The best quiet cars

Like a bit of peace and quiet in your life? Check out the best quiet cars from affordable electric hatchbacks to lavish luxury cars

James Wilson
Dec 15, 2021

The best quiet cars can make longer journeys less arduous, sitting in traffic less stressful and even waft babies to sleep in the back seat, with no noise from under the bonnet to wake them up. So whatever reason you want a quiet car, keep reading to find the best quiet car for you.

Do you solely want it to be quiet on the inside or are you wanting the hush-hush vibe to continue outside the car? If you are someone who leaves the house early and doesn’t want to wake the whole neighbourhood, you probably don’t want a sports exhaust flaring up at 5:30am. There are also cars that are quiet both inside and out.

Some cars are particularly well suited to being quiet in certain situations. Many electric cars turn manic town driving into a peaceful affair, while big luxurious saloons such as the Mercedes S-Class are so quiet on the motorway they can make you wonder if they are actually on.

To achieve impressive levels of quietness, there are a number of noise-reducing techniques that car manufacturers can use. For keeping the cabin quiet; sound-deadening insulation, double glazed windows and even noise-canceling speakers can all be deployed. As for outside, the exhaust system of a car has a huge part to play. Suitably muffling exhaust silencers are key to keeping noise levels down.

Below we've rounded up a variety of quiet cars. They include a luxurious SUV and saloon, an affordable family-sized hatchback and a smattering of electric cars. In general, they can all be bought or financed second-hand, with plenty of great examples available through BuyaCar right now.

Prices typically range from £20,000 to £50,000 - which equates to approximately £300* to £750* per month on PCP finance - depending on the car's age, although most are in the lower half of this range.

Quiet cars

1. Mini Electric

Used deals Limited stock

Mini started selling a battery-powered version of the three-door Mini Hatchback in 2020 and in the process made one of the most fun electric cars available. There is only one battery option and it is rated at 32.6kWh, which translates to a modest range of 145 miles per charge, although in reality you're likely to achieve less than this. This range is a little on the low side for an electric car and means that the Mini is best suited to those who predominantly drive around town or mostly cover only shorter journeys.

One of the best parts of any electric car is how quiet they are and the Mini is no exception. Even if you make the most of its power - which the Mini encourages you to do - there's no roar from under the bonnet as with a petrol or diesel model. Particularly on faster 50mph and 60mph roads out of town, the Mini is great fun to drive.

READ MORE ABOUT THE MINI ELECTRIC

2. Mercedes A-Class

Used deals from £31,280
Monthly finance from £444*

There is one particular A-Class that stands as a great quiet car and that is the A250e. This is the plug-in hybrid version of the A-Class which comes with a petrol engine and a battery pack that powers an electric motor. Official figures suggest up to 44 miles from a single charge should be possible, although like all electric and plug-in hybrid cars, you're likely to achieve less on real roads with traffic. Even so, there should be enough charge for the majority of commutes to be undertaken without burning a drop of fuel - provided you charge up the batteries at home.

A250e models look identical to their petrol and diesel counterparts, although there are a few subtle differences if you know where to look. There are two fuel filler caps - located on opposite sides of the car - one for petrol and one for charging, for instance. The A250e variants are available with 'MBUX' - which is Mercedes-speak for one of the best media and driver information systems available. It revolves around two digital displays on the dashboard - one for the media system and one in place of conventional dials - and includes very effective voice controls.

MERCEDES A-CLASS BUYERS' GUIDE
READ MORE ABOUT THE MERCEDES A250e

3. BMW 5 Series

Used deals from £13,507
Monthly finance from £385*

If you could only have one car for your entire life, the BMW 5 Series would be a great option. This is because it offers an awful lot. We don’t just mean it has good levels of equipment, which it does. It looks and feels like a premium product, there is plenty of performance on offer - even from the fuel-efficient 520d diesel versions - the cabin is spacious, it is great to drive and the cabin is particularly quiet when cruising along the motorway.

There is also a plug-in hybrid 5 Series, called the 530e. This is not only quiet on the inside but on the outside, too, especially when driving under battery power alone. If you like the sound of a plug-in model, BMW revised the 530e for 2019 and, as a result, boosted its claimed range from a full charge, which went up to 41 miles from 29 miles - so it's worth looking for a later model. Also, there are estate versions of the 5 Series and these are great for those with large dogs or other bulky things to transport, as the large boot is long and tall.

BMW 5 SERIES BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Hyundai Kona Electric

Used deals Limited stock

Considering its range, refinement and performance, the Hyundai Kona Electric is one of the electric car bargains of the century. Better still, you get Hyundai’s five-year unlimited mileage warranty. This surpasses the warranties provided by the likes of Volkswagen and Audi, so even models up to four years old come with a reasonable chunk of manufacturer warranty, which should ensure plenty of worry-free miles ahead of you.

On the quiet front, the Kona performs well on slower urban roads and on faster rural roads. As for standard equipment, Hyundai hasn’t held back, with features such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and a seven-inch touchscreen media system included on all models.

Kia has put a lot of thought into user-friendliness, with one great feature being that the driver can set how much regenerative braking they want to get when they lift off the accelerator. This increases the speed at which the car slows down when you ease off the throttle; the higher the level, the more charge is added back to the battery and the less you have to use the brake pedal.

HYUNDAI KONA ELECTRIC BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Range Rover

Used deals from £27,490
Monthly finance from £1,206*

If you want your quiet car to be wrapped up with a huge amount of opulence, then the Range Rover is the way to go. It doesn’t matter if you are crawling through the streets of London, whizzing down a motorway or climbing up a muddy hillside, the Range Rover promises to be a quiet car. That last one is really important, as although there are many luxury cars out there - such as the Mercedes S-Class and Audi A8 - few come anywhere close to the off-road ability of a Range Rover.

If you want a quiet car to be driven in, rather than to drive, there are long-wheelbase (LWB) Range Rovers, too, with even more space in the back. Although no Range Rover will be cheap to run, the diesel models are the way to go unless you are okay with sky-high fuel bills. There is a plug-in hybrid model but there is no escaping the fact that the Range Rover is a big, heavy SUV so unless you charge it regularly and stick to town speeds, don't expect particularly low fuel bills.

RANGE ROVER BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Ford Focus

Used deals from £11,950
Monthly finance from £248*

The Ford Focus is a refined car - especially versions with Ford’s clever noise control system fitted. This works much like noise-cancelling headphones, where microphones monitor the sounds around you and then the speakers play sounds to cancel them out. If you are already listening to music, it won’t affect your tunes. Clever stuff, although there is a catch; the tech isn’t available across the range, so you will need to go for the upmarket and more expensive Vignale trim.

While Vignale models are expensive when new, they are particularly good value when used, as high-end models often lose value faster than more common mid-range versions. Shop for a second-hand model and you can enjoy the plus points of a Focus Vignale, such as more equipment than you can shake a stick at - including a heated steering wheel, head-up display and extra sound deadening to make the Focus quieter still - without the lofty purchase price.

FORD FOCUS BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Mercedes S-Class

Used deals from £18,000
Monthly finance from £653*

Despite there being a newer version of the S-Class, we recommend the previous version as a supremely high quality, quiet car. The only models we'd avoid on noise grounds are the supremely rapid - and much louder - S63 and S65 versions. Mercedes made the old S-Class between 2014 and 2020 although there was an update in 2017, bringing a handful of subtle improvements, such as updated styling. The revisions are nice to have, but they don’t change the fundamentals of what makes the S-Class great, so you can go for an older version to save yourself money without missing out on much.

The greatness lies in superb build quality, refinement and technology. In terms of tech, this generation of S-Class premiered something Mercedes calls ‘Magic Body Control’. This system uses cameras to scan the road for bumps and potholes ahead so the car can automatically adjust its suspension settings to minimise the impact felt by those in the cabin. Further adding to the smooth and quiet driving experience is the standard-fit automatic gearbox, which almost seamlessly shifts between gears.

MERCEDES S-CLASS BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf exterior view

Used deals from £9,995
Monthly finance from £0*

Last but not Leaf we have the Nissan Leaf. Nissan was well ahead of the curve when it branched out into electric cars. Consequently, a second-generation Leaf has been around for several years, even though many manufacturers are only now bringing out their first electric cars. Nissan’s head start shows, as the Leaf is a very well thought out electric vehicle (EV). One example of this is the handy ‘e-pedal’ feature.

E-pedal works by increasing the amount of 'regenerative braking' that occurs when the driver lifts off the throttle pedal - increase this and the car slows more quickly, adding more charge back to the battery than it would otherwise do. Up the regenerative level and e-pedal means it is possible to only use one pedal to both accelerate and slow down, as quickly lifting off the throttle causes the car to lose speed quickly enough for all but emergency braking.

Commonly now referred to as ‘one-pedal’ driving, this type of feature has become increasingly prevalent in electric cars. Even so, Nissan was one of the pioneers. One final thing to bear in mind; all Nissan Leafs are equally quiet, but those with the longest range are badged as ‘Leaf e+’ and they have an official range of up to 239 miles per charge, which isn’t as good as models such as the VW ID.3, but is still more than enough for many drivers.

2010 NISSAN LEAF BUYERS' GUIDE
2018 NISSAN LEAF BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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