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Ineos Grenadier prototype
Ineos Automotive, the vehicle brand founded by a British chemical engineer, is getting ready to launch its first product, the Grenadier. The vehicle is named after a pub, and it is built to appeal to a particular audience, which seems to have been neglected by automakers as company officials view it. We got a chance to see two prototypes and rode shotgun in one of them.

First Contact: We Got Hands-On With the Ineos Grenadier P1 and P2

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Contrary to what some people believe, the Ineos Grenadier is not a rebadged 2015 Land Rover Defender. Instead, the company has made an old-school off-roader for the modern era that seems to be able to match and possibly exceed the capabilities of a Defender.

While we have yet to drive the Grenadier, not to mention to see it in action side-by-side with a Defender, it does look like the newcomer to the market has a promising overall package that might make some people stray from the Defender, as well as the Wrangler or the G-Wagen.

The Grenadier is presented as a do-it-all vehicle for those who want to drive their kids to school, go to their vacation house deep in the forest, or decide to go on an extended overlanding excursion. All in the same vehicle.

At this point, you might say that the same can be done in an old Defender with certain modifications, as well as in a G-Class, in an upgraded new-generation Defender, or even in some more SUV-oriented off-roaders.

Ineos Grenadier P2
Well, the idea was to offer a vehicle that could do all that in stock form, or near-stock form, while also retaining the amenities you would expect from a modern automobile in 2022. It does have a minimalist approach to technology, though, so do not expect gesture control or holograms, for that matter.

Now, to the matter at hand, Ineos prepared an event where they displayed two prototypes of the Grenadier, and one of them was available for passenger rides. While it may be disappointing to not be allowed to drive the Grenadier P1, which is the first drivable prototype of its kind for this model, those were the company rules.

Only one person was allowed to drive it: one of the company's test drivers. It was a matter of liability, as the vehicle was without airbags, and it was an expensive prototype that could not be replaced, so it was easier for the company to restrict who gets to drive it. So instead of just looking at it, we went for the next best thing and called shotgun.

Ineos Grenadier P1
We only got to experience a short ride on the road and a quick blast on a surface without any asphalt. The Recaro seats are as close to production-spec as they could be, and they are comfortable, although they do come as a tight squeeze for those who tend to tip the scales a bit more than would be normal. I am overweight, and these seats do not offer perfect support for me, but if you are less than XL size, you'll be fine.

We are not going to discuss materials. These two prototypes, P1 and P2, as Ineos Automotive described them, are not meant to wow their occupants with the quality of materials. But, interestingly, the P1 vehicle, which we got a ride in, came with what was described as a 3D-printed dashboard.

The P2, which is a more evolved prototype, came with better materials and had a molded dashboard, and the production model will come with an even more advanced one. Mind you, there will also be P3, which will be the final prototype before production starts, and it will be on the road this fall. Other people outside Ineos employees will be allowed to drive that one.

Since we had the unique opportunity to see two different prototypes of the Ineos Grenadier so close together, we could not stop ourselves from observing their evolution. Pun unintended here; just look at them in the photo gallery and see for yourself. The difference speaks for itself, and, as we mentioned above, another prototype, P3, has already been completed.

Ineos Grenadier P2
The P2 looks much closer to a production model than the P1, but it has many elements that need attention. Most of them are details, though, but these do matter to people who will pay a significant amount for a premium off-roader from a new manufacturer.

Now, time for a couple of details that you might miss at first glance.
First, there is a space on the dashboard where the instrument cluster would usually be placed, and that appears to leave room for a head-up display system. The latter was initially considered but ditched because it added complexity to a design meant to be reliable. Behind the steering wheel, you might notice a set of warning lights, though.

The gauge cluster has been moved to the center display, as you can see in the photo gallery. Its design might change as the vehicle is more advanced. Another element that we noticed is a somewhat restrictive passenger footwell, which may make some people keep their feet to the right, but it depends on the length of their legs.

The steering wheel design, which we found to be "less than beautiful," to say the least, is said to be retained for the production vehicle. Others might like it, so each to their own on this one. The general design of the dashboard will be kept, and that will include the optional switches next to the dome lights.

Ineos Grenadier P2

The general impression that the Grenadier left us with was that of a vehicle that seems sturdy, and we cannot wait to see it again, hopefully, next time while doing a bit more off-roading with it. Remember, though, that it is meant to also drive on paved roads in comfort, which is something that it has already proved it can do, at least from what can be felt from the passenger's seat.

Promising would be the best word to describe this vehicle. It seems that it could do anything that an off-road enthusiast could want from a new car, except for being dirt cheap. Another impression is the fact that someone spent a great deal of money, without considering much else, to make the best possible vehicle for a specific purpose, without focusing too hard on design or image, which may be a risky bet. On the other hand, we are not British billionaires, and we do not have business advisors, so they may know something we don't.

According to figures, the market for these vehicles is growing, so this may not be a risky bet after all, but the reality of the market is often different from expectations.

 
 
 
 
 

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