Ford uses Sony tech to turn the 2016 Explorer Platinum into a concert hall on wheels

With its capacious interior and multifunction seats, the Ford Explorer could almost serve as a living room on wheels. Now, it even has an audio system to match one.

In what the carmaker calls an industry first, the 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum will incorporate technology from Sony home audio systems.

The top Explorer model’s audio system will use Sony’s Live Acoustics and Clear Phase features. Ford says this is the first time they’ve been applied to an in-car system.

Live Acoustics uses an algorithm to tune the system to the acoustic qualities of a concert hall. Sony engineers went to actual concert halls in Amsterdam, Berlin, and Vienna with microphones to develop it.

This could be the perfect option for very lazy fans of classical music. The Explorer’s seats are probably more comfortable than the ones at the local concert hall anyway.

In further pursuit of that live-concert experience, Sony’s Clear Phase technology is designed to separate the sounds of individual instruments and vocals into different “zones.”

By manipulating the sound, Ford says this feature creates the impression of music being played on a stage that’s larger than the car itself, with different sounds appearing to come from different areas as if performers were arrayed in front of the listener.

The standard Explorer Platinum audio system includes 12 speakers in 10 specifically-chosen locations, for a maximum 500 watts.

Door woofers and tweeters were given special translucent covers to match the Platinum interior while preserving sound quality, Ford says, while the speaker coils are square – rather than the traditional rounded shape – for greater efficiency and heat dissipation.

The addition of the Platinum model is part of a mid-cycle refresh of the Explorer for the 2016 model year.

Other new features across the Explorer lineup include revised styling and a newly available 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder engine, which joins two carryover V6 engines.

The 2016 Ford Explorer goes on sale this summer. Pricing information for the Platinum and other models will be released closer to the on-sale date.

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