Consumer Reports’ Quietest Compact Cars Include These Affordable Cars

For many people, compact cars are popular as an affordable vehicle option, but they often trade comfort for efficiency. So, is it possible to get a quiet ride in an affordable compact car?

The team at Consumer Reports tested affordable compact cars and trimmed the list down to four recommended choices based on the amount of noise present inside while driving under a variety of conditions. 

The 2022 Volkswagen Jetta is one of the quietest compact cars

A side shot of a silver gray 2022 Volkswagen Jetta compact sedan parked by a rocky mountain cliffside
2022 Volkswagen Jetta | Volkswagen of America, Inc. Newspress Limited

According to Consumer Reports, prices for the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta range from $20,365 to $28,095, depending on trim level. The 2022 Jetta features a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder coupled with an eight-speed automatic transmission to deliver a quiet ride and up to 34 mpg combined highway and city driving. However, while the Consumer Reports team admired the VW Jetta’s quiet cabin, they found its ride and handling characteristics lackluster. 

The 2022 Subaru Impreza is a quiet model with all-wheel drive

The 2022 Subaru Impreza prices range from $19,295 to $26,895, depending on your trim selection. Featuring a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, a continuously variable transmission, and standard all-wheel drive (AWD), the 2022 Impreza achieves up to 30 mpg combined. Additionally, the 2022 Impreza also features a quiet cabin and ride comfort that “puts some luxury cars to shame.”

The 2022 Mazda3 is an affordable compact car with a quiet interior

With prices ranging from $21,150 to $34,750, the 2022 Mazda3 is the most expensive of the four compact cars on our list. While AWD is an option, the front-wheel-drive version features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with a six-speed automatic transmission to get up to 30 mpg combined. Consumer Reports notes that past versions of the Mazda3 exhibited sporty handling characteristics, but the 2022 model year is “a more mature offering with an elegant, quiet interior and a refined ride.”

The 2022 Nissan Sentra is quiet, affordable, and fuel-efficient

Prices range from $19,810 to $22,400 for the newly redesigned 2022 Nissan Sentra. Featuring a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable transmission, the 2022 Sentra achieves up to 32 mpg combined. Consumer Reports calls the 2022 Nissan Sentra updated design a “complete transformation compared with the previous model.”

What’s the big deal about a quiet ride?

Unless you’re only driving short distances and aren’t interested in conversing with passengers, listening to music, or other audio entertainment, you know how annoying wind, road, and engine noises inside your car genuinely are. 

High levels of external noise transmitted into the car’s interior serve as a distraction and reduce the driver’s and passenger’s ability to talk to one another or listen to music, podcasts, and GPS driving instructions. 

Additionally, the National Library of Medicine published a study entitled “The Effect of Low-Frequency Road Noise on Driver Sleepiness and Performance,” which noted some correlation between decreased driver performance and increased cabin noise originating from outside the vehicle. 

Putting science aside, simply having some peace and quiet during your commute to and from work or school is a great way to relax while you can. 

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