A 6.4-liter Hemi V8 isn't the only powerful system onboard.
Jeep has not offered a three-row SUV in the United States for over a decade, but suddenly the American brand has three such models in its lineup. The 2021 Grand Cherokee L is already on sale, while the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer and 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer will arrive at dealers later this year. CarBuzz had an early opportunity to see both models up close at the Chicago Auto Show and sample the all-new McIntosh premium audio system. Unless you are an audiophile, you may not have heard of McIntosh until now, but trust us, Jeep is about to change that.
This is the first time McIntosh has lent its name to an automotive Reference speaker system. Buyers will have an opportunity to experience two different systems, the MX950 and the MX1375 Reference. The MX950 packs 19 speakers with 950 watts and is available in the Grand Cherokee L and Wagoneer. We had the chance to listen to the mac-daddy MX1375 Reference with 23 speakers and 1,375 watts, available exclusively in the Grand Wagoneer. Spoiler alert: it sounds amazing.
Our listening experience began with a few pre-selected high-resolution songs chosen by McIntosh to accentuate the audio system. The system uses Unique Adaptive 3D Surround Processing to create a 3D surround effect. We could hear various instrumental and vocal elements enveloping the cabin from one of 16 speaker locations, creating the feeling of being on-stage at a live concert. After sampling a few songs, we asked our McIntosh sound engineer to play a few songs from our personal playlist.
Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes was our first request, as we feel the iconic opening riff is the perfect way to test an audio system's base. The Grand Wagoneer's 12-inch subwoofer did not disappoint, packing a punch without losing quality. Furthermore, the car features Power Guard Technology and an LD/HP (Low Distortion/High Performance) speaker design to ensure the sound is crystal clear at all audio levels. These features came in handy when we requested Welcome To The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance, then proceeded to blast it at nearly max volume. Once again, no audio distortion.
From our brief time in the Grand Wagoneer, we'd say the McIntosh audio system could go toe-to-toe with the best stereos like the AKG in the Cadillac Escalade, the ELS Studio in the Acura MDX, and the Bowers & Wilkins in the Volvo XC90. However, casual listeners will prefer McIntosh's raw simplicity. Though it features standard controls for bass, treble, and audio position, McIntosh doesn't bombard Grand Wagoneer drivers with half a dozen listening modes. Instead, it uses the Adaptive 3D Surround Processing algorithms to add just the right amount of reverb to each song.
Beyond the technical capabilities, the Grand Wagoneer captures the home audio experience with detailed touches such as the on-screen decibel meters, metal ridged control knobs, aluminum speaker grilles, and illuminated McIntosh logos. This feels like a top-class audio system that belongs in an SUV that can surpass $100,000.