The first official images showing the new Ineos Grenadier’s exterior design have been revealed, with the firm describing the newcomer as a “no-nonsense 4×4 vehicle for the world”.

Created by Ineos Automotive, a subsidiary of a petrochemical company called the Ineos Group, the new Grenadier will be “built from the ground up on an all-new platform” (with engineering help from Magna Steyr). Production is slated to start in “late 2021” in Wales, with South Africa already identified as a potential market and local sales expected to start in early 2022 (interestingly, the firm sees the Grenadier as fresh competition for high-end double-cab bakkies).

Ineos Group CEO Sir Jim Ratcliffe came up with the idea after identifying a gap in the market (once the original Land Rover Defender went out of production) for a “stripped back, utilitarian, hard-working 4×4 engineered for modern day compliance and reliability”.

Power for the ladder-frame vehicle (which will feature solid axles) will come from a detuned BMW inline-six engine, with the automatic transmission courtesy of the folks over at ZF (there are no plans to offer a manual gearbox). Ineos promises the Grenadier will offer “best-in-class off-road capability, durability and reliability”. Expect a one-tonne payload and a braking towing capacity of 3 500 kg.

Despite the rugged exterior styling, Ineos says the newcomer will be “comfortable” and meet the expectations of the 21st century consumer in terms of equipment levels and safety systems.

“The brief was simple. We set out to design a modern, functional and highly capable 4×4 vehicle with utility at its core,” said Toby Ecuyer, head of design.

“A design that is ‘easy-to-read’, with no ambiguity about the Grenadier’s role in life. There to do everything you need, and nothing you don’t. Nothing is for show. Modern engineering and production techniques ensure the Grenadier is highly capable, but we have been able to stay true to the essence of creating a utilitarian vehicle that will stand the test of time”.

Dirk Heilmann, Ineos Automotive CEO, said he was “delighted to be able to share the design of the Grenadier so early in the process”.

“Most manufacturers would hold back, but we are a new business, building a new brand, and we want to take people with us on this exciting journey. Showing the design now allows us to focus on the critical next phase of the vehicle’s development, testing its capability and durability,” said Heilmann.

“We have a very challenging programme ahead, as we put prototypes through their paces in all conditions, on the way to accumulating some 1,8 million test kilometres over the coming year. From today the covers are off. Testing ‘in plain sight’ without the need for camouflage wrapping, foam blocks or fake panels is an added benefit.”