When Land Rover revealed its modern interpretation of the Defender last year, it divided opinion, sharply. While many welcomed the nameplate’s transition into a rounded, refined off-roader, others were disappointed that it was no more the rugged farmland workhorse of yore. It is those disillusioned Defender fan boys that the new Ineos Grenadier SUV is aimed at.

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Bearing an unmistakable similarity with the iconic original Land Rover Defender, the Grenadier aims to offer off-road enthusiasts and adventurists a classically boxy and rugged vehicle that blends go-anywhere capability with modern amenities and refinement.

The Grenadier is being built from the ground up on an all-new platform. Ineos says it is building on the legacy of classic 4X4s, with its box-section ladder frame, permanent four-wheel drive, beam axles and a boxy body that’s “designed rather than styled.” The rear of the Grenadier is fitted with a ladder to aid access to the roof.

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“The brief was simple. We set out to design a modern, functional and highly capable 4x4 vehicle with utility at its core”, said Toby Ecuyer, Head of Design. “A design that is ‘easy-to-read’, with no ambiguity about the Grenadier’s role in life.  There to do everything you need, and nothing you don’t. Nothing is for show. Modern engineering and production techniques ensure the Grenadier is highly capable, but we have been able to stay true to the essence of creating a utilitarian vehicle that will stand the test of time”.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Chairman of Ineos, and a devotee of the old Defender, said: “The Grenadier project started by identifying a gap in the market, abandoned by a number of manufacturers, for a utilitarian off-road vehicle.  This gave us our engineering blueprint for a capable, durable and reliable 4x4 built to handle the world’s harshest environments. But it had to look the part as well. As you will see today, Toby and his team have done a great job in delivering a design that is both distinctive and purposeful.”

Photo: Supplied

As part of its testing programme with engineering partner Magna Steyr, Ineos will put prototypes through their paces in all conditions, accumulating a planned 1.8 million test kilometres over the coming year.  By revealing the exterior design the company wanted to take the extra burden of camouflage wrapping, foam blocks and fake panels off their shoulders. The Ineos Grenadier will go into production in late 2021.