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QUIET car with acceptable MPG

What are my best options for a high MPG vehicle with quieter than average wind and road noise? My trusty rusty LeSabre is on its way to the recyclers and I need to find a replacement. Make no mistake, I eventually came to really liked this car. It was comfortable for my large frame and was wonderfully quiet at highway speeds. With that being said, It was just simply bigger than I ever really needed. If it hadn’t been so cheap and with a known service history when I last needed a car I doubt I would have bought it. It’s been months since I had to put anyone in the back seat and I wouldn’t mind trading nearly useless space for better fuel mileage.

I could live with 25 MPG but would be happier with 30+. As a general rule I prefer wagon or hatchback over a sedan but this is clearly not a deal breaker. I’ve budgeted for a purchase price of about 12K but could go higher for the right vehicle.


A hybrid electric is pretty quiet . . . I would also guess that they are aerodynamically “clean” and therefore pretty quiet, very little wind noise. I’m talking like . . . Prius, Civic hybrid and that type. You said you don’t really need a back seat and you want a hatchback . . . aren’t the Tojo’s electric a hatch? You large frame? Go sit in one, see how it fits you. Rocketman

For 12k a newish hybrid is out of the question. A used Volvo V70 might be an option though, my stepfather swears by them, routinely gets 25-30 MPG on the highway and is an “ample” gentleman. He got 274,000 miles out of his last one. And is about 120k deep into his current one.

You should at least drive a Crown Vic or a Grand Marq…Then you will have a standard by which to judge all the others. These cars get 25-28 on the highway, 17 around town…

I’d find a list of cars you’re interested in based on other factors and start test driving. Noise can be a subjective measure because some types of noise bother some people more than others, so the raw dB count sometimes included with car reviews may not be the most relevant number. Heck, if the thing you were driving was ready for the scrapyard, maybe ANY newer car will sound better!

I hesitate somewhat to recommend this because of VW’s hit-or-miss reliability, but the new VW Rabbit (or Golf if you’re looking a little older) might be exactly what you’re looking for. For the money, they’re really high quality cars in terms of build quality and styling, there’s just those nagging mechanical and electrical problems that only seem to show up on some cars.

My Honda Accord is nice and quiet. With a V6 it gets 30 to 31 MPG on the highway, a 4 would probably do a bit better, and the older ones that you’d be looking at are smaller.

You might find a nice used Infiniti. I get the feeling Nissan tried to make those quiet, and the brand isn’t so popular so you might find a nice one for your price.

You should be able to find a nice 2002 or so Lexus ES300 for that price, 20+ mpg city 25+ mpg highway.

I found a few DOZEN on (on this cartalk website) for 12k or less. Not my choice of car, but should be in the running, IMO. Rocketman

You could drop down one platform form size to a W platform, and stick with Buick, Examples being a LaCrosse, Regal, etc.
Chevy’s Impala is also a W platform.

The Buick Lacrosse is about the quietest car on the road, and it will get around 28 MPG on the highway with the V6. The Accord doesn’t come close. In 2005 my choice was the Lacrosse or the Accord. I drove them both. The only car that rivals Buick for low noise is Lexus. BTW, I bought the Accord. Low noise was not my top priority.

I have acquired a new to me 05 Camry. It is pretty darn quiet inside. I would say on the verge of being too quiet and boring. Gas mileage is good and you should be able to get one of the same model in that price range. It might have 50KM on it. Mine cost me more 3 months ago but has fewer miles. The interior is pretty roomy too, probably the size of the older Avalon I would say.

The Impala doesn’t use safety glass in all windows but the Lacrosse does. This feature was new to the Lacrosse; Regals never got it. The safety glass is one of the prime reasons that the Lacrosse is so quiet.

My 06 Sonata is the quietest car I have ever been in. This includes some luxury cars and lots of Japanese cookie-cutters.

Or, step up one platform in size and get a used Toyota Avalon. These come in four trim levels

  1. XL = base, some have leather
  2. Touring = all have black leather
  3. XLS = near top of the line with leather, wood trim, sound proofing, keyless.
  4. Limited = top of line, newer ones usually include navigation.

In the used car market value predictors, the values climb about $1K per model.
A 2005 for example might be XL $14,000, Touring $15K and so on (all other things equal).

Rated at 22 city and 31 hyway.

Another nice choice is Acura TL, similar pricing, smaller interior, more sporty, similar MPG.

I would think that either of these cars would win in owner satisfaction over the long haul over most competing cars, if this is the form factor you like.

You did not say your driving patterns. However, it is implied you do considerable highway driving.

I am not an expert on Buick Le Sabres, but in 1998, we got tail-ended in Austin on our way to the Midwest. We found a Le Sabre rental at a really good price, and realized later the rental company probably gave us a good price because Winter Texans were renting cars to drive south for the winter, with stored cars waiting for them, so there was probably a surplus of cars south and they needed them moved north.

Anyway, we drove 70mph for well over 1,000 miles, and got well over 30 mpg. I thought I had lost my mind, but upon investigating, discovered that was to be expected on that model. Unbelievable.

Of course, if you drive a lot around town, I assume the equation changes drastically.