diesel power, both of which are BMW-sourced 3.0-litre six-cylinder units and run through an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox, Tremec low-range transfer case full-time four-wheel drive system with a mechanically lockable centre differential.
Car-related standard kit includes a 12.3-inch infotainment display, cloth seats with manual adjustment, LED headlights, daytime running lights and tail lights, 17-inch steel wheels, front-and-rear tow hooks, central locking, turn-key start, a manual handbrake and old-fashioned low-range lever.
On top of the eponymous base grade Grenadier, Trialmaster and Fieldmaster specs both get the Smooth Pack as standard fit, which adds an anti-theft alarm and immobiliser, front parking sensors, power heated exterior mirrors, heated windscreen washer jets, a lockable central storage bin, puddle lamps, ambient door lighting, and auxiliary charge points.
There’s also a Rough Pack available, which adds in selectable front and rear differential locks, as well as changing from Bridgestone Dueler tyres to BF Goodrich KO2 all-terrains.
Trialmaster leans towards off-road usage, with the Rough Pack, steel wheels, raised air intake, exterior utility belt, rear access ladder and 400W power take off.
Fieldmaster goes more for features and convenience, with a Safari Roof, 18-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, carpeted floor mats, heated front seats and an upgraded sound system.
Ineos have really sweated a lot of specific details around electrics, with provisions for auxuliary batteries and controllers next to the starter motor under the rear seat, loads of pre-wired control panels and power outlets around the cabin. For someone looking to add some bolt-on modifications, all of this still will help make life a lot easier.
|2024 Ineos Grenadier
|Price (before on-road costs)
|Utility Wagon: $109,000
Utility Fieldmaster: $122,000
Utility Trialmaster: $122,000
Station Wagon: $110,000
|Rough Pack– $4105
– Differential locks front & rear
– BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tyres
Smooth Pack – $2320
|Toyota LandCruiser | Nissan Patrol | Land Rover Defender
How much space does the Ineos Grenadier have inside?
While there was a two-seat Grenadier being used on the launch drive as a production vehicle, we only really spent quality time with the five-seat model (which will no doubt be the most preferred of the two in Australia).
The interior of the Grenadier is interesting and quite distinctive, not derivative and certainly not a copy of something else.
It’s certainly hard-wearing with hard plastics and no snooty coverings of stitched leather and Alcantara, but it also feels quality. The only thing that doesn’t neccesarily feel so good is the cheap plastic of the round low-range lever knob. Otherwise, it feels quality and quite bespoke.
Let’s start with the roof, perhaps the most eye-catching part of the interior design. Stolen from the Boeing interior design playbook, you’ll find a swathe of chunky buttons and switches up here, along with empty panels for additional inclusions. These controls are mostly to do with off-roading: locking differentials, off-road stability control and auxiliary power switches.
In front are other more regular controls, but they are also quite chunky and large. These control things like air conditioning,
There’s a handful of basic controls on the steering wheel – including the cute toot function for cyclists – and buyers can also opt for a ‘saddle leather’ on the wheel (and Jesus bar in front of the passenger) that is intended to age and patina gracefully over the years.
There is a decent amount of tilt and reach adjustment available through the steering column, and the usual range of manual seat adjustment lets drivers dial in behind the wheel. The seating position is high, giving drivers great vision for off-roading and car parking alike, but the relatively small and flat windscreen could take some gettting used to.
Of course, if you’re an old-world masochist that permanently smells like diff oil, then you’ll love it.
Another thing that will take some getting used to is the driver’s footwell. Left-hand drive models don’t suffer the same blight, but the right-hand footwell has been impacted by packaging of the powertrain.
The accelerator pedal and brake as squeezed into a space next to a strangely large dead pedal that leaves your left foot flat and knee bent at nearly 90 degrees.
I haven’t done a big multi-hour stint behind the wheel to be able to really attest how bad or inconsequential this might be for users, but it will likely boil down to personal usage and preference. But it’s certainly worth noting.
In the second row of the Grenadier – with somebody else sitting in front and driving – I was able to sit in the back with enough space to be comfortable. There was a little bit of legroom left over, even with a more space-hungry driving position up front (in comparison to myself).
The seating position and visibility is similar to an old Defender, with a hight seating position and big, flat windows giving loads of vision forward and through the sides.
Although, there is certainly more space, comfort and and infinitely better seat available in the Grenadier.
The boot is similar to an old Defender, feeing tall, wide and square. There’s easily more space available here than a 76 Series LandCruiser for example. In terms of raw litreage, it’s big, but not necessarily that long so you’ll need to stack things up to use the space. All of the materials in here feel hard and tough, with track bars for tie down points.
The split barn doors are a nice touch, as well. Opening the smaller door can be enough to toss in some gear or grabbing something quickly, which swinging open both gives you great access into the rear compartment.
|2024 Ineos Grenadier
|Two or Five
2088L to first row
1100L to second row
2035L to first row
Does the Ineos Grenadier have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?
It’s a rough-and-tumble four-wheel drive, but a 12.3-inch central infotainment display does provide a touch of modernity to the otherwise utilitarian feel of the Grenadier inside. This has Apple Carplay and Android Auto, along with some cool breadcrumbing and offline navigation functionality. some key 12V information like state of charge and amperage flow can be monitored here, which is really cool.
There’s no regular instrument binnacle in front of the driver however. There’s a small panel for warning lights and other indicators, but finding things like your speed, fuel level and other readouts is handled by about one third of the central infotainment display.
Is the Ineos Grenadier a safe car?
If you’re looking for an ANCAP or Euro NCAP crash-test rating for the Ineos Grenadier, don’t bother. The 3550kg GVM puts it out of our local crash-testing authority’s jurisdiction, and Ineos aren’t particularly keen on helping to make it happen.
|2024 Ineos Grenadier
What safety technology does the Ineos Grenadier have?
Where other new cars come out with a litany of safety-related acronyms to consider and digest, it’s something of a different story here. The 2024 Ineos Grenadier has no autonomous emergency brake, blind spot monitoring, lane-keep assistance and traffic sign recognition.
There are six airbags inside however, and the usual mix of things like traction control and stability control.
How much does the Ineos Grenadier cost to Insure?
Insurance for a Grenadier seems relatively expensive, coming in at $3,337.46 per year for a diesel Trialmaster. This is based on a comparative quote for a 35-year-old male driver, living in Chatswood, NSW. Insurance estimates may vary based on your location, driving history, and personal circumstances.
|At a glance
|2023 Ineos Grenadier
|Five years, unlimited km
Five-year paint warranty
12-year chassis anti-perforation warranty
|12 months or 15,000km
Is the Ineos Grenadier fuel efficient?
While we didn’t get the chance to really run a good efficiency-focussed run in the Grenadier during this test drive, once can rest assured that the old-bones four-wheel drive won’t be winning any awards for efficiency any time soon.
It’s a big, boxy four-wheel drive at the end of the day, built like the proverbial thunderbox and considerably heavy.
Ineos’ own claim of 10.5 litre per hundred kilometres for the diesel and 12.6 litres per hundred for the petrol are a good start in terms of an indication, but this number might be a challenge to replicate in real life.
|Fuel cons. (claimed, diesel)
|Fuel cons. (claimed, petrol)
|Fuel tank size
|Diesel Adblue tank size
What is the Ineos Grenadier like to drive?
The Grenadier is a really interesting mix of old and new technologies, working together for this fresh car brand.
On one hand, you’ve got smooth, powerful and flexible, petrol and diesel engines from BMW; both of them being six cylinders and three litres.
Opting for petrol nets you 210kW and 450Nm, while the diesel engine gets you 183kW and 550Nm.
This makes the Grenadier competitive with some of the smaller four-wheel drive wagons and the 70 Series LandCruiser but leaves it outgunned by the likes of the Nissan Patrol, 300 Series LandCruiser and most Land Rover Defender powertrain options.
Both of these are matches to ZF-sourced eight-speed torque converter gearboxes, such a well known quantity this days with near countless successful applications around the world.
But once you get to the transfer case, it’s a different story. A mechanically locking centre differential is the classic four-wheel drive setup, the definition of old school and proven.
While full-time four-wheel drives are common, many have moved to a more complex electronically controlled system that uses clutch packs instead of gearsets.
This goes to live axles and coil springs – manna from heaven for many four-wheel drive enthusiasts – and a setup that is something of an endangered species in the current automotive landscape.
You could say it’s like the Mazda MX-5 of the four-wheel drive world: the purist’s choice for practical, experiential and philosophical reasons.
It’s an interesting proposition on paper, and translates into something quite different to most other four-wheel drives in practise.
After first driving the Grenadier I instantly recalled the ride-along experience I did in a prototype some years back, where I got the sense that this Grenadier felt like an old-school four-wheel drive – particularly a Nissan GU/GQ Patrol or old Land Rover Defender, but equipped with a fresh, well tuned and quality aftermarket suspension setup.
At the end of the day, a live-axled four-wheel drive feels quite different from behind the wheel. It feels much more truck-like and heavy-duty to drive, where you can feel all of that unsprung mass doing its thing underneath.
One downside here is that the steering wheel feel is quite slow, and can feel excessively unresponsive if you’re not used to it.
That’s the nature of like with an old recirculating ball setup, which is what you need with a live front axle. Most other vehicles (excluding the 70 Series LandCruiser and Jeep Wrangler) steer better, because they have independent front suspension with steering rack-and-pinion.
There’s a lot of interia in this steering system, and you might be surprised by the lack of return-to-centre after making a turn.
However, if you come from the likes of old Land Rovers, Patrols and LandCruisers, you might not even notice at all.
Powertrain performance is good, without feeling overly scintillating. Three litres of diesel in a Land Rover Defender has more power and torque, and there’s even more again in comparison to a
The other element here is the weight of the Grenadier. Around 2.7 tonnes of unladen mass means the power to weight ratio is as low as 68.4 or kW/t for the diesel, or 80.6 kW/t for the petrol.
For reference, a Land Rover Defender 110 D300 X-Dynamic is around 330kg lighter, while a 300 Series LandCruiser is only 160kg lighter. A 76 Series LandCruiser is more than half a tonne lighter.
The Grenadier gets moving well enough though, and is well matched to a smart and silky-smooth automatic gearbox. However, you can feel both powertrains toiling hard at times against the weight of the Grenadier.
The petrol Grenadier has the advantage of power and overall briskness, and feels slightly more refined overall. Both engines feel good however, but those who want to tow and travel long distances will prefer the diesel, despite having to put up with the complication of ‘Adblue’ Selective Catalytic Reduction.
Once you get off-road, the Grenadier starts to feel more and more comfortable in it’s own skin. The ride quality, which can feel typically a little busy and responsive around town on rough surfaces, handles larger hits with aplomb and settles nicely on pock-marked dirt tracks.
Stick that transfer case into low range (it takes a good shove) and you feel even more at home once again. There is good reduction overall, although the transfer case only offers a fairly pedestrian 2.5:1 reduction ratio overall. The crawl ratio works out to be 53.81:1 for the petrol and 56.37:1 for the diesel, thanks the low first gear and differential ratios.
Lock the centre differential, and flick on those front and rear diff locks overhead (if you’ve got them) and you’ve got a really capable vehicle in standard form.
On the negative side, weight really is the enemy of off-roading, and there are times when you can feel the weight of the Grenadier at play a little.
But on the plus side, suspension feels particularly stable, well balanced front-to-rear, and it performed nicely on the short run of semi-challenging off-road driving we were able to do. There’s more capability to explore, no doubt. Especially more holistically, as an off-road touring four-wheel drive.
But the basics of clearance, protection and angles are all quite good. The combination of traction aids and great visibility (but not a good turning circle) lets you feel quite confident from behind the wheel.
Is it better off-road than a twin-locked 76 Series LandCruiser? Maybe, it’s hard to say whether the extra clearance and better suspension is worth the weight penalty. Is it better than an old Land Rover Defender with a decent off-road traction control system? Hard to say, because the old Defender is significantly lighter.
But it’s good, and simply talking about the Grenadier in this hallowed company tells us that Ineos have put the right ingredients and engineering into the vehicle to make it a serious off-road contender.
And philosophically speaking, it’s right as well. That extra weight I’m harping on about means the Grenadier is likely to be over-engineered, heavy duty and uncompromising in it’s design, which will put in good stead for long term durability and abuse.
However, we will need to wait for a lot more time to pass before we really know what the long-term legacy of the Grenadier will be like.
|2023 Ineos Grenadier
|3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo petrol
|3.0-litre six-cylinder twin-turbo diesel
|210kW @ 4750rpm
|183kW @ 3250–4200rpm
|450Nm @ 1750–4000rpm
|550Nm @ 1250–3000rpm
|Permanent all-wheel drive,
locking centre differential
|Permanent all-wheel drive,
locking centre differential
|8-speed torque converter automatic,
2.5:1 low-range transfer case
|8-speed torque converter automatic,
2.5:1 low-range transfer case
|Roof load capacity
|150kg dynamic, 420kg static
|150kg dynamic, 420kg static
|Spare tyre type
Should I buy an Ineos Grenadier?
It’s a shame that the Grenadier has become constantly more expensive for the Australian market in recent years, as it has eventually started trickling out to first customers.
It’s perhaps not suprising however. In a sea of same-same SUVs, and a growing pastiche of off-road and box-shaped designs coming through the pipe, the Grenadier sticks out like a sore thumb in all of the right ways.
And it’s not just about looks. While it’s undoubtedly heavy, and comes with the compromises that are inevitable with the old-school mechanicals, this is the Real McCoy of four-wheel drives.
Have a crawl underneath, and revel in the size of the chassis. Many will be blown away by the size of the steering rod, and seeming over-engineered fasteners everywhere. Ineos tells us vehicle is built to last, and it certainly passes the eyeball test.
You’ll need to pony up a lot of money (and navigate some wait times) in order to obtain one, and will have to justify the purchase against some otherwise excellent four-wheel drives wagons from other manufacturers.
However, for those that do, they’ll get a flawed but genuine article from one of the smallest and newest – but most directed carmakers out there.
How do I buy a make/model – next steps?
While the added complexity of Adblue might make the petrol-powered Grenadier alluring, some extra torque and efficiency means the diesel engine is the pick for the Grenadier. And in keeping with the vehicle’s ethos, we’d say that the Trialmaster is the spec one would prefer to buy for actual off-road useage in Australia.
While wait times were set at up to 12 months for a new Grenadier at the start of the year, those number have been trending downwards recently. However, recent price rises could put some buyers off, and reduce that wait time even further in 2024.
But on the other hand, the Grenadier is operating in many markets around the world, and recent successes in the United States means most of the production out of Hambach France is being quickly accounted for.
We’d reccomend test-driving a 76 Series LandCruiser to compare against the Grenadier, but also spend some time with the Nissan Patrol, Land Rover Defender and Toyota 300 Series LandCruiser, to see what a similar spend of money gets you elsewhere.
The next steps on the purchase journey are to check the Ineos website for your local agent, and giving them a call. You can also find LandCruisers for sale at Drive.com.au/cars-for-sale.
If you want to stay updated with everything that’s happened to this car since our review, you’ll find all the latest news here.
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