WhichCar
Powered by
  • WheelsWheels
  • MOTORMOTOR
  • 4X4 Australia4X4 Australia
  • Street MachineStreet Machine
  • Trade Unique CarsTrade Unique Cars

An EV isn’t the quietest car you can buy

By Trent Giunco, 09 Feb 2020 COTY

An EV isn’t the quietest car you can buy

From pin-drop silence to roaring road noise, which is the most muted offering at COTY 2020?

Electric cars are lauded for their hushed nature and ability to skulk around city streets in relative silence, but are they as whisper quiet as we think?

The short answer is no. After a day of testing the entire 31-strong Wheels Car of the Year field, the Volkswagen Touareg proved to offer the most muted cabin of all – and by some margin.

Using Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground and its dedicated noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) test route, all cars were rated using a decibel reader on the same loop with the cruise control set to 80km/h. All infotainment and climate controls were turned off.

Read next: The best (and worst) braking cars in Australia revealed

Both a smooth and course-chip surface was incorporated into the procedure, with the decibel reader placed high between the two front seats.

The big VW disbands old tales of rattly diesels, with the 190TDI blitzing the likes of the COTY-winning, all-electric EQC by more than 3dB.

On the smoother surface, the Touareg wafted along to a serene 57.5dB reading. The 190TDI remained hushed on the return course-chip tarmac, registering 67dB.

The recorded numbers backed up what the judges uncovered will accessing the field, with the VW noticeably quieter to the ear, including the EQC, which lacks an internal combustion engine.

The EQC donned the runner-up jersey in both disciplines, with readings of 60.9dB and 69dB for the smooth and course bitumen respectively.

Read next: Wheels Car of the Year 2020 winner revealed

Other impressive performers were the Volvo S60, BMW 3 Series and Range Rover Evoque, proving that the premium brands pay extra attention to sound deadening.

The Toyota RAV4 and Mazda 3 also proved impressive mid-fielders, while surprisingly, both the Teslas finished towards the end of the pack.

Somewhat unexpectedly, given its BMW links, the Toyota Supra was the loudest in both sections of our testing, recording 68.2dB and 76.9dB for the smooth and course surfaces respectively.

This means that the coupe version was actually louder than the drop-top BMW Z4, with it returning 66.4dB and 74.9dB for the same tests.

The somewhat forgivable underperformer, because we love the flat-six turbo engine’s sound and its raw nature, is the 992 Porsche 911.

Read next: The 10 quickest cars of Wheels Car of the Year 2020

It was saved from the wooden spoon on both road loops by the Supra, with the iconic sports car reaching 68.1dB on the smooth surface and 75.3dB (which actually tied with the BMW Z4 20i) on the course.

We intend to carry out more decibel testing in future Wheels road tests and comparisons, so let us know if you want to see this data in the future.

You can read the full data from Wheels Car of the Year 2020 below.

 

Interior decibel readings:

Car

Smooth chip reading

Course chip reading

Average

Volkswagen Touareg 190TDI

57.5

67

62.25

Mercedes-Benz EQC (20-inch)

60.9

69.6

65.25

Volvo S60 T5 Momentum

61.3

70.3

65.8

Mercedes-Benz EQC (21-inch)

61.4

69

65.2

BMW 3 Series 330i

61.6

70.5

66.05

Volvo S60 T8 R-Design

62

70.4

66.2

Range Rover Evoque P250 S R-Dynamic

62.2

70.8

66.5

Toyota RAV4 Edge 2.5

63

70.7

66.85

Volvo V60 T5 Inscription

63.1

72.5

67.8

Range Rover Evoque D180 S

63.2

70.2

66.7

BMW X5 40i

63.2

70.9

67.05

Peugeot 508 wagon

63.2

71.7

67.45

Nissan Leaf

63.3

71

67.15

Audi Q3 35 TFSI Launch Edition

63.6

71.3

67.45

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid AWD

63.7

71.5

67.6

Mazda 3 G25 Astina sedan

63.7

72

67.85

BMW 3 Series M340i

64

71.2

67.6

Peugeot 508 sedan

64

72.7

68.35

Genesis G70 3.3T Ultimate Sport

64.6

72

68.3

Genesis G70 2.0T Sport

64.8

72.6

68.7

Tesla Model 3 Performance

64.9

72.6

68.75

Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus

64.9

73.6

69.25

Toyota RAV4 GX 2.0 CVT FWD

65.4

73.1

69.25

Audi A1 30 TFSI S-Tronic

66.1

73.9

70

Mazda 3 G20 Pure hatch

66.4

71.9

69.15

BMW Z4 M40i

66.4

74.9

70.65

BMW Z4 20i

66.7

75.3

71

Audi A1 35 TFSI

67.8

74.8

71.3

Porsche 992 911 Carrera S

68.1

75.3

71.7

Toyota Supra GTS

68.2

76.9

72.55