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Is there a quiet cabin to be had in a station wagon?

Even though station wagons are going out of style, that’s what would work best for my family? I have a child with sensory integration issues that can here me swallow while I’m driving my 2005 Mazda MPV and it is unbearable to her. And when noise is unbearable to her, the rest of the family better watch out! The reason for this incredible reaction? Children can be annoying? No, it’s the background noise level - so much white noise that any other sound sends her over the edge. This explains the nail marks in my steering wheel.

So, does anyone know if some agency measures and reports cabin noise? Can anyone recommend a station wagon, preferably used?

The Ford Flex, which has been on the market for a while is VERY QUIET. And it’s one of the roomiest station wagons ever made. Have a ride in one to convince yourself.

For those with acute hearing, I would recommend foam earplugs; I wear them all the time on long plane trips.

Not quite a wagon, but a Lexus RX330 would be quiet.

Have you tried putting Bose noise cancelling headphones on her when she is in the car? Perhaps as she listens to her favorite music, the Bose system will canel out the background noise and everyone can be happy. Cheaper than a new car and worth a try.

Mercedes E-Class, BMW 3/5 Series and Audi Avant “wagons” are all pretty quiet. As with any car, tires contribute a big part of road noise. I’ve found Yokohamas ride quieter than most other brands. It’s much cheaper to try quieter tires than buy a new car.


Thanks for the suggestion of these special earphones. We’ve tried earbuds, the typical foam padded headphones that come with walkman type players and circumaural headphones (full size headphones), but noise still gets through to her. Noise cancellation headphones might do the trick. Much cheaper than a new car! Thanks.

Bose headphones aren’t cheap, but they work. Your daughter has a unique situation, so they may or may not help her. Still worth a try.

The Bose headphones are far superior to any of the regular ear protection devices you can buy. They can cancel out an amazing amount of noise.

the around the ear design is $300, the ones I linked to go on the ear and are $350. Considering the higher end vehicle you’d have to buy to get a quieter interior, either is less than 1 car payment

GM tends to make the quietest cars IMO. I would look at their available models,

Make sure she tries the Bose headphones before you buy them. Bose ahs stor fronts; maybe there is one near you. The earphones use white noise to cancel out the background noise. If it annoys her, it may not be money well spent. OTOH, you or your husband can take turns wearing them if she starts screaming in the car.

Not white noise, they have microphones that listen to the ambient sound and have the speakers in the earpieces produces the same sound, reversed in phase, cancelling out the ambient noise. But yes, definitely try them out first.

Consumer Reports used to measure the noise inside the cabin of cars at 60 mph and also at a lower speed. They did the measurements in decibels and in sones. However, they haven’t done this measurement for quite a while.

I purchased a 2011 Toyota Sienna back in March. One of the reasons for selecting this minivan over the others is that it is quieter on the road. My wife really likes a quiet car. We once had a Ford Tempo and she thought it was too noisy. We swapped it for a Ford Taurus with the 3.8 liter V-6 which she thought was great. We inherited a Mercury Sable with the 3.0 V-6 and she didn’t care for the Sable because the engine was noisier than the Taurus engine.

Getting new tires can make a huge difference in terms of cabin noise.