Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
John asks: Please suggest a car with a quiet ride, in the $35k range. Several times monthly my wife and I drive up the New Jersey Turnpike to NYC in our Honda CRV. At highway speed, (75) the road noise interferes with conversation and music. At our stage of life neither 4WD nor cargo space is necessary.
Thanks, Eric. I appreciate your knowledge and your worldview.
My reply: Your CRV, like most crossovers, rides higher off the ground than a standard passenger car and this (along with the kinds of tires that are frequently fitted to crossovers and SUVs) often results in higher passenger compartment noise, especially at highway speeds. The problem is magnified if – as is the case with your CRV – the drivetrain is also noisier than usual. A fairly heavy, not very aerodynamic vehicle with a smallish four cylinder engine paired with a continuously variable (CVT) transmission will often be operating at fairly high RPM at 75 MPH – and that increases engine as well as exhaust noise. Compounding this, CVT transmissions are often more noisy than conventional automatics; some produce a turbine-like low whine.
So, my first general recommendation would be to shop for a passenger car (sedan or hatchback) rather than a crossover or SUV. I’d specifically recommend a mid-sized or even full-size sedan oriented toward luxury and comfort and when I enter those two criteria into my head, two cars immediately stand out:
The Toyota Avalon, which is a slightly larger version of the Toyota Camry (and basically the same car as the thoroughly pleasant Lexus ES350) and the Chrysler 300. Both come with strong V6s standard (a V8 is available in the 300, but by no means a necessary upgrade) have exceptionally comfortable and quiet cabins. The Hyundai Sonata is also very nice and worth a look.
I would steer clear of any car that touts “sportiness” as that usually means noisier – and even with cars like the Avalon and 300, be sure to test drive a version with the standard wheel/tire package and not the optional wheel/tire package, which usually means a shorter sidewall tire and that almost always means a harsher ride and more road noise making its way into the cabin.
The VW Passat and even the Jetta are worth a test drive as well.
Hope this is helpful – and keep us posted!
. . .
Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
If you like what you’ve found here please consider supporting EPautos.
PS: Get an EPautos magnet (pictured below) in return for a $20 or more one-time donation or a $10 or more monthly recurring donation. (Please be sure to tell us you want a sticker – and also, provide an address, so we know where to mail the thing!)
My latest eBook is also available for your favorite price – free! Click here.