Road noise? - Chevy Bolt EV Forum
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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Road noise?

I'm in the market for an EV and the Bolt Premier looks really nice. I've had a couple hybrids; 2005 Prius and 2010 Lexus CT200h and they were quite noisy. Mostly road noise. I rented a Ford Fusion Hybrid that had active noise cancellation which was incredibly quiet. How quiet is the Bolt?
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 10:58 PM
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You could visit your friendly neighborhood Chevy Bolt dealer and road test one to answer your question.
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 11:10 PM
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You'll find that people of this forum aren't very helpful in their replies.

I find the Bolt to be extremely quiet, but I've not driven anything with active noise canceling. Didn't even know that was a thing. Road noise is going to depend on the tires a fair bit too.
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 12:08 AM
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I've had quite a few cars in my time and the Bolt seems to be one of the quietest. I owned a 2017 Volt before the Bolt and the Volt had a lot more road noise. The Bolt is very quiet in comparison to the Volt. I think you should test drive one though because I suspect different types of noise bother different people. I'm particularly sensitive to wind noise for example: the Volt had a lot of that. Not a hint of it in the Bolt. The Volt also had tons more "inverter noise" (George Jetson spaceship noise) on full throttle. The Bolt doesn't. Some people like that noise or think it's cool. I'm not one of them.

Mike
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 12:54 AM
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I test drove a Bolt for 1hr and recall thinking it was very quiet. Then again, my Prius and Acura TSX are fairly noisy cars. Also, I inflate my tires above factory spec, and that adds quite a lot of extra noise. Finally, I never broke about 50 miles per hour, as the entire drive was on the surface streets of Portland.

The Fusion hybrid is among my favorite vehicles and I'm constantly recommending it to people, and among the strengths is being extremely smooth and quiet.

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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 12:56 AM
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The Bolt powertrain is incredibly quiet even for an EV. Just a slight bit of humming on acceleration and regen.

There is very little wind noise.

There is a moderate amount of road noise. It's quite good for a car of its size and category, and better than Priuses I've driven, but it can't compete with larger and more luxurious cars. In terms of road noise I'd rank my recent cars like this:

08 Lexus LS 460
16 Toyota Highlander Hybrid (current)
11 Lexus LX 570
(big gap)
19 Bolt (current)
09 Pontiac G8
16 Ford C-Max Energi
(gap)
13 Subaru Forester
95 Acura Legend (current)

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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 02:19 AM
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As was pointed out, noise sensitivity is very subjective. On the other hand, I don't see why noise can't be tested quantitatively but putting cars in a noise 'test box' and subjecting the vehicles to standardized noise. They could also put the car on various rollers to simulate different roads. I just googled it and there are companies that do this kind of work. I suspect it's just not worth it in general for this kind of testing.

I find my Bolt to be noisy and louder than my BMW (328iC) and Honda minivan. But both these cars have better suspension and wider tires. To me, the Bolt is noisy and reminds me of my early days with less expensive cars from Honda/Toyota/Kia. And the driving experience is comparative. So, I can't really say I get a lot of pleasure from the driving experience EXCEPT for the acceleration which is awesome. But, I didn't buy the car really for a long distance commute vehicle. It's an 'around the town' car and I'll put up with road noise for the benefits of not polluting, not paying for gas (I have solar), and for the acceleration.

I agree that the best thing you can do is drive a test car. I have the Premier and the sound system is excellent so maybe turn up the volume on your favorite tunes just a wee bit and you won't notice the road noise. I suspect the Tesla is quieter but you'll pay a premium for that quietude.
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 02:21 AM
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I noticed that it's pretty hard to find a critical note on this forum, since most people here have bought the car with their own money and find it hard to admit it's flaws.

I'm not biased, since it's a company car and doesn't cost me a penny, but I consider both road- and wind noise of the Bolt (Opel Ampera-e in my case) above average. To overcome that, I just cranck up the Bose sound system (which to me is the strongest point of the car) a bit.

The car is so cheaply built that a lot was saved on sound insulation.
Road noise will depend on the tires you mount, but the standard Michelins mine is on, are definitely not the quietest.
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 09:02 AM
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I will chime in with a more critical yet very subjective answer and comparing it to other GM cars I have had my Top list (Quelietest to most Noisy).
1. 1995 Chevy Lumina 6cyl (I recall lots of soundproofing as stock)
2. 2017 Chevy Bolt (power train less noisy but some hum sounds from electric motor) more tire noises over rough surfaces. If You take time to visually inspect car You can see gaps in interior. I should probably take photos to prove it. They could have done a better job soundproofing but it might have cost another $100 and weighted the car down another 40-50 pounds...
3. 2003 olds Alero GX auto.
4. 1997 Saturn SC2 - lots of noise from manual transmission.
5. 1980s Pontiac j2000. Sunroof leaked buckets.
6. 1980s Chevy chevette / T1000 with these names do I really need to say more???
7. And very last on the list for MOST overall noises in my recollection 1980s Chevy Sprint 2 door 3 speed auto and 3cyl! Good fuel mileage though.
There are other GM cars I had experiences with just not thousands of miles for me to rank them.
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 09:17 AM
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I think all these replies are just a testament that you should really drive it. Even your previous experiences with other cars will shape your definition of "quiet". For example, before I got into PHEV (Volt), I was into nothing but performance cars. I owned (going recent to older) a 5th gen Corvette, 6th gen Corvette, two Dodge Challenger SRT's, Mustangs, Camaros, Trans Ams, and some family vehicles to supplement like a Yukon Denali, Acadia Denali, Cadillac Escalade, and even a few little road runners during the gas crisis like a Honda Civic Hybrid and new Beetle. All over many years.

But since the most recent cars before my move to electric were performance cars like the Vettes and Challengers, those made so much noise by design that there's no comparison. So once I went from those to electric drive, it was so quiet that I could never go back to the droning of an ICE engine and bumping of ICE transmissions no matter how "luxurious". The Volt seemed quiet at first due to the deletion of engine/exhaust noise but after a while the tire, wind and inverter noise got to me a bit and I'd consider the Volt very noisy. In comparison, the Bolt is very quiet with the majority of noticeable noise (for me) being tire noise which is inherent to high efficiency tires.

Bottom line: test drive it. Noise to some is music to others.

Mike
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