Some of the best ideas can emerge from the 'fog' surrounding a few beers with friends in a pub, not least the new Ineos Grenadier. Initially the Grenadier was not considered for Tip Toe because it would not have been in production before planned departure. If anything good has come from Covid-19 maybe its (what looks like its going to be) a 24 month or more delay which means that the first production Grenadier should be ready to go.
Land Rover's decision to discontinue and replace the Defender left a vacuum in the market and created an opportunity to fill it with a purpose built utilitarian 4WD vehicle. Ineos have done this and taken a real back to basics approach in the design of the Grenadier and incorporated the best of what's out there today, improved the design and added ideas to them. The Grenadier looks as though it could be one of the most capable 4WD's in the market, great off road but comfortable in the city.
The Grenadier testing program is now well advanced and the first pre production run of about 80 '2B' prototypes are now being built in the recently modernised Ineos Hambach factory in Germany purchased from Mercedes Benz. A deal with Mercedes will also see the Smart Car continue to be manufactured at the same site. The first production vehicles should be available early 2022.
The wide range of accessories should hopefully include the basics we might require such as underbody protection, expedition roof rack, bush bars, heavy duty winch, awning and tow bar. For now, the interior design remains a mystery; we are going to spend months living in the vehicle and want to be able to travel in some comfort. There are still some fundamental questions to be answered. For example how is support and servicing going to work especially when above the Arctic Circle and in Africa? The big one of course is, what is it going to cost?
A diesel 4WD is more economical than an Expedition Truck and easier to manoeuvre around towns and cities. It looks as though the Grenadier should perform well in the snow, gravel and sand but still be suitable for daily use back home. The vehicle should fit comfortably in a container for easy shipping.
If the selected vehicle is to be a 4WD then a decision needs to be made about whether to tow or not, and if so then, which Camper Trailer or Expedition Caravan to choose. It seems that the best balance between rugged reliability and luxury (with a small 'L') comes from Australia, USA or possibly South Africa, but this is for another time. It is such a shame that we do not seem to design and build anything suitable in the UK - maybe another trip to the pub?
I really like what I've seen so far and am really looking forward to meeting the Ineos Grenadier.