6 thoughts about the 2024 Ineos Grenadier

We had the opportunity to spend some time with the 2024 Ineos Grenadier during the 2024 Midwest Automotive Media Association Spring Rally, and it’s a unique machine. It successfully delivers on the driving experience of a classic SUV, for all its benefits and detriments, while also bringing modern ergonomics. And of course it looks amazing. Here’s a quick rundown of our thoughts about the off-roader when it’s on-road.

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1. It really does look sweet

Yes, it looks like a Defender and a G-Class. Or more specifically, like the legally distinct version from Grand Theft Auto to avoid any lawsuits from British or German automakers. But it totally works. And a big part of it is simply that it looks really well put-together with a nice blend of seriously vintage and modern design touches. It has actual rain rails over the doors, and it’s a total brick with basically nothing in the way of air dams or any other concessions to improving fuel economy. But it also has cool embossed logos in the hood and subtle but notable details like the rounded window frames and the shoulder line that runs from the front fenders to the rear. It’s all brought home by the impressive build quality evident in the panel gaps and fitment. Besides the shape, the generally tidy dimensions and old-school proportions help it really stand out as a neo-classic in a way only a G-Class can really match.

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2. Thoughtful details abound

Whether you’ll make full use of them, the Ineos Grenadier does have an impressive number of little features for off-roading and overlanding. Or more specifically, fitting accessories for said activities. Neatly integrated into the tough plastic trim on the doors and rear quarter panels are tracks in which you can mount all kinds of things like shovels, traction boards and more. There are big handy grab handles in the roof to make it easier to access anything stowed on top of the Grenadier. And tucked into the recesses above the doors are prewired connectors for powering lights. Those are attached to auxiliary switches in the cabin that have enormously satisfying action and sound, right up there with Ford’s auxiliary switches. And then there are basics like the split swing gate to help keep the overall opening distance smaller, and the tall, boxy cargo area with rubber coverings for carrying lots of dirty stuff.

There are also all the exposed nuts and bolts inside and out, the little switch guards and blocky interior panels that really give it a purposeful, rugged feel. It’s sweet.

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3. The interior is comfortable

Having been in a classic Defender, I feared what the driving position would be like in the Ineos. I was pleasantly surprised. The driver-side dash seems to be scooped out, resulting in good knee room, while the pedals are in very normal locations (not placed between one’s feet, as in the old Defender, that leads to a bow-legged position). There’s abundant headroom, and there’s even room to your side, unlike in a Wrangler. Interestingly, the seating position feels a bit lower than a G-Class, avoiding the Merc’s high-chair position. Even the rear seats have a lot of leg- and headroom, making them genuinely usable, something many classic SUVs have struggled with.

2024 Ineos Grenadier

4. This is probably the oldest, truck-iest feeling new vehicle on the market

Just based on some of the Grenadier’s equipment, I knew there were going to be on-road concessions to making it such a capable, old-school off-road machine. It has solid axles front and rear. It has a recirculating-ball type steering box. It is, itself, a box. And these do indeed result in some driving characteristics that feel more ancient than, well, even a Wrangler. That shape results in constant wind noise rivaling removable-top SUVs like Wrangler and Bronco. The steering, which is quite slow, and has hardly any centering tendencies, has a shocking dead zone on-center. I don’t think there’s any car made in the last 30 years that I’ve driven that has demanded quite so much continuous wiggling in a straight line. As for the steering slowness, that might be for the best. With a bunch of body roll and generous height, the Grenadier probably isn’t something that should be whipped around corners. But that aside, it is comfortable and feels less tippy than the original G-Class.

2024 Ineos Grenadier

5. BMW engine loses its luster in something other than a BMW

More surprising was how old the powertrain felt. The engine and transmission come straight from BMW, evidenced by the one awkward-looking piece of interior equipment: the BMW electronic shifter. The Grenadier engine is a turbocharged inline-six, designation B58, and in every BMW with it, it’s amazingly quiet and smooth. In the Grenadier, you hear all kinds of mechanical noise; the sliding, spinning and cranking of all those German components getting the SUV up to speed. It’s what you expect from an old pickup truck, not an engine you’d find in a 3 Series. I never would’ve imagined such a thing was possible. The eight-speed automatic at least remains reasonably smooth. The acceleration feels just adequate, too. The Grenadier has 282 horsepower, and a little more would be nice. But then the already appalling 14 to 15 mpg combined (depending on trim level) might get worse.

2024 Ineos Grenadier

6. Actual customers won’t care, and will actually probably like the drawbacks

In any other vehicle, all these notes about the driving experience would be a death sentence. They would be completely unacceptable and we would implore people to buy anything else. But the thing is, this is exactly the experience Ineos and its target buyers are looking for. They want something that not only looks like, but legitimately feels like an SUV from 30-plus years ago. The exceptions being better build quality, ergonomics and a bit of modern technology.

And Ineos nailed it. It’s a weirdly fun throwback, and a great-looking one. And if decades of successful G-Class sales are any indication (a vehicle that was legitimately worse to drive on the road than the Ineos before the G’s second-generation dawned in 2019), Ineos should be able to sell every one it builds.


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