A few months ago, we did a long-term update that went into some of the features of our Mazda3's Mazda Connect system. As we spend more time with the car, we've had the fun of discovering a few tricks Mazda programmed in.

The Touch Screen is Your Friend

Mazda Connect makes it easy to safely juggle phone, navigation and music needs while driving. The main way to use it is through the big click wheel on the center console, but one of the pleasant features Mazda built in was allowing control through the touch screen. Tip: When using navigation, you can use your index finger on the touch screen to see a different part of the map. Unfortunately, though, there is no real-time traffic available.

Another spot where the touch screen comes in handy is when using the manual tune feature. The click knob allows you to scroll very easily, but if you want to go from 89.3 to 107.1, for example, it can take a while and that action can take your eyes off the road. Tip: Use your finger on the touch screen to quickly get to the new station you want to hear.

Playing Favorites

When going through the different menus within Mazda Connect, there isn't a clear area where your preset radio stations can be stored. Other systems may show numbers along the side of the screen, indicating presets, but Mazda's system is a bit different. There are a few hard buttons that surround the click wheel. The one on the right has a star on it. You can use this to program radio stations. Tip: You can also use this method to save favorite phone numbers, plus favorite spots to travel to on a regular basis (such as your home).

For 2015 models, Mazda Connect comes standard on all models except the base i SV sedan. You can get a Mazda3 with Mazda Connect for $19,265, and navigation comes with the Grand Touring level and higher, or $23,565. That's a low cost of admission for one of the best connectivity systems out there.

See past reports for our Long-Term 2015 Mazda3...


Long-Term Update: Utility Closet

Long-Term Update: Navigating Mazda Connect

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