Ineos Grenadier off-road test: Ogre-sized 4x4 crosses Dubai desert like a ballerina

Despite its bulky frame, the colossus new kid on the block is agile on all terrains

Testing the Ineos Grenadier: Heavy-duty performance in the UAE desert

Testing the Ineos Grenadier: Heavy-duty performance in the UAE desert
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Vehicles purporting to be off-roaders come in all shapes and sizes these days.

When it comes down to it, though, there are arguably only two varieties: those that will see you home safely after taking on whatever tough terrain you decide to tear into, and others that are likely to leave you beached in the most extreme conditions, forcing you to get out and head off in search of a vehicle capable of giving you a tow. Which would mean hunting down one of the first varieties.

While you might argue about what cars belong in which category, the Ineos Grenadier, the colossus new kid on the UAE block, proudly stakes its claim in the capable camp.

It is not, the manufacturer is keen to emphasise, a sports utility vehicle. It is a 4x4 designed to handle the planet’s roughest regions and does so with a pleasing and nonchalant exhaust blast at the same time.

This much is obvious as soon as I get in, as there are enough buttons on the ceiling and central console to rival those on the flight deck of an Airbus A380. And they’re all there for one thing – to fine-tune the vehicle wherever I am and keep it moving.

The last time I drove a Grenadier for The National, it proved its mettle in Scotland's snowy, icy and extremely chilly highlands.

This time, Ineos let drivers loose with a fleet of cars in the rocky, sandy and extremely hot territory between Dubai and Hatta. It's a stretch that covers all the extremes for giving the Grenadier a proper workout.

So how does it handle the UAE’s toughest terrain? Very competently, in short.

The Grenadier can tilt at unbelievable angles without worrying about rolling, and I receive a mighty feeling of the car’s power as I head up seemingly unassailable inclines. That alone may be enough to entice a Middle Eastern audience.

When on the move, loose boulders and gravel prove no competition for the Grenadier and the comfortable, functional cabin is ergonomic enough to keep me relatively snug. It is a similar story in the desert, where the car shows itself to be a serious contender in the dune-bashing stakes.

The Grenadier is a European collaboration, having been conceived in the UK and built in France with German components, a notable inclusion being its six-cylinder turbocharged BMW engine that comes in two variants.

One of the vehicle’s most appealing facets is that it remains relatively unusual. Being a somewhat new arrival, there aren’t that many on the road, despite local showrooms reporting solid sales.

Kudos then if you’re someone who fancies a vehicle that’s a little bit different.

It’s also worth noting that despite the Grenadier’s undoubted abilities off-road, it is a decent ride on the tarmac as well. It cruises along nicely in an undramatic fashion, which is useful for giving my back a bit of respite – something that can't handle the same punishment as the car.

More’s the pity, of course, if you’re the active type who has the most fun when out in the wilderness, Grenadier in tow.

Updated: March 19, 2024, 7:44 AM