Development delays related to the global COVID-19 pandemic has pushed back the development and subsequent release of the Land Rover Defender-inspired 2021 Ineos Grenadier, as engineers continue their global testing programme of the all-new off-roader.
Newly-released images from the newly-minted Ineos vehicle manufacturer give us our best idea yet of what a production-ready Grenadier will look like, as it runs through its next phase of validation and testing.
Stemming from British chemical company Ineos, the Grenadier has evolved into a global development and production project. Development and engineering is being undertaken by renowned Austrian firm Magna Steyr.
The most recent round of testing was undertaken in the Schöckl mountains of Austria, which Magna Steyr also uses to test and develop the new Mercedes-Benz G-Class.
Production of the Grenadier, which is slated to begin in July 2022, will happen at the former 'Smartville' production facility in Hambach, France – as its nickname suggests, the former manufacturing home of Mercedes-Benz's Smart city car brand.
Ineos Chairman and business owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe was along for the ride through the Schöckl, and said that Grenadier has made "great strides" in the past year of development.
"Today was a real test for our prototypes, and they came through very well. There is still work to do, but I am confident that the Grenadier will do the job we have developed it for."
Rather than adopting modern designs like independent suspension and a unibody/monocoque chassis, the Grenadier winds back the clock with an old but proven four-wheel drive design: live axles hanging from a body-on-frame ladder chassis, and multi-link coil springs.
Ineos says that 130 second-phase prototypes will drive 1.8 million kilometres in environments like Death Valley and the Middle East for further testing, following the completion of cold-weather testing in Sweden earlier this year.
The Grenadier will also spend some time doing local testing in Australia and New Zealand, before being released in our local markets.
However, delays in development and testing stemming from the global pandemic means an Australian arrival has likely been pushed back by six months.
Representatives from Ineos couldn't yet confirm an Australian arrival date for the Grenadier, but were hopeful of obtaining additional details in the coming weeks.