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For many drivers, compact cars are popular as a cheap vehicle option, but they often trade comfort for efficiency. So, is it possible to get a quiet ride in an affordable compact car? Here’s a look at four compact vehicles that have the least amount of road noise present while also coming with affordable price tags.

The 2022 Volkswagen Jetta is one of the quietest compact cars

A silver-gray 2022 Volkswagen Jetta compact sedan model driving on a highway surrounded by a forest of yellow trees
2022 Volkswagen Jetta | Volkswagen of America, Inc. Newspress Limited

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, the compact sedan does suffer in some reviews due to lackluster handling.

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

According to TorqueNews, another quiet compact is the 2022 Subaru Impreza. The model’s 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 serene cabin and ride comfort that rivals some luxury cars.

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 this 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. Past versions of the Mazda3 exhibited sporty handling characteristics, but the 2022 model year is more straightforward, sacrificing excitement for maturity and elegance.

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

Prices range from $19,810 to $22,400 for the 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. Car and Driver highlights the handsome and comfy looks of the Sentra, inside and out, though it does find fault with the model’s lackluster performance.

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 the wind, road, and engine noises inside your car are. High levels of external noise transmitted into the car’s interior distract 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. However, even putting science aside, simply having peace and quiet during your commute to and from work or school is a great way to relax. 

Related KBB’s List of the Best Compact Cars of 2022 Offers Plenty of Choices

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