Sunday, June 28, 2015

2015 Mazda 3 Basic Infotainment System Review

Mazda 3 Infotainment System

So this last week I had a chance to drive a new 2015 Mazda 3 rental because I had to go out of town for work.  I became pretty familiar with the infotainment system features because I drove a total of 10 hours just getting to my destination and back. I own a 2014 Hyundai Veloster and I like many of the features my car has to offer. One of the top features is the infotainment system, or what most people would call the radio. I'll go over what I like about mine in another post.

The Mazda 3 was one of the cars I looked at purchasing when I was in the market for a new car. One of the things I liked was the infotainment center. When you are buying a car you really don't get a chance to play with the radios (we'll just call it that from here own out), so this was my chance to really play with it. The first thing I did was take my USB Stick that's in my Veloster and plug it in the Mazda 3.

Mazda's radio operation is a little different than most other cars (except for a few new ones). You have the display unit (non touchscreen in this car, touch screen is an option in others) on the dash and 2 knobs right in front of the cup holders, right behind the shifter.  The larger knob is for selections and the smaller one on the right is for the volume and mute controls. It takes a little bit of time to get use to this. You have volume and other buttons on the steering wheel as well. I caught myself using the center console knobs to make selections and change the volume instead of the buttons on the steering wheel.

Mazda 3 USB Music

The Mazda's radio did have a few more apps than my Hyundai Veloster. It had Pandora, Aha and Stitcher as well as some other built in programs such as the HD Radio Traffic and Fuel Economy Monitor. The Mazda 3 I had for a rental didn't come with the XM radio option or navigation (that's why you see the GPS unit in the picture), which was a bummer, but luckily it did have USB music playback capabilities (checkout my other post for more on USB playback in the car.) I mostly used the USB music and Fuel Economy Monitor.

The sound system didn't sound as nice as my Veloster, but was just fine. Some of the features the Mazda 3 had that I liked were the Playlist and "More Like This" features. The More Like This is what I used the most. Basically you select that option and it plays similar music. The HD Radio Traffic was pretty pointless, it showed the traffic on a map but didn't show your location. So I take it you're just suppose to guess where you're at. I liked the Fuel Economy Monitor. It showed a graph of the last 60 minutes and the average of the current drive. I'm not sure what the bottom graph was for, may average per take fill-up?

-Easy to Navigate
-HD Radio
-USB Music
-Lots of apps
-Fuel Economy Monitor

-Glare off the top of the bezel
-HD Traffic Map is useless

I'll go over a few other things I didn't like about the Mazda 3. The instrument cluster is very small. There were too many buttons that seem not to be well placed. For example you had an info button, but that was just for switching through the mpgs (not the radio portion), average mph, and miles until empty. Then you had another small old school knob for selecting and resetting your trip. Turn that same knob and your gauges dim. The buttons on the steering wheel seemed cheap as well. I didn't care for the gloss accents that seemed to be placed where they would scratch easily (around the shifter and door controls.) The car got great mileage, I saw 41 mpg on the long trip. The seats were a little hard and not too comfortable for the long trip.

Mazda 3 Instrument Cluster

Overall the infotainment system, or radio, seemed pretty easy to use and didn't take long to get use to.  I definitely like it better than Ford's and it has a few more features than mine. For the few negatives the Mazda 3 was still a great car and I think most people would be satisfied with it. Any experiences with infotainment systems? Ones you like or don't like? Let me know in the comments!


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