Ineos Grenadier, GMC Hummer EV, Lexus GX Overtrail, 3 Cool Premium Off-Roaders | The Daily Drive


We take to the trail in a trio of upmarket SUVs.

2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV
2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV – 3 Cool Premium Off-Roaders

Most people who purchase trucks and SUVs that can drive where there’s no pavement will never set a wheel off-road. That hasn’t stopped automakers from designing products with such capability. Jeep and Land Rover built their entire brands on this idea, and a not-insignificant portion of their owner base will venture where others dare not tread.

More off-road fun

3 Cool Premium Off-Roaders

Off-roading isn’t a normal part of the Consumer Guide vehicle evaluation process, but when the opportunity presents itself, we are happy to take part. Every spring, the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) hosts a ride-and-drive event at the iconic Road America raceway in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Here, more than a dozen automakers bring their latest and greatest products for reviewers to drive on the street, around the track, and through a specialized off-road course.

The latter is where we recently put three premium-class SUVs through their paces. One is from an upstart brand, another a redesigned version of a globally popular model, and the third a fully electric example bearing a name resurrected from the dead.

 

2024 Ineos Grenadier

2024 Ineos Grenadier
2024 Ineos Grenadier

You’ve likely never heard of Ineos but have almost certainly used their products at some point. The gallon milk jug in your fridge was likely molded with plastic produced by Ineos. Now the UK-based petrochemical conglomerate is trying its hand at the car business, but instead of building EVs like Rivian or Tesla, it’s targeting the hardcore off-road crowd with the Grenadier SUV.

2024 Ineos Grenadier
2024 Ineos Grenadier

The story behind the Grenadier starts with Ineos Chairman Jim Ratcliffe seeking to purchase the tooling for the classic Land Rover Defender 90 and 110 after the automaker ended production in 2020. He hoped to continue building these basic but legendary SUVs under license, but the company declined. As a result, he took matters into his own hands and hired engineers to make a modern Defender-style SUV from the ground up.

The Grenadier’s design makes it obvious that it’s targeting fans of the classic Defender with its tall, boxy shape and no-nonsense interior. Powered by a BMW-sourced but Ineos-tuned turbocharged 6-cylinder engine and 8-speed automatic transmission, the SUV has plenty of grunt to tackle any kind of off-road terrain, including the narrow and very muddy trails we took around Road America. Its chunky tires and lengthy suspension travel made the rock-crawling course look like child’s play.

While off-roading is a breeze for the Grenadier, it comes at the cost of on-road performance. The tall, brick-like design makes it susceptible to stiff crosswinds, the steering is extremely vague, and EPA-estimated fuel-economy ratings of 14-15 mpg city/highway/combined mean you’ll likely not want to daily it. As a second or third vehicle that you’ll use strictly for off-road adventure, though, the Grenadier is a compelling, albeit pricey (base MSRP is $71,900), option.

What’s Cool: Old-school SUV looks; few creature comforts; off-road capability matched only by few of the most hardcore models

What’s Not: Old-school SUV on-road dynamics; few creature comforts; not well suited to be a daily driver

2024 Land Rover Defender 110 S “Country Pack”: Test Drive

 

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail
2024 Lexus GX Overtrail

For the first time in 15 years, Lexus redesigned its GX SUV. With old-school truck-type body-on-frame construction, you can think of it as a premium version of parent-company Toyota’s wildly popular 4Runner. GX has always had solid off-road hardware, but Lexus never really marketed the vehicle as such.

2024 Lexus GX Overtrail
2024 Lexus GX Overtrail

This changes with the 2024 redesign and the introduction of the brand-new Overtrail trim. Sporting chunky tires and Toyota’s Crawl Control and Electronic Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (E-KDSS), GX might not quite match the Grenadier for overall off-road prowess, but it’s no slouch either.

The Overtrail we tested at Road America handled the course with aplomb and kept us comfortable throughout. On-road the vehicle was also very civilized. Yes, its ride and handling won’t match a car-based crossover SUV like Lexus’ own brand-new TX, but high rollers with true wanderlust would do well to put a 2024 GX on their shopping list.

What’s Cool: Good overall balance of off-road capability and on-road refinement; Lexus reputation for reliability, resale value, and customer service

What’s Not: Non-Overtrail GX models ride and handle a bit better; Overtrail is the priciest grade

Review Flashback! 2009 Hummer H2

 

2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV

2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV
2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV

In the first decade of the 2000s, the Hummer name was all the rage – literally and figuratively. Loved by owners and hated by environmentalists and certain parts of the media, parent-company General Motors elected to retire the brand following its government-mandated bankruptcy in 2009.

2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV
2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV

Hummer is back in 2024, this time a premium EV sub-brand, sold by the company’s GMC division. Available as a pickup truck or SUV, the Hummer EV is a familiar-but-fresh take on the brand’s past products. Powered by GM’s Ultium battery tech, the SUV version offers up to three electric motors and 314 miles of driving range. Available four-wheel steering promises exceptional maneuverability and a unique “Crabwalk” feature that allows the vehicle to drive diagonally at low speeds. “Extract Mode” for the adjustable suspension allows for up to six inches of vertical lift, and underbody cameras are present to help with extreme off-road maneuvers.

We have no doubt the Hummer EV would be extremely capable tackling sand dunes or the Rubicon Trail. However, it was less confidence-inspiring on the rain-soaked Road America course we drove. The vehicle’s width was a problem on the narrow, forested portions. More than once we came within inches of scraping a tree trunk. We also had a hard time driving other parts of the course because the 4-wheel drive and four-wheel steering systems seemed to get confused. It eventually figured things out, but there were a couple worrying moments where we were temporarily stuck. Neither the Grenadier, the GX, nor any of the other vehicles we tried on the same trail had such issues.

What’s Cool: In-your-face looks; lots of cool available tech; off-road EV is a neat concept

What’s Not: Had some issues on the off-road course we drove; extremely expensive; the fact that it’s an EV might limit just how far afield you can really go

(Click below for enlarged images)

2024 Ineos Grenadier: Coming Soon

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