2020 Ford Explorer Is The Quietest Yet, Here’s How They Did It

Ford has a lot riding on the 2020 Explorer, so the company pulled out all the stops to ensure the model retains its status as “America’s all-time best-selling SUV.”

While we’ve already talked about the crossover’s all-new platform and engine lineup, Ford has revealed the redesigned model is the quietest Explorer ever. As Ford’s SUV marketing manager, Craig Patterson, explained current owners told them they want “a comfortable vehicle they can enjoy with their loved ones.”

Since quietness helps to create a comfortable cabin, engineers worked to minimize road and engine noise. The latter is reduced thanks to Ford’s new dual-wall dashboard which features two walls of a “sheet-molded composite material” with an air gap in between them. According to Ford noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) engineering manager, Parker Lewis, the idea is similar to a dual-walled mug such as those made by Yeti. As he noted, “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.”

To help reduce wind and road noise, the 2020 Explorer has been equipped with an acoustic windshield and acoustic front side windows. They are constructed out of two layers of glass which are separated by a thin sheet of clear plastic.

The Explorer also offers Active Noise Control technology which uses microphones to detect unwanted frequencies inside the cabin. When these are discovered, opposing sound waves are pumped through the audio system to effectively cancel them out. This technology isn’t new, but Ford is strangely limiting it to the 2020 Explorer Limited Hybrid.

The 2020 Ford Explorer will go on sale this summer and be offered with three different engines. The base powertrain is a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that produces 300 hp (223 kW / 304 PS) and 310 lb-ft (420 Nm) of torque. The model can also be equipped with a 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6. It produces 365 hp (272 kW / 370 PS) and 380 lb-ft (514 Nm) of torque in the Explorer Platinum, while the Explorer ST is rated at 400 hp (298 kW / 405 PS) and 415 lb-ft (562 Nm) of torque.

Ford hasn’t said much about the Explorer Hybrid, but it has a 3.3-liter V6 engine, a lithium-ion battery pack and a 10-speed modular hybrid transmission. The company estimates the model will have a combined output of 318 hp (237 kW / 322 PS) and an overall range in excess of 500 miles (804 km).


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  • TheAmerican2point0

    So some sound proofing lining and thicker windows. A much simpler way to put it.

    • PhilMcGraw

      And probably more weight. The biggest problem I’ve had with the Explorer is that it’s large on the outside and heavy on weight but on the inside there is no space to match.

  • Jason Panamera

    Cool. But when I look at the infotainment screen I hear painful noises.

    • metric

      Good thing it’s not standard…

  • JTL2017

    If the explorer is supposed to be really quiet, I wonder what the aviator is like.

    • ErnieB

      Like riding on a cloud… after all it’s an aviator..

  • caddy45

    Good thing that vertical infotainment screen is optional, the horizontal one looks much better (just wish there were better pictures of it, not just from the side).


    Ford is going to copy Subaru’s new interior.

  • tt tt

    Great! So people won’t notice you when you drove by in your hideous looking explorer.

  • Paul Webster

    I’m gonna have to spec one of these babies out. Very interesting.

  • Joe E

    “This technology isn’t new, but Ford is strangely limiting it to the 2020 Explorer Limited Hybrid.”

    Probably because the sounds of the gas engine kicking on are pretty jarring and unpleasant, so the active noise cancelling helps keep things an even level of quiet. I’d think the Aviator would have this active noise cancelling system standard on all trims.

  • SteersUright

    Thank goodness this new Explorer really looks like a winner.
    Would love to see a more off-road oriented version, an Explorer Raptor of sorts, kinda like the 4-runner TRD.

  • dumblikeyou2

    Yikes. That side profile is not great. Only seen it at 3/4s, full-on front or back so far, but no wonder they’ve minimized full-on side profile shots. That back end on that metallic orange version is a letdown.

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