Ford's test shows how much quieter a modern hybrid is than the cars of yesterday.
There was a time when occupants in cars had to shout to make themselves heard. But thanks to modern technology, design innovations, and electrified powertrains, contemporary cars are significantly quieter than their older counterparts, making car journeys more comfortable and less tiring. As part of its new "Whisper" strategy, Ford is making small refinements that make a huge difference in the overall noise reduction.
The new 2020 Ford Kuga Plug-In-Hybrid sold in Europe, for example, is one of the Blue Oval automaker's quietest cars yet. Ford examined noise-generating elements from the suspension to the door seals to help find ways to optimize the interior refinement. Adding perforations to the leather seat bolsters reduced the number of flat surfaces inside the cabin that helps to absorb noise instead of reflecting it.
Likewise, the new Ford Explorer features a new dual-wall dashboard that helps reduce cabin noise levels by separating the engine compartment from the passenger cabin. "Our 'whisper strategy' is designed to make journeys as quiet as they can possibly be - from absorbing sound through perforated seats to testing that involves listening carefully to the different sound patterns created by dozens of different tires," said Glen Goold, Ford Kuga chief program engineer.
For the quietest driving experience, the Kuga Plug-In Hybrid can be driven in pure electric mode, achieving interior road noise levels of just 52 dB. Ford says this is the equivalent to gentle rainfall.
To demonstrate how much quieter new cars are, Ford conducted a unique test comparing the noise levels of the Kuga Plug-In-Hybrid with the cars of yesterday spanning several decades, including a 2000 Ford Mondeo, 1982 Ford Cortina, 1977 Ford Granada, 1970 Ford Cortina, and 1966 Ford Anglia.
The result showed that the Kuga Plug-In Hybrid's interior noise levels that are just one-quarter of those experienced by their grandparents in a 1966 Ford Anglia, with the Kuga rated at 69.3 decibels and the Anglia rated at 89.4 decibels. That's a significant difference, as a sound difference of 10 decibels can seem twice as loud.