How Ford Made The New Explorer's Interior So Eerily Quiet

Interior

It's thanks to three new sound-reduction features.

As America’s all-time best-selling SUV, the new 2020 Explorer is undoubtedly an important model for Ford. The redesigned SUV has arrived with an all-new rear-wheel drive platform and new powertrain options, including a hybrid variant and a sporty ST model powered by a 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine that’s estimated to produce 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. Following its debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, Ford has now also revealed how it made the new Explorer's interior so eerily quiet to deliver a more comfortable ride.

"We’ve spent a lot of time learning about what our Explorer customers want and love in their SUV, and near the top of the list is a comfortable vehicle they can enjoy with their loved ones,” said Craig Patterson, Ford SUV marketing manager. "Whether it’s taking the family up north for the weekend or taking a date to the movies on Saturday night, a quieter interior allows them to better connect with those who are along for the journey.”

To minimize road and engine noise inside the cabin, the new Explorer features a new dual-wall dashboard. Two walls separate the engine compartment from the passenger cabin, one of which is made of sheet-molded composite material, with an air gap in between them. According to Ford’s noise, vibration and harshness engineering manager, Parker Lewis, the dual-wall dashboard is similar to the technology used to keep drinks hot or cold. "This innovation is very similar in theory to an insulated thermos or mug,” he said. "The multiple layers of a mug keep unwanted ambient temperatures out, while the multiple layers of this dual-wall dashboard keep unwanted noise out of the vehicle cabin.”

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To help reduce wind and road noise, the 2020 Explorer is also equipped with an acoustic windshield and acoustic front side windows constructed out of two layers of glass, which are separated by a thin sheet of clear plastic. In addition, Ford’s Active Noise Control uses strategically placed microphones throughout the cabin to detect unwanted frequencies inside the cabin.

When these are discovered, the system cancels them out by producing opposing sound waves that come through the audio system speakers. "Think of it as thunder on a stormy night,” Lewis explained. "These sound waves bounce around us in a contained area, then the vehicle’s audio system speakers negate the thunder, essentially silencing the environment.” Strangely, however, Ford’s Active Noise Control technology is only available in the 2020 Explorer Limited Hybrid.

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