Trucks & SUVs

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Is Making Automotive History

An audiophile is a hi-fi enthusiast. It’s basically a gearhead but for music and sound systems. Audiophiles are some of the most passionate and discerning enthusiasts on the planet. Car nerds are pretty serious, but it takes no refinement to feel an impressive 0-60 mph launch, but 99.9 % of people would look at you like you had two heads if you tried to explain the tonal resonance differences between a finger-jointed mahogany cabinet versus a pressed wood cabinet. Well, the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee has considered the audiophiles and has teamed up with the cream-of-the-crop hi-fi equipment makers, McIntosh, to make the SUV’s sound system. 

McIntosh will provide the stereo system for an automaker for the first time ever

I would not have guessed that Jeep would be one of the first to work with McIntosh, but here we are. According to Forbes, McIntosh is stepping into the factory car world for the first time since it’s the much smaller attempt, in early Subarus, with the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee. McIntosh had made car stereos before but never teamed up with a manufacturer to provide the factory sound system with this much power. Other luxury brands have teamed up with hi-fi audio system companies before, like Lincoln and B&O, Hyundai and Infiniti, and Jaguar with Bower & Wilkins. However, McIntosh is the Ferrari of hi-fi. There may be better companies, but none that are so ubiquitously revered as great. 

McIntosh and Jeep have been rubbing elbows for a while

Last year the Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept had a McIntosh sound system in it. That collaboration led to the MX950 that will grace the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L. The MX950 will feature 19 speakers and a 10-inch subwoofer spread generously throughout the SUV. These many speakers are powered by a 17-channel, 950W amp. 

All-new 2021 Jeep® Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve wheel arches
All-new 2021 Jeep® Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve | Jeep

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If you know anything about hi-fi, you’ll note that this is not the most powerful system, but like cars, quality and engineering is far more important than power. If the MX950 sounds half as good as in-home McIntosh systems, the Jeep Grand Cherokee L will have the best sounding stereo in the game. 

Will the Jeep Grand Cherokee L have the iconic McIntosh blue meter?

Like a Ferrari, part of the value in owning a McIntosh is seeing that iconic blue analog meter. It is still unclear whether or not the MX950 will have a digital verison of that meter or not. But Ferrari wouldn’t sell a 458 without a yellow rectangle with a prancing horse in it, would they? The McIntosh name is found throughout the cabin, and the same heavy, metal knobs from the Grand Wagoneer concept seem to be on the Grand Cherokee. 

Of course, unlike the in-home McIntosh setups, the famous vacuum power tubes won’t be in the Jeep. These tubes are part of what makes for the crisp, defined, and warm sound that is expected of these high-end amplifiers. 

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is going to be fancy

Aside from the killer hi-fi amp, Jeep has added quilted leather seats and door panels, tons of driver aids and tech, and all the connectivity gizmos you could ever want.  The interior is also splattered with classy wood and metal trim, giving the Jeep and extra fancy flair. Honestly, the interior looks way more Cadillac than it does Jeep. 

Jeep is fully steering into the luxury side of things with this three-row hi-fi receiver. Jeep has come quite a long way since the Willys or CJ. Hell, it came a long way from the TJ Wranglers. Jeep is fancy now.