2023 Ineos Grenadier Vs. 2023 Land Rover Defender 110
May 02, 2023
Find out why the Grenadier Vs. Defender debate is one that many off-road enthusiasts seem to get wrong
We certainly embrace change; however, we also believe that in some instances, the old-school way is the way to go. This also seems to be the vision of Sir Jim Radcliffe – the man behind the incredibly appealing and nostalgic Ineos Grenadier.
This isn't often mentioned, but the Ineos Grenadier is the spiritual successor to the old Defender. When the old Defender was axed, Sir Jim Radcliffe wanted to purchase the model but Land Rover refused to make one. Since he couldn't get it, he made his own version of it.
Now, the question that remains is whether the Ineos Grenadier is a worthy competitor to the new Land Rover Defender while also being a worthy successor to the old one. We believe that many people view this battle the wrong way. Therefore, in this article, we are going to compare the two vehicles as tools for off-road exploration and not tools for the school run.
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Everything about the Ineos Grenadier has been made to suit remote off-road travel and exploration. By this, we don't mean a trip to the local trails. What we do mean is lapping Australia or crossing Africa. You know, rough roads and harsh conditions over thousands of miles.
This aim of ruggedness and durability has led to a suspension setup that is somewhat of a dying breed. You see, the Ineos features solid front and rear axles. Solid axles offer much more articulation than independent suspension which means wheels can be kept on the ground for longer. This leads to a more stable and capable off-roader.
Articulation, however, isn't the only benefit of a solid axle. Solid axles are much stronger than independent suspension. The easy way to think about this is that independent suspension SUVs are larger and beefed-up versions of normal road-oriented vehicles. On the other hand, a solid axle SUV is a downsized version of a heavy-duty truck, and it is inherently stronger and easier to maintain. This provides more peace of mind when tackling harsh terrain miles away from civilization.
In a world where most off-roaders utilize traction control systems, the Grenadier is offered with two lockers. This is an old-school setup that combines wheel articulation with locking differentials to make a truck that is unstoppable when the going gets particularly rough.
Also worth mentioning is that the Grenadier is meant to be modified and is delivered from the factory mostly as an empty canvas. It offers mounting points for accessories and its solid axle suspension will accept a lift kit and larger tires with ease. Even its engine can receive mods easily.
The BMW B58 which in this instant produces 282 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque is an engine well known for its stunning potential. It is safe to say that 400 horsepower will be relatively easy to archive in the gas-powered Grenadier. This is an old vehicle dressed in new clothes and in this instant, it works well.
RELATED: Ineos Grenadier – The Old-School Defender That Land Rover Doesn't Make Anymore
The New Defender follows the current norm but with more off-road abilities infused into it. The Defender comes with four-corner independent suspension that utilizes airbags (or coil overs on cheaper variants) that can alter the vehicle's ride height. This provides great off-road clearance but also good on-road manners.
The Defender also offers a locking rear differential that relies on a brake-based electronic design. No front diff locker is available; however, Land Rover's traction control system is very effective in distributing power to the wheels that need it the most.
The mid-spec engine in the Defender is a similar unit to the B58 as it is also a 3.0-liter six-cylinder. In the case of the Defender, also features a 48-volt hybrid system for a combined output of 400 horsepower. This, however, makes it more complicated.
There is no denying that the new Defender is an immensely capable vehicle. When both the Ineos and Defender are stock, on a short but difficult off-road course, the Defender might be the more capable vehicle as it offers more clearance. Also, there is no denying that the Defender will be far more comfortable when it comes to on road driving. Its suspension and engine tune are perfectly suited for driving on the pavement. However, this is exactly where most people get it wrong.
The Ineos isn't meant to be driven over short off-road courses. The Ineos is meant to cross continents and provide a replacement to lovers of overland expeditions – especially the ones carried out in the old Defender.
You see, anyone who has experienced vehicle-based travel would agree that when performing a crossing like the Simpson Desert in Australia (over 10 days and 560 miles of harsh desert conditions with zero help nearby) you wouldn't choose a car that has air suspension and more sensors than you can count. This is purely down to the fact that if those sensors or airbags fail, this wouldn't be ideal.
In this instance, you need something durable that is easy to fix and this is exactly what the Ineos offers. Also, the Ineos might not be more capable than the Defender in stock form, but it can easily be modified to become a much more impressive off-roader. Its solid axles allow for big suspension lifts but also large tires. Modifying the independent suspension on the new defender and installing larger tires is a much more difficult process that isn't as effective.
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The old Defender certainly wasn't the most capable off-roader from the factory. It lacked diff locks and many creature comforts. However, as soon as people personalized those vehicles with lockers, suspension lifts, and more comfortable interiors, they instantly become some of the most capable trucks one could ever buy. Plus, they were incredibly simple to fix and contrary to popular belief, they were also very durable.
This is exactly what the Ineos is. It is the perfect tool for people who are obsessed with adventure and off-roading. The Ineos was never meant to be a grocery getter or a school-run truck. It can do those things, but a new Defender would be far more suited. The Ineos is meant to be personalized. It is meant to cross continents while bringing back the nostalgia of old 4x4s. It is a modern truck for those who love old-school trucks.
To be perfectly clear. If you need a vehicle to mostly use on the road with the occasional two-day camping or off-road trip, then the Defender is the car to get. If, however, you want a truck that is built for punishment and full-on exploration then the Grenadier is the car to have. Yes, there are sacrifices. However, this is always the case. More durability and capability mean less on-road comfort and vice versa.
Theo has dedicated his life to cars. He has studied the only Automotive Journalism course in the world located at Coventry University and describes this passion as a clinical obsession. Give Theo four wheels and he will drool over the piece of metal, plastic, and glass in between them for hours. Once he is done, he will let you know if it's good or not.TOPSPEED VIDEO OF THE DAY SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT