On-road dynamics definitely arrive as a secondary concern, however. Much like with Off-Road Mode activated, the gasoline engine’s 281 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque feels far more than adequate on the tarmac thanks to the ZF’s gearbox’s generous gear ratios and shift points. But even on relatively smooth British roads, the Grenadier’s handling—or lack thereof—definitely serves as a reminder of the coilsprung, solid-axle SUV’s dimensions. with a bit more body roll and choppiness than I expected given the Bilstein shocks and Eibach springs.
Then I remembered the non-disconnectable sway bars, tuned to allow those solid axles plenty of articulation while stepping up wavy whoops or into off-camber craters. At least minimal wind and tire noise, especially compared to Jeeps, indicates significant investment in NVH from a brand-new automotive brand building such an upright, square vehicle. It’s nothing so terrible as to make long road trips to the trailhead unbearable, just more in line with a 1998 Mitsubishi Montero than a Gladiator.
That’s not to say this SUV arrives straight from the technologically primitive 1990s, though. The steering wheel and dash’s large buttons and knobs are complemented by a 12.3-inch touchscreen up top with a native UI system that integrates wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto. A nifty GPS system allows for breadcrumb mapping and uploading or downloading of GPX files. On frigid days, a CCI knob that provides redundant controls for the touchscreen while wearing gloves even offers selectable scrolling directions for left- and right-hand-drive configurations.
Nothing on the Grenadier feels random and the Ineos team spent the day peppering every journalist with questions to find out what we thought after such an extended development period. In terms of nits to pick, they seemed aware of most of my notes already. The angular gear selector—shared with BMW and looking out of place next to the Tremec transfer case’s cue ball—is actually a ZF design, purposefully unchanged to make potential parts easier to source. The rear seats don’t lay flat for sleeping inside, a decision to allow the battery compartment beneath the rear bench to stay waterproof. The Tremec transfer knob sometimes requires some serious muscle, while the front and rear lockers often hesitated to unlock until I made a hard right turn, exactly what you don’t want to do with the front diff locked. Ineos response: Yeah, mate, we know, we’re already working on it.