Second test drive...

zimm

Expedition Leader
The first drive last year involved all pre production models, no street time, and very little actual time. Even tough mine's not due for a few months, I wanted another drive so I road tripped 4,5 hours for 30 min of seat time.

Mostly, I was worried about driving position. It was all a tad sketchy with pre production models on what was and was not a settle design. To be fair, answers depended on which of the 20 uninformed people you asked.

My street review.

The driving position was definitely dictated by form and not functionality. Is it as god awful as the 110NAS I had? No. Is it on par with experienced car manufacturers of all types and any price range? No.

I'm 6'4" and to enjoy it, I'm going to have to overlook some ergonomics a 5'-10" person will not. Much like an 1992 Tacoma, except that's odd, because there really aren't any design limitations with a truck this big.

1) The Recaro seat is basic. I actually didn't know they made one with so few adjustments. Stiff cushioning is preferred when stiff cushioning actually contours the body. The Lumbar is too low, the side bolsters are tad tight on my back, and the lack of seat tilt or adjustable thigh extensions is an issue. the latte due to....

2) .... The sight lines. When driving offroad and keeping an eye on the trail, the top of the windshield/inner roof seems quite close but the in ability to see traffic lights really isn't in play... and then you go on road. There I needed to lower the seat to it's lowest setting to avoid craning my neck sideways to see the light if I was first in line, and thats when the rock hard seat comes into play by crushing my ass because the seat no longer touches my thighs. Some tilt is typically the answer, but there is no tilt. Also being that low exposed one other oddity....

3) ... The wheel adjustments. Oh, it tilts and telescopes, but at its upper tilt limit it points upward like a school bus and at its lower it still doesn't properly sit on a plane were the movements flow with where I have the seat set. The salesman saw me pull down when it hit its lower limit, and remarked, "everyone does that, it sits too high".

The term is driver fatigue. That's what I fear this will all add up to. I have two "patches" in mind. First, is to put a dash cam on the window so I won't even have to tilt my head to see a light. Second is to rip out the seats and install some Scheel Mann Vario XXL's... And that's where irritation and hesitancy sets in. My build will be 99,500 out the door, without the useless mini-winch, and I just took a Defender 90 trophy edition they offered at 71,000 out the door, with winch, with heated cooled 14way seats, and it didn't have ANY ergonomic intricacies. I sat in the lot, set it up, and it fit like a glove.

Why do I think the Gren is like this? Contrary to a dedication to function, it's image and badges. The Sir in charge wanted the roof contour to mimic the old Defender, which is low for the seating, and whether it's the stiff structure or all the wiring for the overhead that made the headliner so low it interferes with tall seating I don't know, but the gap between the headliner and roof you see in the models with roof lites, is 2-3 inches. As for the Recaros? They wanted the badge and had to settle for glued together units with no adjustments. I mean, The Isuzu IMark econo hatch had Recaros with better controls.

I sit here not being able to decide, sad. :(
 

plainjaneFJC

Deplorable
Did it wander on the road like TrailRecon did in his video? The unit he tested had the taller Eibach springs and aftermarket tires- not sure if that made a difference.
 

Sid Post

Observer
I have two "patches" in mind. First, is to put a dash cam on the window so I won't even have to tilt my head to see a light. Second is to rip out the seats and install some Scheel Mann Vario XXL's... And that's where irritation and hesitancy sets in. My build will be 99,500 out the door, without the useless mini-winch, and I just took a Defender 90 trophy edition they offered at 71,000 out the door, with winch, with heated cooled 14way seats, and it didn't have ANY ergonomic intricacies. I sat in the lot, set it up, and it fit like a glove.
Sounds like the Defender 90 is the better option for you.
 

Beowulf

Expedition Leader
Part of the problem with the one Brad test drove, is that it had a spring lift with no other adjustments. I believe the caster for the grenadier from the factory is only 2°. Putting on a 30 to 50 mm spring lift would have reduced that even further. A proper lift will likely fix that just like it does on a Jeep.
 

toddz69

Explorer
Part of the problem with the one Brad test drove, is that it had a spring lift with no other adjustments. I believe the caster for the grenadier from the factory is only 2°. Putting on a 30 to 50 mm spring lift would have reduced that even further. A proper lift will likely fix that just like it does on a Jeep.
Wow - only 2 degrees of caster?? That's amazing a manufacturer would do that these days.

Todd Z.
 

zimm

Expedition Leader
Did it wander on the road like TrailRecon did in his video? The unit he tested had the taller Eibach springs and aftermarket tires- not sure if that made a difference.
Now that you mention it, It did sorta wander. Have you have ever driven a ford econoline with 30,000 miles? Where the steering is not so loose yet that there's a dead spot, but you kinda keep correcting because you overrun center? That about where it's at. Its dead in the middle. I wouldn't want that to get any "looser" or it would turn into a right shoulder workout.

That's another piece of marketing ****************. The part where they keep saying the dead steering is to prevent kickback... what?? My lifted lx470 on 35's never had kickback. My G has live axles and doesn't handle like a wet turd. I really haven't had kickback since my fj40, and I hit a bollard for that thumb damage. Originally I thought maybe it was a lack of built in caster but they weighted it so heavy to make up for the lack of direction, I really can't tell. It's a mystery. It does seem to lessen a bit with highway speed. It's a 5 link, so maybe someone will make an offset bushing and test that as a higher speed fix.
 
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zimm

Expedition Leader
Part of the problem with the one Brad test drove, is that it had a spring lift with no other adjustments. I believe the caster for the grenadier from the factory is only 2°. Putting on a 30 to 50 mm spring lift would have reduced that even further. A proper lift will likely fix that just like it does on a Jeep.
It's a 5 link. The caster may not change at all. It all depends on upper and lower link length and angles, as to how they dialed it in. It's not like the swing arms on fj80's and pre '19 G wagons. From looking online at the linkage, I can't tell if pivots rearward to make up for droop.
 

zimm

Expedition Leader
Sounds like the Defender 90 is the better option for you.
I think you're right, but, I'm like a 10th grader when it comes to looking cool and wanting attention. The closest dealer to Pittsburgh said they only had one other order in this county. Pitt and phili have a higher sales tax than the rest of the state, so it's something he would notice.
 

Todd n Natalie

OverCamper
Now that you mention it, It did sorta wander. Have you have ever driven a ford econoline with 30,000 miles? Where the steering is not so loose yet that there's a dead spot, but you kinda keep correcting because you overrun center? That about where it's at. Its dead in the middle. I wouldn't want that to get any "looser" or it would turn into a right shoulder workout.

That's another piece of marketing ****************. The part where they keep saying the dead steering is to prevent kickback... what?? My lifted lx470 on 35's never had kickback. My G has live axles and doesn't handle like a wet turd. I really haven't had kickback since my fj40, and I hit a bollard for that thumb damage. Originally I thought maybe it was a lack of built in caster but they weighted it so heavy to make up for the lack of direction, I really can't tell. It's a mystery. It does seem to lessen a bit with highway speed. It's a 5 link, so maybe someone will make an offset bushing and test that as a higher speed fix.
So think you'll bail on your order now?
 

zimm

Expedition Leader
So think you'll bail on your order now?
I don't know yet. Spendy hot chicks with bad personality quirks have cost me a lot money over the years. I'm not committed, but I'm not feeling optimistic I'll ever learn my lesson.

It wouldn't be a question at 70g. But now at 100g plus 6g for seats, plus a lift for real tires.... mmmmmm.... :/ The lack of refinement was supposed to be a selling point over the likes of a new landcruiser 200, but shouldn't that come at a lower price point too? And lets face it, all the electronic nannies are here too. I guess if I could sell it at a minimal loss in a few months if it drove me batty, that would be fine, but the dealer offered me one of four orphans in December and he had twice that to choose from last week if I wanted to drive away that day, so I'm betting with tax, this is a 25g hit in 6 months if I hate it. That's a bit of a risk.

(dirty little secret, it appears if you wanna be the first on your block, you don't have to order, there are plenty of orphans available. You just gotta pay retail. Imagine the chaos if they bartered before they cleared all the years long waiting list orders)
 

llamalander

Well-known member
Sooo, if your 10th grader has the checkbook, don't you think it's possible to by the new defender and drop $30k or less to have it clad in the skin of an old one? Dimensions are pretty similar save the height, but that may be due to the increased ground clearance... I guess I've been looking at the good/bad/ugly thread too long to think it's impossible.🤔
 

utherjorge

Observer
Now that you mention it, It did sorta wander. Have you have ever driven a ford econoline with 30,000 miles?
I have driven exactly that rig. Holy poop, man. That's the worst thing about the Gren I've seen yet.

Get something lightly used and build it up so it's all the fancy you want. I mean, I get what you're talking about as far as new stuff. But wow. And both Lexus and Toyota are about to have some fancy new stuff that can be built up, too, for less.
 

nastav

Adventurer
I drove this from my work HQ in Phoenix to where I live in San Diego (400 miles ish) last week on some stock sized tires and the Eibach lift Springs.
This Grenadier was aligned after the spring install and the steering was much improved from how it was delivered from the dealer.
The tall skinny tires were installed after I arrived back in SD, so I only have a 100 miles or so on them.
It drives and steers fine…..my wife has a new Defender and that drives more like a car than this, but that is to be expected.
The Grenadier needs a hand on the wheel and lots of little micro steering corrections……..it feels “old” even though it is new.
I like that about it….less sterile and blah than most new things.
It drives better and has less steering issues than either of the AEV built Jeeps I have owned. One had 35” and one had 37”.
Engine power is fine, transmission is great, headlights are great, the Recaros are super comfortable on long trips, and the stereo sucks for both music and phone.
It feels solid overall.
I’m planning on buying this from my work as we bought a blue Grenadier as well and probably only need one for product development.
 

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utherjorge

Observer
Not to derail the thread, but I thought one big benefit of getting a Jeep with AEV work done to it was that it steered and rode much better than stock, even with the big tires. Was it any better than stock, or don't you know?
 

Sid Post

Observer
Not to derail the thread, but I thought one big benefit of getting a Jeep with AEV work done to it was that it steered and rode much better than stock, even with the big tires. Was it any better than stock, or don't you know?

With Jeeps, it depends some on 2-door vs. 4-door models due to wheelbase. The short 2-door model to me is a bit of a "pogo stick" on jointed concrete highways. Taller tires, softer tire sidewalls, or a longer wheelbase all help with the bouncing from front to rear axle effect.
 

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