What Is the Quietest Car Sold?

Okay, I’m retiring this year. I want a car that is quiet inside - my first car was a '58 VW Beetle (never again); I’ve owned: Pinto, Cadillac, Crown Vic, Dodge Aires, Celebrity, '64 Chevy truck; currently, we own a '96 Bronco and a '99 Subie Impreza.

I’m looking to buy a car, $20K to $40K, that is quiet, with a comfy, nice interior and a soft ride. I want to be able to talk with my wife at 60 mph without shouting - and hear music - even soft music - at highway speeds.

BTW, drove my son’s Lexus LX: awesome. Drove my daughter’s BMW 3-series - nice inside, but we’re not 25 anymore so the “sporting” ride doesn’t appeal to my wife.

Any suggestions? (either US-made and/or import). We would prefer AWD (we live in snow country) and a car rather than a truck or SUV (I’m burned-out on trucks).


Lexus ES350 isn’t awd, but get a set of winter tires, you’ll be set.

MB S Class or Lexus LS. Michelin X-Ice for snow, Yokohama AVS for summer (very quiet). Tires are money better spent than AWD.


Take a couple of brand new Buick models for test drives. Buick puts extra focus on quiet cabin. To compare test drive a Ford Fusion. Pretty much any new mid size or larger car should be quiet, ie the Toyota Camry. If you need some hauling space there is the Toyota Venza which is based on the Camry so it is quiet and roomy.

Try any higher end sedan you can test drive(it would be nice if you could use it for a week so you could actually have a chance to notice all the quirks)-Kevin

Buick, Cadillac, Acura

In the sixties Ford had an ad campaign comparing their Galaxy models to Rolls Royces and high end Mercedes cars owned by European aristocrats. You guessed it, the Ford won.

Today, the Lexus LS400? is considerd to be the quietest and smoothest car on the road. Car magazines, who test it, criticize it for being “too civilized”, in other words, not enough “sporty” noises and bumpy rides.

The “most quiet for the money” lately have been full size Buicks, almost as quiet as the Lexus, but a lot less money.

Other quiet cars are Cadillacs, Series 7 BMW (very expensive to own), S Class Mercedes (unreliable and expensive to own), and the new semi-luxury Hyundai (forgot the name).

Compared to what you drive now, you’ll think you are in heaven with any of the above vehicles. My pick would be the Buick; a great car to retire with and not have to worry about noise or repairs.

I’d skip All Wheel Drive and invest in really good winter tires, such as Michelin X-ICE.

Happy shopping!

The sound system is important as well as the tires that come with the car in determining the perceived quietness of a car. Winter tires will make it noisier and some cars may do better than others sound wise with them.

At the risk of disagreeing with some of my cartalk buddies, if you can afford $40k for a car, you can get awd and winter tires. It’s not either/or and no one but you can determine your needs. If you live in snow country and want the freedom to drive at any time the potential safety of this feature is well worth it. If you’re retired and older, you’re less inclined to want the option of digging yourself out of a snowplow drift or wait for help in an emergency. I’m sorry, older people in snow ctry have a greater need for awd IMO.

Let me suggest you try a new 2010 legacy sedan awd 6 cyl. Roomy and as quiet as the Camry and efficient according to CR. You know what they’re like in snow.


Test drives are going to give you the most self-targeted real world information. But most high end vehicles are such because that is one area they invest the extra dollars in.
( rented a 2010 corrola last week and OMG the road noise on that thing ! )

And, on the high end suject, you’ll need MORE sound system to hear LESS volume better.

Yes, the top end sound systems being more powerful also have more and better speakers.
You get much much better LOW volume listening, ie better clarity with a Bose, JBL, and other factory top end systems which are specifcally tuned to the vehicle’s interior.

You will find these figures included with a quality review of the automobile. The noise level will be given in db and under various conditions (like accelerating).

Get a 1970 Ford LTD. Ford made the LTD quieter than the Rolls Royce. My 76 ws quiet and my 79 Thunderbird (overweight Granada) was quiet too. Ford did this on purpose. Quieter cars have high doors and small windows. You may have trouble resting your arm on the window frame. Some Subarus have thick doors and may be quiet cars.

Consumer Reports used to give the sound level at 60 mph measured in sones. The sone measurement is on a linear scale while the decibel scale is a logarithmic scale. However, Consumer Reports hasn’t given this statistic for at least 20 years. A sound at 30 db for some people may be very annoying while a sound at 50 db at another frequency wouldn’t be disturbing. I used to ride back and forth 50 miles to college on buses owned by a local company. These were the old Flxible (yes the spelling is correct) bodies on GM chassis and the engines were the straight eight engines that were used in the Buick Roadmasters of this time period. There was a high pitched sound that always bothered me and my ears would ring for a couple of hours after just riding the 50 miles. However, it didn’t seem to bother other passengers on the bus. We could certainly hold conversations without shouting.

I suggest you try out different cars in your price range at highway speeds. Quietness of a vehicle is very subjective. That may be why Consumer Reports no longer provides this statistic.

Buick is easily the quietest Detroit 3 car. They use safety glass in all windows to reduce road noise. They also designed the mirrors and other exterior hardware for low road noise. It and the Lexus are the two quietest brands available. Cadillac is a sport brand now so I’d avoid them. Well, you’d avoid them. I would be quite pleased to own a CTS or CTS-V; recently judged by C&D to be the finest car ever built in the USA. But you wouldn’t like it - too loud.

I believe that is either the Azera or Genesis. I tried out both sedan and coupe versions on the Genesis at last year’s auto show, and they were night and day compared to each other. The sedan was easier to get in and out of and the seats were more comfortable. The coupe had narrow seats and was uncomfortable for my larger frame

Test drive a Grand Marquis or a Town Car. Few can equal them for quiet and comfort. Better hurry, this is the last year for the last Body & Frame automobile…The Panther. R.I.P.

Car selection is a very highly subjective thing. Some like Buicks, some ilke Lexuses (Lexi?), some like Infinity, some like Lincolns. All are quiet in their 4-door sedan models, but they’re all completely different. And there are a dozen more.

I’d suggest getting a Conmsumer Reports New Car Preview at the local bookstore and test driving those that look good to you.

A Hearse is always very quiet! And has all of the requirements.
You could even rent it out on occasion. Har Har!

As a coming-full-circle sort of idea, and just to see how far they have come, you might try to find a VW Phaeton W12. They are supposed to be quiet enough to carry on a conversation at 100+ MPH. You’ll have to find it used because they only sold it in the US a couple of years, I think.

Agree; I would NEVER recommend a coupe to any retired person. Even if you are in good shape, your friends may not be and find it impossible to get into the back seat.

The new 2010 Subaru Legacy tested by CR is in your price range, awd, as quite as a Camry when not pushed (CVT makes it noisy on acceleration). I recommend it be on your try out list. BTW, a car with a good repair record in body integrety tends to quieter, longer.