INEOS GRENADIER is the desert’s new best friend

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INEOS GRENADIER is the desert’s new best friend

At first glance, it would be totally understandable if you mistakenly assumed the Ineos Grenadier was a Land Rover Defender. In fact, legend has it that Ineos founder and chairman, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, was so distraught with the discontinuance of the celebrated original box-shaped Land Rover Defender that he decided to build his own. 

Now, the Defender was world-renowned for its ruggedness, tough build quality and ability to conquer any mountain. However, due to stricter European Union emissions’ measures, Jaguar Land Rover discontinued the world-famous Defender box shape in 2016, some 67 years after the first model was made. 

Enter the Ineos Grenadier, which is engineered in Austria and built in France with a turbocharged 3.0-litre BMW engine. 

To be honest, the roughness of the Land Rover Defender has been transplanted into the Grenadier, but that’s where the similarities for me end. This is because the Ineos Granadier is a Defender on steroids. 

Taking the Grenadier Quartermaster for an early morning drive this week, it was evidently clear this stunning 4×4 vehicle is absolutely defiant of whatever evolution has converted the majority of today’s SUVs into softies. 

According to specifications, both petrol and diesel versions, the Granadier can move from rest to 100km/h in under 10 seconds. The petrol version accelerates slightly faster, but both are limited to 160km/h top speed for safety. Whether you drive the petrol or diesel version of this off-roading beast, the power, the technology and the workmanship will astound you. This is guaranteed. 

With a price tag of well over N$1 million, the Grenadier is a permanent all-wheel drive vehicle that gets its power through a standard eight-speed automatic gearbox and a two-speed mechanical transfer case. The latter is operated by a chunky mechanical lever next to the gear shifter. 

While every Grenadier off the production line comes with unmatched off-road ability, on-road refinement is not amongst its priorities. This is because the vehicle designers preferred a separate ladder-frame chassis with solid axles at each end. The Grenadier also uses recirculating ball steering rather than rack-and-pinion, making it one of a handful of manufacturers that still prefer this configuration. 

In the essence of a true 4×4 specialist the Grenadier also has a second battery that can power 110-volt appliances drawing up to 400 watts. In anticipation of owners spending long stretches in the bush, the Grenadier is pre-wired for the fitment of more off-road lighting and a host of other accessories. 

On a gravel road, the Grenadier feels like it comes from a time when actual driving skills were required to get the most of your vehicle. Precise driving is needed on an extra-sensitive steering wheel specifically designed for tight corners in off-roading while the six-cylinder engine sounds like it is begging for strong acceleration when on a straight road. 

The Ineos Group Limited, a British multinational conglomerate headquartered and registered in London, is one of the largest chemical companies in the world, with more operations in fuel, packaging and food, construction, automotive, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and professional sports.