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More research needed: What is the quietest mid-size or compact SUV?

I recently learned an important lesson: upgrading the sound system in a Honda CR-V is almost useless due to road, engine, tire, and wind noise. What vehicle, comparable to the CR-V, is the quietest? It seems like the different manufacturers are not consistently publishing cabin sound levels. I am running Michelin Defender tires on a 2012 CR-V, and had each speaker installation and the spare tire area lined with Dyna-Mat, but it does not seem to make a lot of difference. Recommendations please!

I gutted my car from the B-pillars back and lined every square inch with Dyna-Mat and fibrous sound insulating mats, closing off the passages between chambers, and it made a huge difference. It was fun, but a project of that magnitude isn’t for the meek. Me, I’m nutty enough to enjoy the adventure.

But I hear the new Bentley SUV is pretty quiet. :smile:

Sounds are personal, you’ll want to test drive the usual suspects (RAV4, Forester, CX-5, Escape, etc.).

Our Acura RDX is very quiet.

The Forester is quite noisy. Tire and wind noise.

If you are concerned about noise, why even bother with an SUV. There are regular cars that are very quiet; the new Impala and Malibu and even the new Corolla are very quiet cars. Very upscale SUVs are quiet, but you may not want to spend that kind of money.

I would first analyze if I really needed and SUV or do you own one because the neighbors do.

I used to drive a lot in my work and the standard body on frame full size cars were then the quietest. Today I would drive an Impala as having the most quiet for the money.

The Hondas I am used to (Accord ,Civic) have a lot of road noise in the cabin , strangely enough the Element seems to have less cabin noise then the cars, tire patterns make a difference .Generally speaking higher end vehicles are quieter.And most vehicles are quieter at lower speeds.

I found these to be interesting:

Good links.
One thing I’ve found is that many (perhaps most) shops don’t change the rubbery bits (spring mounts, shock mounts) when changing struts. They just change the damper. The rubbery bits are subject to constant loads of hundreds of pounds and shock loads far greater, and both on a regular basis. They do become hard, compressed, and deteriorate, and left unchanged they do transmit road vibration as well as impact shock.

One of the major differences between compact vehicles (sedans, coupes, or crossovers) and vehicles in a larger size class is the manufacturer’s attention to detail regarding noise, vibration, and harshness. Some small cars and small crossovers seem to have almost no sound insulation, and this makes for a very noisy vehicle.

If you step-up in size class–AND if you opt for a luxury model within a specific make–you usually wind up with much less noise, vibration, and harshness. As an example of this phenomenon, when I take my Outback Limited in for service and they give me a Forester or a Crosstrek as a loaner, the increased noise, vibration and harshness is extremely noticeable.

Similarly, my friend’s Rav-4 is significantly noisier inside than my Outback, and I recall that when I rode in a CR-V, that was the noisiest of the lot. In my experience, the smaller Hondas tend to transmit a lot of road noise into the vehicle’s interior.

You WILL also find that the very SAME vehicle ( name ) . . in different trim levels . . will have very different residual sound levels.
plus . . Change the tires . . change the sound.
My massive 08 Ford Expedition EL is the quietest I’ve ever had.
The 06 Escape hybrid is noisy, as is the 79 Chevy pickup.
The 92 Explorer was very good too and had a JBL factory sound system.

“You WILL also find that the very SAME vehicle ( name ) . . in different trim levels . . will have very different residual sound levels.”

That is what I was trying to say above when I stated, “if you opt for a luxury model within a specific make–you usually wind up with much less noise, vibration, and harshness”.

As an example, my '02 Outback came with a McIntosh sound system that was…fantastic. The McIntosh audio engineers specified a much higher level of sound-deadening insulation in that model than in all other Outback models of that model year, and it made a huge difference in the amount of road noise that intruded into the car’s interior.

I will have to say though that my little Pontiac G6 is also very quiet on the road and with the seats folded down can handle an 8 foot 2x4 and still close the trunk. The main difference in it and a crossover is the limitation with the trunk opening.

Tesla Model X. You can’t hear the engine at all! :wink:

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Toyota and the other Arm… Lexus are well known near silent vehicles… Almost too quiet. Same for Ininiti and Nissan…but a little less so… Nissan enjoys their engine sounds and some have semi aggressive tires for performance, but not too bad at all.

I stick to my first comment…Toyota and Lexus. Unless you prefer Rolls Royce…those are eerily quiet


We had a 2011 CRV and road noise was one of the reasons we got rid of it. The RAV4 is a bit better. We now have a Hyundai Tucson, one of the mid-range trims and it is probably better than the RAV, but if you move to a Highlander, then you have a quiet ride.

Rode in a friends Taurus SUV(OR WHATEVER ) wasnt very noisy .

“Toyota…well known near silent vehicles”

On the basis of my experience with my friend’s Rav-4, I am going to disagree.
Perhaps Camrys and Highlanders have good sound-deadening insulation, but Rav-4s?
Definitely NOT!

On a day with torrential rain coming down, if I go from my Outback Limited to my friend’s Rav-4 Limited, the difference is…pronounced. The rain hitting the roof in my car causes only a slight bit of background noise, while the effect in the Rav is like sitting in a tin-roofed hut, and the difference is disturbingly different.

Of course, these two vehicles are in different categories when it comes to price and size, which helps to buttress my belief that cheaper vehicles tend to have more of a noise…problem…than more expensive vehicles.

I never wanted to make my friend feel bad about the relative lack of sound-deadening insulation in his Rav, but he was the one who said something to the effect of, Why is your Outback so quiet, while the noise of the rain hitting the roof of my car is almost deafening?

He was actually very critical of the–obvious–lack of sound-deadening insulation in the roof of his Rav.

Buick also has a reputation for quiet ride, even quieter than Lexus in some cases.

Unless you are willing to drive a truck, it will be hard to find a vehicle with body on frame construction. If you go to the bottom of the URL below, there is a list of 2016 body on frame trucks.

Daughter’s new Kia Sorento is very nice.