There is a breed of workhorse, massively built and economical to keep, called the Suffolk Punch. It’s a no-nonsense, well-muscled, incredibly helpful horse — used mostly for farm or draught work. But its talents don’t end in the fields. Thanks to handsome features and energetic sensibilities, the Suffolk Punch has also been know to pick up a rosette or two when competing as a show horse. It’s one of those rare beasts that can do it all.
But the Punch won’t be alone for long. In fact, there’s another workhouse about to roll into town. The Ineos Grenadier, Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s fine-looking off-roader is another all-rounder — as likely to turn heads as it is to be hosed down after a hard day’s work. It’s the new dark horse of the SUV world, but where did it come from?
Back in 2016, when the Land Rover Defender ceased production, Sir Jim — who, with over £20 billion in the coffers, is Britain’s richest man — decided he wasn’t ready to let go of the Great British icon. He asked Jaguar Land Rover if they would sell him the Defender’s designs or tooling so he could continue production. They declined.
But, with the might of his petrochemical empire behind him, Sir Jim wasn’t going to be dissuaded. Instead, he headed to the pub (where all good ideas are born, naturally) and hashed out plans to build a rugged, all-purpose 4×4 of his own. That pub’s name? The Grenadier, in Belgravia.
Four years later, and here we are. The Ineos Grenadier is as beautiful a workhorse as the mighty Suffolk Punch, borrowing style cues from up and down the SUV spectrum and intended to have “a clear, unambiguous purpose”. There are two variants — a five-door station wagon and four-door crew-cab pick-up — and the design team assures us that both will be unapologetically utilitarian; “a blank canvas for accessories, so customers can tailor the Grenadier to their evolving requirements”.
There are bump strips on the doors. There’s a rear easy-loading door. A ladder aids access to the roof. Exterior wiring offers power to auxiliary lamps or work beacons. Roof bars are built-in. There’s even high-strength steel in the bodywork, backing up that focus on ‘strength over speed’.
It’s a similarly serviceable story under the reinforced bonnet. Ineos has opted for a modular 3.0-litre straight six engine from BMW, with eight-speed gearbox. It’s a set-up that drives home the brand’s unerring focus on off-road performance, and will offer an impressive towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes.
The one thing we’re not sure of just yet is the price. “Not cheap” but “competitive” is all we’ve heard from Ineos. But, when the Grenadier goes on sale in early 2022, it’s bound to be popular. With most modern carmakers prioritising comfort and luxury over practicality, there’s a huge market champing at the bit for a workhorse like this.
Prefer your SUVs a little more luxurious? Here’s what makes the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen so iconic…
Become a Gentleman’s Journal member. Find out more here.