Published On: 4 Sep 2023Categories: Auto & Vehicles

Big bad Jeep

But it’s sooo good!

Really. It is a proper contender in the high stakes big SUV market – and whilst R1.58M sounds daunting when you compare it with the competition the Grand Cherokee stacks up. I think it is under rated in pretty much every department and there ought to be a ton more of them on the roads.

At the Festival of Motoring recently they had the damned thing on the track! I was so offended by that I tore into Stellantis for being monumental morons – the track is NOT the place for a Grand Cherokee. Until they pointed out how many they sold as a direct consequence of doing exactly that.

I retreated, injured. And on reflection I can understand it. Whilst it’s no Stelvio QV on the track, and that I did drive in and it is deeply impressive (you absolutely should buy the Guilai QV) the rest of the Jeep is so competent that you cannot, honestly want for anything.

I’ve published on BizNews for the car review and on LinkedIn but here I want to take some time out for the McIntosh sound system fitted as standard to this Overland derivative of the Jeep. To say it is good is to do it an injustice and it is seldom that one climbs into a car with a ‘standard’ sound system that kicks ass right out of the box.

Yes. The panels housing the speakers in the doors could use some stiffening. It is the one possible area in which maybe perhaps I could find a modicum of something negative in the sheer assault and battery of the forces that McIntosh have brought to bear upon the Jeep. It is nothing short of spectacular – with only the NAIM system in the Bentley coming close in my estimation of the depth and breadth of sheer talent on display here.

What McIntosh have done is to gain an understanding of in car dynamics and then attempted work around it. You have hints in the dash mounted and raised tweeters, the dash mounted centre, and the rather in your face blue logos in the doors indication further confirmation of ‘McIntosh included in this car’ that once you turn the system on becomes an entirely redundant statement.

The first impression I had is of immense power. This is not a system that sounds loud for the sake of imploding your skull in an out and out SPL crush. It is loud, make no mistake but your ears are not going to ache for days afterwards. You may have some slight hardness of hearing but you won’t care. Rather the power is felt more than heard and this is because the system has almost incredulous levels of bass reach that belie the ‘run of the mill’ bass responses you get as standard these days. Car audio has improved by leaps and bounds in recent times of course but the Jeep has gone to next level in bass that you now feel as opposed to hear. It hits you right in the chest because that’s where your lungs are, and it is simply addictive.

But then you get an actual sound stage thrown in. How McIntosh have managed to get this right – as a third party provider I can only imagine the design constraints that they must have been under for the car, and how they have managed to model, refine and somehow come up with what works is something beyond my comprehension. I get it when a specialist is able to design the car around the sound system as in that brilliant Audi I listened to some time back – but in a stock standard production vehicle the constraints must have been onerous.

I would like to think that the design engineers at McIntosh had a proper hissy fit at not being allowed to incorporate 3/4″ MDF for the door panels.

But the rest of it they have nailed absolutely. Imaging in a car is something I don’t even understand as being possible without supreme DSP and I ran the system with everything turned off and set to neutral. And yet, it was all there. Such sublime vocals and in your face guitars that you can almost touch, in a car, I’m sorry – it’s next level stuff.

It goes almost without saying that there was little that I could fault in the system, bearing in mind we’re in an SUV here. Tonal integration is seamless and the levels of detail available from the mid and upper registers borders on astonishing. The performance such that bluetoothing to the system ain’t gonna cut it and it deserves hard cabling, with that said your blueteeth will never sound better than they do and it is probably the limiting factor in the listening experience.

If nothing else a test drive in the Grand Cherokee when stationary becomes entirely justified if you are listening only. It’s almost enough to sell the car on its own to be honest but there is another 2,100kg of vehicle to convince you of the need to part with some hard earned cash to be able to drive around in what can best be described as a theatre of sound on wheels.

My scorecard

or add your own if you agree/disagree

Rate this car yourself!


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