2015 Mazda3 Long-Term Update: Navigating Mazda Connect
Mazda's new navigation/entertainment system, called Mazda Connect, is fairly intuitive. Connecting a phone via Bluetooth takes seconds, and using the main dial, located between the gearshift and cup holders, doesn't take long to learn. There are a few hard buttons around the dial, and you can use most controls with an easy turn-and-click function that won't force you to take your eyes off the road. For people who do not like the dial, some features can also be used by touching the nav screen itself.
As easy as the system is to use, there are some quirks. First, there are no color-coded live traffic conditions on the map. On other navigation systems, with a quick glance at the map, you can see if there are any (red) trouble spots on the freeway. In the Mazda3, you have to scroll to Applications, then to HD Radio Traffic, to see a map of the Los Angeles metropolitan area that you can't zoom in on. It's rudimentary, but does give an overall idea of traffic conditions.
Who's zooming whom?
Second, every time we get into the car, the map is zoomed way in, even when it was set to a 1-mile scale before we got out. We have eliminated Auto Zoom as the possible cause, and are in the process of tracking down which setting we have to change to fix that or whether the system itself needs an update. Third -- and this is a minor one -- you have to hide the buttons on the nav screen before you are allowed to zoom in or out on the map. But once you learn that trick, it's quick and easy to do from then on.
As we mentioned in the long-term introduction of the Mazda3, we are very happy with the amenities and equipment our tester has for its as-tested price. There are a few other tech goodies we could've gotten, namely the Active Driving (head-up) Display and the s Grand Touring Technology Package, which adds cool features like lane departure warning and radar cruise control, but that would have put us in a model much more expensive than $24,060 sticker of our test vehicle.
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