Whether you love chatting to your fellow passengers, enjoy listening to audiobooks or simply appreciate the sound of silence, whisper-quiet cars are a pleasure to drive. Keeping cabin noise to a minimum isn’t just about not having to raise your voice when talking to someone in the back seat, or struggling to hear your Google Maps directions. Quiet cars minimise stress levels and help you stay focused as you drive. Noise-free cabins are also a sign of thoughtful, well-constructed cars that prioritise the passenger experience, as well as performance.
How do experts determine the best quiet cars to drive? A scale called low noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) is used to rate cars and determine how quiet they are. Minimising these three factors is key when it comes to a smooth, noise-free ride.
Ready to find out more about the top quiet cars to drive? Read on as we spotlight the best quiet cars on the market. Designed to make your experience as relaxing and comfortable as possible, these models will impress you with their Zen interiors.
Mini Cooper Hatchback
An ultra-refined engine ensures the Mini Cooper Hatchback is amazingly quiet. Vibrations are minimal, which means you won’t feel much in the way of steering wheel or pedal tremors. Unless you really put your foot down, a muted hum is all you’ll hear on the road. Opt for 15 or 16 inch wheels and you’ll barely notice any wind noise. If you do upgrade to larger wheels, it’s worth investing in Variable Damper Control to keep noise levels down.
The best-selling Ford Focus is a top performer when it comes to NVH levels. Despite its compact size, this model promises a smooth and quiet ride. Excellent suspension keeps the cabin serene, while tyre noise is modest even at high speeds. Upgrade to multi-link rear suspension for an even quieter experience.
Looking for quiet cars to drive? Nothing compares to all-electric motors when it comes to a noise-free ride. Of all the EVs available on the British market, the Volkswagen e-Golf is one of the quietest. Yes, some other quiet cars perform better in terms of wind noise. But the e-Golf offers incredible performance when it comes to supressed road noise. If you’re looking for a compact city car that runs like a dream on the motorway, you’ll love the e-Golf.
BMW 5 Series Saloon
Even at high speeds, the BMW 5 Series Saloon makes light work of road and wind noise. No surprise really, seeing as it’s designed to cruise along German Autobahns, where speed limits are optional. Of course, NVH levels depend on what’s under the hood. The 540i petrol engine is the quietest option, while the six-cylinder 530d is a little louder but more powerful. Even the diesel-powered 520d model is quiet as a mouse. For the ultimate library-quiet experience, you can’t look past the plug-in hybrid BMW 530e iPerformance. Enjoy the soft whir of an electric motor and switch to the 2.0-litre petrol engine when the battery is low.
Range Rover Velar
Despite being powered by a beefy V6 petrol engine, the Range Rover Velar is surprisingly quiet. It’s practically silent when the engine is revving low, with noise increasing ever-so-slightly as you gain speed. This makes it one of the best quiet cars on British roads.
Audi A4 Saloon
A plush interior helps keep NVH levels to a minimum in the Audi A4 Saloon. There’s hardly any vibration in the cabin, despite a powerful engine under the hood. This makes it ideal for long journeys where comfort is a priority. The Audi Q5 midsize SUV is another top-performer when it comes to NVH levels. Acoustic glazing actively dampens wind noise, even when travelling at high speeds.
If you’re looking for luxury models with excellent NVH levels, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class delivers. Settle into the plush cabin and watch the scenery whiz by with zero distractions from road and wind noise. You don’t need to compromise with the S350d diesel model. This quiet car is just as discreet. Sporty models offer a little more oomph but keep noise to a minimum, especially if you switch into Comfort mode.
Tesla Model S
Of all the Tesla models available, the Model S is one of the quietest. It’s mostly thanks to the all-electric engine, which purrs rather than roars. According to a recent behind-the-scenes video released by Tesla, revolutionary ‘Tesla Glass’ technology is the secret to its whisper-quiet cabins. The product is manufactured at the glass technology centre in Los Angeles and features a double-pane design with an internal dampening acoustic layer. As well as stifling outside noise, the glass protects passengers from harsh UV rays and comes with all the expected safety credentials.
Of course, the Model S isn’t the only option when it comes to Tesla. No matter what model you drive, expect very little in the way of noise and vibration. Some light whirring and a few beeps here and there are all you’ll hear when you’re behind the wheel of a Tesla.
The Toyota Prius is a British bestseller for a reason. As well as being one of the best-value mid-size hybrids on the market, the family-friendly car is incredibly quiet. They’re no longer offered new on the British market however you can snap up some amazing deals on second-hand models.
Securing car finance for quiet cars
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