20 Quietest Cars

2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
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Silence Is Golden

Minimizing noise, vibration, and harshness, often referred to as NVH, has been a long-standing goal of automakers. A quiet car makes any trip, especially a long one, more enjoyable and less fatiguing. It also helps sell cars, since silence on a test drive is deemed to be a sign of quality.

To keep noise from the road, wind, and engine away from passengers, engineers do battle on many fronts. They start with a wind-cheating body shape, which does wonders for noise abatement and fuel economy. They then attempt to isolate the suspension and engine, using mounts that minimize noise transfer. Next, they seal cracks, using tapes, sprays, and double or even triple seals around the doors. Even the tire tread design is scrutinized.

Acoustic glass and fiber insulation are also employed and, for a final touch, some cars even use active noise abatement, which means the audio system is used to cancel noise to create a quieter car. It listens for unwanted noise, then generates a comparable sound that is 180 degrees out of phase, which effectively cancels most, if not all, of the unwanted sound.

The following slides highlight 20 of the quieter cars and SUVs available today. Most are luxury vehicles, but there are some surprisingly quiet models that will not break the bank.

Remember as you review these quiet cars that the scores on our site are updated constantly as new expert reviews and data become available. Therefore, the scores and rankings mentioned in this slideshow may not match the latest information in our reviews.