It’s not often that a completely new car company comes into the market. A lot of that is because it’s so darn expensive to design, test, manufacturer and distribute vehicles to a single market, let alone worldwide. And yet, that’s exactly what INEOS is doing with the new Grenadier 4×4, and I had a chance to check out a prototype of the Grenadier M1 Station Wagon last night as part of the company’s promo tour. Don’t get too excited, though, because the vehicle’s not going to be on sale in the US market for at least another 18 months. Still, it’s a really interesting vehicle, a 4×4 for situations where you don’t want to go to the supermarket during a few snow flurries, but plan on heading to some of the toughest, most rugged, and remote terrain in the world.
The back story on the company is that the CEO of huge multinational INEOS wanted to manufacture a utilitarian off-road SUV. He approached Land Rover to see if he could license the discontinued Land Rover Discovery, a famous and historic 4×4, but negotiations instead motivated him to create an automotive group within INEOS – INEOS Automotive Limited – and the Grenadier 4×4 is its first vehicle. And it’s quite something, rather unlike any modern SUV you’ve ever seen.
This is immediately obvious when you sit inside and look at the front dashboard layout and design:
There’s no fancy screen, no infotainment system, no display larger than your laptop. In fact, there’s no display for any of the controls, just a range of flip and toggle switches that are definitely going to require some study before your first safari. Let’s look at the steering wheel a bit more closely because, again, it really speaks to the austere design sensibility of the Grenadier M1 Station Wagon:
Look again. There’s no display behind the steering wheel. Where this vehicle is heading, there aren’t speed limits. It is not intended for the prototypical soccer mom or urban warrior, it’s not a Hummer or tricked-out Ford pickup. It’s another beast entirely.
What most took me aback was the controls on the interior roof of the vehicle. The Grenadier M1 comes pre-wired with power on the very top of the vehicle and is designed to support 600-700 pounds on the roof, so you can easily set up a tent and sleep safely off the tundra or ice. But those controls!
Between this and the front dash design, it feels a lot more like an Apollo spaceship or a Boeing 747: If you can figure all of this out, you’re definitely ready for some Mad Max-style adventure deep in the Kalahari or across the most mysterious portions of the Amazonian jungle.
Perhaps surprisingly, the vehicle is quite comfortable – though we had a prototype so that might change, as might the control layout. The paint job? That’s actually a wrap, so you probably won’t be able to get one in this lovely two-tone baby blue. The back is also a smartly designed 70/30 split door:
As they explained, this little door is plenty enough to throw in a few bags or let the dog jump into the vehicle without having to open things up fully. Smart engineering.
Specs? I got ’em. The M1 Station Wagon is 193.9″ long, 76″ wide, 80″ tall, with a 115″ wheelbase. It has a whopping 7,700 pound towing capacity, 10.3″ ground clearance and 31″ wading depth, and this model is powered by the terrific BMW straight-6 twin-turbo gas engine with 281 horsepower and a max torque of 332 lb-ft. You can opt for 17″ or 18″ wheels.
Price? The company was a bit cagey about that, as makes sense with it being a very late prototype, but it should price out at around $70,000 to start in the US market. You can pre-order one by going to their Web site – The INEOS Grenadier 4×4 – and they expect to be shipping cars to America by the end of 2023.
This is not a car I would buy, but post-apocalypse? You’ll definitely want a friend with one of these INEOS Grenadier 4x4x vehicles to make sure you can really get from point A to point B regardless of what you encounter. Definitely worth checking out if you’re ready to go way, way off road.
Disclaimer: The vehicle I saw was a working prototype but still had some 3D printed parts and other elements that will be different in the final vehicle. FYI.