How's this for a different kind of car comparison…


News World Edition
recently covered a survey of 25
top selling cars in the UK – and their horns.
Apparently, the sound of the beep is becoming an
important factor for shoppers when considering a
vehicle, and that auto manufacturers are paying more
attention to the relationship between a model's horn
and it's perceived personality.

The study, taken place at Cardiff
, was commisioned by Jamjar
, one of the UK's leading online car
retailers. The survey was led by Professor Theo Van
Leeuwen, an expert in the meaning of sound at the
University. The results of this survey are posted here,
along with MP3s of each horn tested, measurements of
loudness and somewhat vague “semiotic profiles”
explaining the character of each toot.

Of particular note on the sites are the photos of the
recording process – both show researchers poring over
a Cooper One. Of course, MINI is also represented in
this survey:

High pitched, but fairly soft, with little tension and
roughness. A laidback and nice sound, not overly
aggressive or tense.

Not too shabby.

While many of the other vehicles featured are not
available stateside, it's still interesting to see how
the cars stack up against each other, and where their
honks fall between “discreet” and “aggressive”.

And, if anything else, you can finally get that
recording of a MINI horn for your iPod!