Motortopia - EVERYTHING Automotive!
Exciting News! Motortopia App Now Available on Apple App Store!  
Close Ad

Highland Trails and Off-Road Thrills: INEOS Grenadier’s Scottish Odyssey

Mercedes Lilienthal October 04, 2023 Feature Stories

The INEOS Global Media Drive Event features production-ready Grenadier 4x4s.

The stunningly beautiful country of Scotland is home to interesting and unforgettable geography. Scotland includes rural lowlands and unspoiled uplands, sparsely inhabited islands and large lochs, as well as large cities and small villages. The country comprises the northern third of Great Britain and only shares land with England.

INEOS offers an optional integrated front-mounted 11,000-pound RED winch with synthetic rope (with approximately 42.6 feet, or 13 meters, in length). INEOS will also offer a removable rear-facing winch.

It was in the Highlands that INEOS Automotive held its first-ever Global Media Drive Event, named Expedition 1.0. Approximately 140 journalists from around the world tested production-ready Grenadier 4x4s during an overlanding trip of beauty, history, and all things Scotland.

The INEOS Global Media Drive Event

I was one of less than 10 journalists from the U.S. and Canada invited to Scotland to test the production-ready INEOS Grenadier — the first international media group to do so.

The INEOS Grenadier is a utilitarian 4×4 produced by INEOS Automotive, a new auto manufacturer and one of 36 businesses owned by the INEOS Group, a large multi-faceted corporation based in England. The newly created off-roader is destined for North American shores later this year. However, I drove them in Scotland in January to see how its off-road capabilities would stack against the criteria we seek in overlanding vehicles used in North America. How was its on-road demeanor and was it a comfortable ride? Did it have enough storage capacity for an overlanding trip lasting several weeks versus a few days? It was my first glimpse at what the public would purchase versus the prototypes I drove one year earlier in France.

The Scottish Highlands offered expansive views of rolling hills, golden flatlands, and snow-encrusted trees.

Always Adjusting

Our journey consisted of natural topography, no “manufactured terrain,”said Ian Brown, the event’s route planner and local expert of the land. “For about the last 25 to 28 years, I’ve been doing things like these expeditions, overlanding, and what have you.”

“This is an expedition, so things slip and slide a little bit, and we change plans. And that’s already happened this morning,” Brown said, making mention of unexpected plummeting temperatures and a recent snowfall before our arrival.

The INEOS Grenadier offers a robust center stack that includes a 12.3-inch digital display screen. It offers up a variety of information, including speed, temperature, navigation, and more. However, the font is hard to read when glancing at it quickly.

“We’ve got a lovely 10-mile scenic tour through the hills, through the deer parks, getting up onto the hills and taking advantages of views, getting the feel of the vehicle before we go,” Brown stated. “Unfortunately, due to the snow drifts and the snow gates not being opened by the local council, we have to divert to the A9,” he added, “which will take us down through the Cairngorm Mountains, Monadhliath Mountains, and then onto Ardverikie Estate.”

Brown explained that Scotland’s A9 road still travels along beautiful countryside, but not the spectacular Dava Moor, which he said is big, open, bleak, and very high—and as we unfortunately discovered, susceptible to bad weather.

On-Road Impressions

We started our journey on the north end of Scotland. We hopped in a right-hand-drive Grenadier and drove the narrow A9 south from Inverness, the capital of the famed Scottish Highlands. We passed through quaint countryside and charming towns nestled next to the Cairngorm Mountains, a mountain range in the eastern Highlands. The Cairngorm Mountains are located in the heart of the United Kingdom’s largest national park: Cairngorm National Park, which boasts over 1,735 square miles of untouched geography.

“Our journey consisted of natural topography, no “manufactured terrain,” Ian Brown said, the event’s route planner and local expert of the land.”

Although some of the Grenadier testers were outfitted with concealed front-mounted RED winches, we didn’t have the chance to use them.

The INEOS Grenadier provides a smooth and comfortable on-road experience. Its turbocharged 3.0-liter BMW B58 straight-six powerplant generates 281 horsepower and 332 lb.-ft. of torque. It quickly accelerates and changes speeds admirably despite its larger size. The Grenadier’s shocks soak up road imperfections well and remain compliant as long as you maintain smooth steering input.

There was little wind noise as rain pelted the Grenadier’s side, making conversations of whiskey tasting and bagpipe playing joyfully clear to hear. The cabin gave occupants a plethora of knobs and switches to use, though some were hard to read during daytime hours. Manually adjustable Recaro seats provided us a comfortable and supportive experience, though I wish they had added lumbar adjustments for our backs. Removable Safari windows adorned one of our testers, a feature I wished we could’ve used during our time in Scotland. But alas, we’re here in wintertime; it’s a beautiful place but not conducive to removable glass.

The Scottish Highlands are known for their unique landscape and associated peatland areas which are dominated by peaty soils. More than 20% of Scotland is covered by peat, and it’s important to the country’s drinking water.

Ardverikie Estate

We soon arrived at Ardverikie Estate, home of the largest freshwater beach in Britain and home of 45,000 acres of filming locations for well-known movies and popular TV shows including “The Crown” and others. It’s here where we first experienced the Grenadier off-road.

“Ardverikie I know well,” Brown stated. “It’s perfectly placed. It’s geographically the center of Scotland and not very far from the gates of Ardverikie is a stone that proclaims its geographical position.”

“Scotland includes rural lowlands and unspoiled uplands, sparsely inhabited islands and large lochs, as well as large cities and small villages.”

We tested two diesel and petrol editions: the more extreme off-road capable Trialmaster and the adventure-ready Fieldmaster (shown in this photo).

Brown moved to Scotland in 2005. He lived just off the Ardverikie estate until around 2020 and ran his business there. “The estate is owned by a collection of descendants of Sir William Ramsden,” Brown explained. “There’s about 80 members of the family that have an interest in the estate. It’s a commercial enterprise, but it’s run pretty much for their own enjoyment. My business operated there for 16 years as a commercial enterprise.”

“The INEOS Grenadier would make a suitable overlanding alternative, too bad we’ll have to exercise a little more patience before we can buy one.”

The INEOS Global Media Drive Event allowed journalists from throughout the world a unique chance to off-road on multiple privately owned estates, including this one, the Luss Estate, which overlooked Loch Lomond.

“There’s two big hydro schemes on the estate that generated a huge amount of income for them now and also the film work that has gone on there over the years,” he added. “That’s grown proportionally … just a few small feature films to major blockbusters now.”

The Ardverikie estate is split over two sides of the A86 road. “The area we were [off-roading] in was 35,000 acres roughly. It’s a huge area with three Munros on that side of the estate, which are mountains over 3,000 feet.

“Ardverikie’s golf course became my training ground for us over 16 years,” Brown said. “It’s got good features and gave us great features that we could play on.”

Technical Terrain

A stunning sunset greeted us alongside a narrow, winding trail that tracked by Lochan na h-Earba (yes, that’s the correct spelling). It’s a picturesque region incorporating two lochs (or lakes) to the south of Loch Laggan on the Ardverikie Estate. We stayed the night at the Kingshouse Hotel in Glencoe and made our way south past Loch Lomond, one of the UK’s largest expanses of open water, to the Luss Estate for our next round of off-roading during a drizzly day.

“There was little wind noise as rain pelted the Grenadier’s side, making conversations of whiskey tasting and bagpipe playing joyfully clear to hear.”

BFGoodrich KO2 all-terrain tires are standard on the Grenadier Trialmaster, however, both Trialmaster and Fieldmaster editions were outfitted with this tire type for the drive event. This allowed for maximum traction, as well as ample control in muddy situations.

The Luss Estate included challenging trails with tight tree-lined troughs and rock-laden ascents. Mud-filled sections and off-camber sections gave way to moss-lined greenery and glimpses of Loch Lomond’s fog-filled beauty below. Luss Estate was the perfect place to test the Grenadier’s lockers, articulation, and more.

The Grenadier’s off-road demeanor lived up to my expectations: it clamored up everything and didn’t flinch at even the toughest obstacles. Even the Luss Estate’s famed “Ski Hill” (which isn’t actually a ski hill) was no match for the new ute. Its descent control system carefully balanced braking and throttle corrections to allow for a smooth zero-pedal driving experience. BFGoodrich KO2 all-terrain tires (standard on the Trialmaster edition, optional on the Fieldmaster) kept us on the straight and narrow, even in slick, wet conditions.

Interior-mounted L-tracks and associated rings allow for easy luggage tie-down points to secure cargo before off-roading.

The INEOS Grenadier felt agile in tight areas and didn’t rattle, even in the most extreme cases. In short, the Grenadier felt at home mitigating mud and slashing through snow. It scoffed at loose dirt and chomped through ice with confidence.

I’m impressed with the production-ready Grenadier’s off-road capability, especially when adapting to quickly changing trail conditions. The INEOS Grenadier would make a suitable overlanding alternative, too bad we’ll have to exercise a little more patience before we can buy one.

See more from INEOS Automotive on
Instagram @ineos_grenadier.


Share your EVENT!
Official Motortopia Event Schedule
There was a problem with your
There was a problem with your