The sound of silence is normally a prized commodity inside a car cabin. But not when there's a satisfying growl from something lean, mean and not so green under the hood.
Or if, as in Toyota's case, you want to burnish the street cred of a product that's trying to break out of its mold for being a staid and steady choice of the over-60 set.
That's a big reason Toyota is expanding its use of a technology that pumps its engine sound directly into the cockpit for an extra adrenaline boost. Toyota calls it an intake sound generator, or ISG, and the component makes its latest appearance in the 2019 Avalon sedan.
Such growls previously were reserved for high-performance models, such as Lexus entries. But Toyota is taking it mainstream as the brand races to shed its reputation for ho-hum rides.
The automaker believes the system — combined with exhaust baffle tuning, active noise control and engine sound enhancement — complements the Avalon's "thrilling drive personality."
Other luxury and performance brands have supplemented their engine sounds but typically go heavy on digital enhancement. Toyota's approach goes more natural.
In Lexus models, the system amplifies air intake by pumping it from the intake manifold through a diaphragm and a tube that's aimed at the firewall separating the cabin from the engine bay. It's not filtered electronically through a speaker.
"ISG amplifies the engine's air inhalation sound to create robust vocalization and, on the exhalation end, the all-new exhaust with baffle tuning ups the sound character at startup, idle and acceleration," Toyota says. "Avalon's refined acoustic repertoire spans inside and out."