Sedans with less road noise

One important feature I care in making car purchase decision is the noise during driving at high speeds. Could you suggest me a few sedans (Mazda3, Chevy Cruze etc) that you know that produces less noise on highway. Or, is there any specific car I should avoid due to being noisy? Thank you very much!

Avoid snow tires.

My wife “volunteered” my services to help a family friend shop for a new car. I always hate to advise people because at present we don’t own a conventional automobile–we have an SUV and a minivan. This friend owns a 1996 Taurus wagon and had a 1990 Honda Civic. After reading Consumer Reports, she was ready to purchase a new Honda Accord with the 4 cylinder engine and the CVT transmission. We did go for a test drive in the Accord. It has some kind of wave cancellation feature that cancels out road noise. The car was very quiet both in town driving and in highway driving. Part of our road test was to drive the car into her garage which is hard to maneuver since it is off a narrow alley. The Accord did fit, but we decided to test drive a new Honda Civic with the 5 speed automatic transmisison. The Civic had a little more road noise than the Accord, but it was acceptable. It also fit her garage better. She purchased the Civic. The Civic has much less road noise than her 1996 Taurus wagon. She is short and I think that the driving position for her is better with the Civic. She has had the car for a day and seems very happy about the purchase. I thought for a single person the Civic made more sense and the CVT transmission on the 4 cylinder Accord did concern me. She didn’t test any other cars because her mind was made up that she was going to buy a Honda.
However, the 4 cylinder Accord is very quiet and I would assume that the V-6 Accord even more quiet.
Years ago, I found the best way to make my 1961 Corvair seem to ride quietly was to drive the highway into town in my 1950 Chevrolet 1 ton pickup truck. If I wanted a quiet ride ride out of the Chevrolet pickup truck, I disked the field with the Farmall F-12 tractor. In other words, quietness is relative and subjective.

What’s your budget? Lexus is renouned for its quietude.

Seriously, your best bet is to test drive all those that look interesting to you. To get an idea how complex the question of sound is, take a gander at this definition of “sones”. Sones measurements are thought to be more accurate than decible level measurements.

If you have the courage and willingness to do a bit of labor, you can also significantly reduce the sound level in many modestly priced cars. I gutted everything from the B pillars back in my car and lined it with structural vibration damping material overlaid in many areas with sound insulating matting and both road noise and the sound that penetrates from the outside dropped dramatically. And I had fun doing it.

You’re going to have to test drive many to see if they meet your individual needs.
Sooo many variables reduce or allow road noise. One of the biggest that YOU can change after you own a car is the tires.
The other variables are built in to the car and the higher end cars are usually quieter because they invest in that technology…making it a higher priced car.

Everything from the suspension components to how the body panels are mounted can make a difference . Some brands even invest in body panel coatings and sound absorbing insulation.

Different cars within the same brand will be different too.
My 06 Escdape hybrid is very noisy compared to my 08 Expedition which is amazingly quiet and smooth riding.

Also keep in mind that the same car can have quite different levels of road noise depending on which tires are installed.

Although the models mentioned by the OP are those in the lower-priced range, he/she did not give us an indication of whether a new car or a used car is on the agenda. So…here are my thoughts on this issue:

Generally speaking the smaller, lower-priced cars will have smaller, higher-revving engines which tend to be noisy, and they will have less sound-deadening material added to stifle road noise. If the car has a CVT, the revving and engine noise may be more pronounced. If the budget allows, the larger models from the same companies (Mazda 6, Chevy Malibu) will be far quieter than their smaller stablemates.

Also, traditionally, Honda models have had more road noise than their competitors, despite being very good cars overall. However, the newest Civic and Accord models have been noted for being much quieter than Hondas of even one year ago.

So, if the OP is looking for a new car, he/she should look at Hondas as well as the aforementioned marques.

Noise can come from a number of different sources. Tyres, alignment, road surfaces etc. can all case this problem.

It is possible to do a lot of good, most of the time if you have a knowledgable shop. There are so many different possible sources I would not bother making any specific suggestions. If you want to try some DIY stuff, Take a look at a product, called Dyamat. It will not cost much and you can buy the stuff at a lot of different sources.

However without hearing the noise and having more experience than I have You can keep trying stuff until you are happy. Many auto parts stores have the stuff. But the best is a custom shop.

You also want to make sure that the noise is not a problem starting to fail. Again someone with experience is likely to be your best bet. There are many possible sources of the noise and using the right materials and design should help a lot.

Thanks for the all the input. My budget may not be as big as to afford Accord. I am thinking a Civic class car. I never thought tires would make that much difference. Once it is told, it sounds obvious to me though :slight_smile:

Pick out a couple of different cars and test drive them on the same day, on roads YOU choose. Noisy/rough roads in particular.

There are very few quiet cars in the compact and smaller range. To get decent sound suppression, a mid size car is a good choice. From my experience, a Ford Fusion, a Toyota Camry or Mazda 6 are good choices. The Chevrlot Malibu is quiet as well. Avoid Hondas; even the Accord is a relatively noisy car.

The most quiet for the money would be a used Chevy Impala; they go for $12,000 or so coming off lease, fully loaded. The Crown Victoria Ford used to fill that role, but there not many around anymore.

Also, any minivan or SUV is noisier than an equivalent mid or full size car.

If you decide you have the stuff to add your own sound reduction materials, post and I’ll offer the benefit of my limited experience.

Get rid of the spouse and/or kids.

Here’s a few and at attractive prices, too.

My wife and I took a test drive in a Chevy Cruze. It was quieter than many cars that I have driven. When one of our cars, a Cobalt, is finished, a Cruze is next or whatever Chevrolet calls their compact car at that time.

All good choices. Keep in mind that tires are very important in contributing to road noise. I would check out tests on Tire Rack for tires that might be standard on cars you are looking at. For example, if the tire is rated only fair in road noise but the car is quiet to you, it might indicate the car does a good job of suppressing tire noise. Either way, the tire noise rating on a car is important to know. I also agree with. @texases that it’s important to try out cars on different surfaces.

IF the inability to get rid of spouse and kids; Get louder spouse and kids to drown out road noise.

Buicks are pretty quiet and a lot depends on the tires. You can always put a different name plate on it so no one knows what it is.

Is right. You can add your own sound deadening material. But in doing so, you must be careful. For example, just throwing house insulation in the bottom of the spare tire bin or stuffed it in and around the storage compartment on the side where the inner fender liners are, could be effective temporarily but definitely would trap moisture and ad to your rust problems.

Take a note from the manufacturers and add closed cell foam to upper surfaces, ideally with clips so some air passage can be maintained. Using sound deadening sprays should also be done very carefully limited to only areas that don’t attract moisture with no possibility they could find their way to clog drain holes. I never favor their use on the outside as they too could easily trap moisture. Factory installed sprays are effective but even they could cause problems if damaged.

Bottom line, you can do it…just be careful not to substitute one problem for another.

Tires CAN help, but the car is ultimately the main factor.
My experience is that I bought a set of tires rated very good in terms of road noise for my old car(1999 Civic coupe), but when driving on the chip’n’seal pavement(where they spray a thin coat of tar, then cover the tar up with ground up stone rather than redo the whole road) the road noise was still deafening, and I tried to avoid those patches of road while driving.
My current car(2010 Mazda cx-7) has crappy factory tires on it and the road noise that comes in is barely noticeable when going over the same road surface