Grenadier was initially renowned for its size, strength and skill at throwing grenades at the foe, a role which later morphed into the ability to lead assaults on enemy positions.

It also gave the name to a London pub in which the concept of a replacement for the venerable Land Rover Defender was first discussed, and so, in turn, it became the natural moniker for the vehicle involved.

The original utility Land Rover was in production for nearly 70 years and left a big reputation behind, and so the question of whether the newcomer can fill its shoes arises.

Breaking the mould

Ineos, the company behind the Grenadier, is determined to set itself apart from the pack with this product and its sales and delivery arrangements are certainly different from what may be normally expected for a premium vehicle.

Ineos Grenadier parked
Although resembling the Defender, underneath, it carries as much G Wagon heritage

The vehicle handover, for instance, goes well beyond throwing the keys at the customer and letting them get on with it.

Ineos, through Orangeworks, which is its Irish dealership, would much prefer the new customer to be familiarised with the machine in its natural habitat, that is, away from the tarmac.

Agriland was invited along to get a taste of what customers can expect from the Grenadier at Orangeworks base, located at Carton House, Maynooth.

At first glance, it is a reincarnation of the Defender, but stand them side by side and they are noticeably different – the Grenadier being a larger machine with 5″ added to the width, while the styling becomes more distinct the closer one looks.

Kit rack on door
As an optional extra built-in attachment rails are available for mounting anything from fold-out tables to Jerry cans

At 100″, the wheelbase falls between the two old defender models, although the sister model, known as the Quartermaster, is 128″, just an inch longer than the old Land Rover Crew Cab, which was later rebadged as the 127/130.

Power to cope

While it is tempting to compare the old and new in terms of appearance, it is how the new model performs on the rough which counts, and here the Grenadier did not disappoint on the mild inclines over which it was tested.

With the standard 3L BMW diesel, there are 245 horses available to drive the permanently engaged four wheels through the eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, and at a weight of at least 2.6t, it might be argued that it needs it.

Purists might recoil from the lack of a manual box, but Ineos said that by going fully automatic, clutch problems are greatly reduced and, thanks to the traction control devices, careful matching of revs and ratio is no longer as critical as once was.

Grenadier central console
Transmission controls are set in the centre console next to a manual handbrake

The first switch to be hit when leaving solid pavement is the off road mode selector which deactivates the seatbelt alert, door open alert, park distance alert and the eco engine on/off function.

A further wade mode switch sets the Grenadier up for water of a 0.8m maximum depth, while low ratio is selected on the centre console along with the central diff lock.

It should be noted at this point that the raised air intake shown on the green model in this article is not a snorkel, it is there to ingest air from above the dust and muck thrown up by the front wheels

Front bumper of Grenadier
The Grenadier has a wading depth of 0.8m as shown on the pole

Going through the various combinations of modes and locks will take an eternity, suffice to say that there is a high and low box, a trans axle diff lock, cross axle diff locks and traction control through the ABS system.

During the short period we had with the Grenadier, it all seemed to work, certainly on the inclines it was subjected to on this test.

Cruise control on slopes

Another road orientated feature pressed into off-road service is the cruise control by which the maximum descent speed can be selected, allowing all that mass to crawl down the slope at a gentle walking pace without any interference from the driver.

Downhill descent
The Grenadier was easily restrained going downhill, although there was ample grip on the hardcore track

Even when let loose downhill in high ratio, there was no fear of it being out of control.

Braking, once the absolutely wrong thing to do in the good old Land Rover days, brought everything back to sanity and never was there a moment’s alarm over stability, despite bouncing through some potholes.

Going uphill is the real test of an off-roader and here the Grenadier did not disappoint. On the short inclines, there was never any need to gun the engine, the 550Nm torque simply took care of the task in hand.

Ineos Grenadier ascending slope
The degree of control over the vehicle on slopes is impressive

Even stopping half way up on the steepest slope did not phase it, a steady depression of the accelerator set it in motion once again with only the merest hint of slip or spin, and the crest was reached without any further drama.

Throughout the off-road drive, it remained comfortable and reassuring and the engine was never in any danger of being truly tested.

Road manners

Back on the road it was surprisingly sprightly, and even economic.

Owen Masterson, director of Orangeworks, had driven it up from Co. Wicklow that morning and it was showing 12.5L/100km, or around 22mpg, which, considering its weight, size, shape and the addition of a folded roof canopy was not too bad an average.

Rear wheel storage
One option is this storage unit in the centre of the spare wheel

One point to be noted, is that it has recirculating ball steering rather than a rack and pinion type.

This has been done to reduce steering shocks being transmitted back to the driver off road, but it does mean that the self centring effect is a little delayed and a positive steering action is required when straightening up.

Selling premium vehicles is usually associated with large glass fronted showrooms sited next to main roads in major conurbations, which is exactly not the environment that the Grenadier is designed for.

Adventure theme

Orangeworks has taken a much more low-key route, basing its sales and marketing operation around a policy of demonstrating the vehicle on an off-road test track, by appointment only.

Bedouin style tent
Bedouin style tent as Ineos showroom, a theme which is designed to inspire travellers

In addition to the test track, it has a small showroom facility, inspired by a Bedouin tent, at its base in the grounds of Carton House and it is here that the various features of the range can be be viewed in a static environment.

It is all a far far cry from sharp-suited salesmen sat next to a glossy car armed with a coffee machine and a laptop full of payment plans, and that is just how it is intended.

Station wagon with doors open
The Grenadier is first and foremost a station wagon, but there many variations on this theme

Prices start at €73,995. This figure excludes VAT, but does include a five-year unlimited warranty on engine and transmission, and a 12-year warranty on the chassis.

The Grenadier can also be configured to classify as a commercial vehicle.

Servicing is carried out at Orangeworks’ own workshop at Airside, Dublin Airport, and the company carries an expanding stock of parts as it grows.