“I have a pretty acute sense of hearing,” says Frank Delekta, a development engineer for General Motors. “Outside of work, if I ask someone ‘Did you hear that?’ the answer is almost always ‘No.’ I hear noises that others don’t.”
But Delekta’s not complaining—and neither are drivers of the Chevy Cruze: Thanks to the former’s sharp hearing, the latter enjoy one of the quietest cabins on the road. Extensive efforts by Delekta and the crew at GM’s Squeak and Rattle Lab made sure of that.
Their work throughout the Cruze’s development process led to the use of a number of volume-reducing measures, including an innovative “Liquid Applied Sound Deadener.” This material is applied to key areas of the Cruze’s body structure, then melts into place as the car’s body travels through the paint oven. In addition, the Cruze’s doors are triple sealed and feature fiberglass “blankets” that act as barriers to noise, water and disruptive airflow.
Extensive real-world and in-lab testing was done as well, with engineers driving thousands of miles in a wide variety of different road conditions in all markets where the Cruze is sold, and putting the car through its paces in special GM labs specifically designed for extreme conditions. Among them: A climactic anechoic chamber used to evaluate sounds at temperatures ranging from -20 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
“A component may squeak or rattle at 100 degrees but not below freezing or vice versa,” explained Delekta.
All that testing resulted in improvements to some 74 different components to help create a significantly quieter interior for the Cruze—and a significantly more enjoyable driving experience for hundreds of thousands of Cruze owners.