GMC Hummer EV vs Ineos Grenadier Comparison: Toys Will Be Toys

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick

Co-Written by Mike Schlee

What you’re looking at are two very different answers to the same question: how do you make the ultimate off-roader?

In the bright orange corner—and in fact the two closest additional corners, based on its size—is the GMC Hummer EV. General Motors has brought back the Arnie-wagon as a fully electric behemoth, a triple-motor monster with 830 horsepower weighing about the same as a small house. Colleague Mike Schlee has climbed up into the driver seat for that one.

I’ve gone with something a little more prosaic. Meet the Ineos Grenadier, the newest old car you can buy. Maybe you haven’t heard of it, but the Grenadier is the result of one of Britain’s richest men trying to buy the rights to the outgoing Land Rover Defender, not getting them, and then deciding to just build his own take on it. Built in partnership with Magna Steyr (the same folks responsible for the Mercedes G-wagen), it’s a properly old-school off-roader with dashes of modernity—usually care of BMW.

At the Midwest Automotive Media Association’s annual Spring Rally, we took both of these toys through a satisfyingly diverse off-road course. Here’s what we found.

Quick Take

An ultra-modern electric SUV with a revived, familiar name, the GMC Hummer is all about bragging rights and showmanship, but is nonetheless astonishingly capable off-tarmac. Conversely, the Ineos Grenadier is a charming old-schooler you swear you’ve seen before, but with a name you haven’t. It sticks to a tried-and-true powertrain and serious mechanicals for a decidedly analog off-road experience.

The shared ethos? Both of these are toys first and foremost, targeting the pleasure center of the brain.

What’s New For 2024

GMC has been trickling out Hummer EVs, in both pickup and this SUV body style, for a few years now. This is the 3X model, which is currently the middle trim of the family. For ’24, all Hummer SUV trims now feature bi-directional charging, offering 6 kilowatts of charge to any other electric vehicles plugged in.

The Grenadier is essentially new for 2024, as it only went into production at the tail end of 2022, and showed up in other global markets first.

Exterior Style:

Mike: The new Hummer EV may have GMC badges on it, but the style is 100% Hummer. Big wheels, bigger tires, a wide stance and that vertical front grille are unmistakable. The two-tone paint job and light-up bar across the front make sure no one misses the Hummer EV as it passes by silently. There're meaty tow hooks front and rear, a chunky spare tire mounted to the hatch, and of course multiple Hummer badges all around.

Subtle the 2024 GMC Hummer EV is not, but when has a Hummer ever been subtle?

Kyle: It’s pretty clear the Grenadier uses the original Defender as its main inspiration. The broad strokes are all there: a slightly domed hood sitting atop a body that has basically zero angle upwards towards the back. A windshield almost vertical in nature. Simple lighting shapes front and rear. It even has steel wheels! There are of course some changes for the sake of modernity (and legality), and since the original defender hasn’t been sold on these shores in over a quarter century, that touch-point will be lost on most passersby.

The Grenadier isn’t even trying to be cool, and thus is very cool indeed.

Powertrain and Fuel Economy:

The Hummer isn't actually much bigger than a typical truck these days—it just looks it. Image credit: Kyle Patrick

Mike: If one motor is not enough, and two motors are just adequate, why not go with three motors? That's what the folks at GMC decided to do with the 2024 Hummer EV. In total the three electric motors team up to produce 830 horsepower and what GMC claims to be 11,500 lb-ft of torque. That torque figure is misleading, as electric vehicle torque can be measured through the final reduction gear. The Hummer EV really makes about 1,200-1,400 lb-ft of torque compared to how gas-powered vehicles are measured. That's still a very impressive figure.

The SUV needs all this power as it weighs between 8,500-9,000 pounds. Even with all that heft to carry around, GMC claims the Hummer EV three-motor can rocket from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds through its direct drive transmission, which is incredibly fast. Driven more sedately, GMC claims the SUV has a range over 300 miles between charges. While on the topic of charging, the Hummer EV is capable of charging speeds up to 300 kW and features a 19.2 kW on-board charger to power/charge various things, including other electric vehicles.

A punchy, powerful SUV may seem like a bad idea for trail driving, but the Hummer EV excels off-road. In the more hardcore terrain crawling modes, the electric power is delivered in a smooth, restrained fashion, maximizing grip in slippery conditions.

Positively dainty by comparison, the Grenadier makes no attempt to be visually modern. Image credit: Kyle Patrick

Kyle: Underneath that easy-flip hood sits one of the best modern motors: BMW’s B58 turbocharged inline-six. It is only down 548 horsepower, which has to be some kind of comparison record. But why do you want to go quickly in an off-roader anyway? With 282 hp, the Grenadier has just the right amount of power for its size and weight, and even more relevant, a chunky 332 lb-ft available basically right after idle. Note that's the real figure too, not some manipulated, inflated one—ahem.

The ZF-sourced eight-speed is the de facto automatic gearbox, as confident and smart in its ratio-picking here in an off-roader as it is in a luxury sedan. A two-speed transfer case from Tremec gives the Grenadier the low-speed capability required, too. There’s still a key to twist and bring the Grenadier to life as well, another nice bit of connectivity.

Up and over all the various obstacles on the trail, the Ineos never disappoints. Throttle response is excellent and smooth, so important for making consistent progress through tight sections as well as those with lots of pitch and roll.

Let’s uh, just not talk about fuel economy. Okay, it’s 15 mpg. Not just in the city, or combined: everywhere. (That’s 15.6 L/100 km in Canada.)

Handling and Drivability

Need a patch of Earth flattened? We know just the thing. Image credit: Kyle Patrick

Mike: The Hummer is so advanced, with all its computers, motors, and mechanical tricks, it's almost too easy to off-road the big orange brute. With rear-wheel steering, the Hummer is capable of crab walking which steals all the headlines. More importantly, the rear-steer helps the wide SUV navigate narrow trails. Some corners which seemed too tight for the Hummer to navigate were no problem as the front and rear tires worked in conjunction to rotate the EV around trees and rocks.

Then there's the ground clearance equation. Jack the SUV into extraction mode there's 16.0-inches of ground clearance, which allows the Hummer EV to creep through all sorts of mud and muck, or wade through 32-inches of water. When traversing obstacles, the impressive numbers continue. The approach angle is 49.6 degrees, the break over angle is 34.4 inches and the departure is 49.0 degrees.

On the trail it adds up to a vehicle that laughs off many an obstacle that would challenge other so-called off-roaders. Some of the challenges on our trail, like the whoops and rock garden, the Grenadier slammed around passengers while the Hummer's air suspension made it feel like no more than travelling over a speed bump.

The Grenadier's split-tailgate looks cool, but it's hefty. Image credit: Kyle Patrick

Kyle: To me, the Hummer is the SUV version of a modern EV hypercar: incredibly accomplished and capable of impressive numbers, but struggling to connect with the driver. It does everything for you.

The Grenadier is basically a Miata by comparison. A Miata with some seriously dramatic steering adjustments. The recirculating ball steering isn’t just vague, it has more turns lock to lock (3.85) than anything I’ve driven in years, and almost no self-centering. The result is a helm that gives the driver room to make plenty of small adjustments—but it’s easy to get lost when the spotter is telling you to straighten and you’ve lost track of all the spinning that Mini-sourced wheel has done. The brief bit of on-tarmac driving I do around the grounds of Road America suggests dailying this thing would be a chore.

It certainly handles the trail with aplomb. The Grenadier’s tidy (by comparison) dimensions and ample glass areas make it easy to place. Articulation is excellent as well, with those robust Carraro solid axles providing around two feet of the stuff, far more than needed on this trail. I’m going to assume Mike is having a quieter time in his rolling apartment complex, because a few loud thunks make their way into the cabin over the gnarlier stuff. Not that the Ineos feels fragile: quite the opposite, as the term “hewn from granite” has never felt more applicable. The stiffness of this box frame is obvious behind the wheel, and that only increases driver confidence.

Speaking of, this trail doesn’t seem to difficult. Whether that’s because of the Grenadier’s natural abilities, or because that orange thing has already somewhat flattened it, is up for debate.

Interior Style and Quality

White in an interior of a vehicle made for off-roading? Bold choice. Image credit: Kyle Patrick

Mike: Inside, the Hummer EV's dash is dominated by two large screens, one for driver information and the other for the infotainment system. Both can be configured in a multitude of ways, including various off-road pages. The rest of the interior has a modern twist on many classic Hummer design cues like the rectangular air vents, beefy gear selector, and various toggle switches. Another Hummer trait incorporated into this modern interpretation is the wide distance between front seat occupants. The passenger sits three area codes over from the driver.

When it comes to rear seat passengers, the Hummer has ample space for two passengers and thanks to the vehicle's width, can carry three peeps in better comfort than most vehicles. Cargo is another area where the Hummer EV trumps the Grenadier, with a generous rear cargo hold as well as a useful front trunk.

Let's play Spot the BMW Group bits, featuring copious amounts of real metal. Image credit: Kyle Patrick

Kyle: And you thought the outside was boxy. The Grenadier cabin is all right angles other than the wheel—okay, and that very out-of-place BMW shifter. Where other cars use liberal amounts of metallic-look trim bits, the Ineos uses the real thing, proudly screwed into place. Every control is clearly labeled, and all the important stuff has physical switches or dials. There’s a whole panel of additional controls lining the roof too, which makes you feel like a pilot—and there’s no cooler profession save maybe astronaut. The materials are hearty and feel like they’ll outlast a Hilux. There’s good—but not great—space, something both of these SUVs have in common. But you know what the Hummer lacks? A second horn, marked by a button on the wheel labeled “toot.”

It isn’t perfect. The hodge-podgey nature of going the rugged SUV road as an independent means the sourced infotainment screen is not great. It works reasonably well, but the contrast ratio is low, so it washes out on many parts of the trail. Same goes with the instrument cluster.

Value, Dollars, and Sense

The 3X trim gives the Hummer EV a third electric motor and 830 horsepower.

Mike: The Hummer is not a practical vehicle in any sense of the word. It's a technological marvel. It's GMC's engineers showing what's possible for an off-road EV without constraints. All this innovative technology and engineering comes at a price though. The three-motor Hummer EV SUV starts at a price of $106,945 including destination charges. As tested, the orange beast you see on this page came in at $118,165, once again including destination charges.

The Grenadier: created in Britain, built in France, with input from Austrians. Image credit: Kyle Patrick

Kyle: In a way, the Grenadier is a value. It starts at $73,100 ($98,695 CAD) including destination, quite a way’s south of the Hummer. There are plenty of factory options too, to tailor the experience to your particular tastes. This one has a reasonable as-tested sticker of $81,585.

Final Thoughts: GMC Hummer EV vs Ineos Grenadier Off-Road Comparison

Two more different off-roaders don't exist. Image credit: Kyle Patrick

Look, we wouldn’t recommend either of these things as a daily driver. The Hummer is a Heffer and the Grenadier is basically a tractor. These are secondary (or tertiary) vehicles built for fun first, for the adventurer with ample pockets.

Do you want the absolute cutting edge—and want everybody to know it? GMC all the way. "It's a tour de force of off-roading technology in an all-electric package. It's over the top, over-engineered, and an absolute blast", says Schlee. Would you rather old-school cool, and are willing to sacrifice everyday usability to do it? The Grenadier is your mountain goat. For me, it has more character than the Hummer has pounds.

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Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

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