Busy Wheel - 2014 Mazda Mazda3 S Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,281
edited August 2014 in Mazda
imageBusy Wheel - 2014 Mazda Mazda3 S Long-Term Road Test

There's a lot to like about the 2014 Mazda 3s, but the overwrought steering wheel and column isn't high on the list.

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  • diigiidiigii Member Posts: 156

    Monica Bellucci! RRRRRRRRRRRRR!

  • joner800joner800 Member Posts: 80

    yeah, nine buttons is very standard for steering wheel clutter these days

  • mtaylor3mtaylor3 Member Posts: 6

    I'd rather have 9 buttons on the steering wheel than 25 buttons on the center console...the center stack is remarkably uncluttered by today's standards. Most cars these days seem to want to "wow" you with the gizmos that can be stuffed into the center console. The Mazda3 has all those gizmos but they are presented in a clean, simple layout. Some people might call the interior plain or stark, but to my eyes it's beautiful in its simplicity.

  • okgookgo Member Posts: 1

    mtaylor3 is exactly right. Also, the steering wheel isn't bad at all. Once you get used to it, it shouldn't feel clustered or anything. The buttons are well spaced out and easy to press. I would rather have that then a lot of button on the center console.

  • mlin32mlin32 Member Posts: 35
    edited August 2014

    It's not that bad. You don't really need separate "connect/disconnect" buttons for the phone (one will suffice) and perhaps one button for the Board Computer is sufficient. Otherwise I don't think you could eliminate anything.

    The headlamp switch should be on the dash though, next to the controls for the Driver Assistance aids below the driver's left vent. Never understood why Japanese automakers put headlamp controls on the turn stalk, although perhaps it has something to do they drive on the wrong side of the road.

  • bc1960bc1960 Pittsburgh, PAMember Posts: 171

    Is it really different than other makes similarly loaded with features? It seems well-organized, except maybe for the "Info" button which switches the trip computer functions. I could do without phone controls entirely, and the paddle shifters are redundant with the shift lever. I did find the interval wiper control initially confusing compared to my 2007 Mazda. Wide/narrow marks used to indicate long/short intervals; now they indicate high/low frequency, the inverse. And the rotation wasn't changed so the control now works the opposite; not something you would notice once accustomed to it unless you switched between driving different cars.

  • wheelmccoywheelmccoy Member Posts: 97

    t reminds me a lot of my late '91 Integra

    I've always kept that thought to myself, but I'm glad someone else sensed a connection. In spirit, the Mazda3 is certainly more reminiscent of the Integra than the ILX.

  • nsbio1nsbio1 Member Posts: 75

    The steering wheel button design is cretinous not only in Mazda cars, but throughout. For example, why would anyone need to have separate buttons for cruise control ON and OFF? This should be done by pushing the same button: ON/OFF, etc. Secondly, what is the difference between phone pickup button and speak button located right next to each other? This should be done with one button. Next, do you need a separate call end button? Call pickup, voice command start, and call end should be done with the same button. What kind of a brainless retarded moron designed these things to make them unusable?

    Also, there should be a mute button. My old Mazda3 has the mute button, but cars in the last couple of years removed it. Sure, stereo sound is muted automatically when a bluetooth paired phone call come in. However, what if a passenger's phone rings, or (blasphemy) a passenger actually trying to say something to me. Mute button should be preserved. However, the useless "info" button can easily go.

    End of rant.

  • allthingshondaallthingshonda Member Posts: 878

    The cruise on/off is one button. Up for on down for off. The call pickup and voice command functions are separate buttons because the are different functions. Voice command is for navigation and vehicle functions. The answer button is to make calls, answer calls, and answer call waiting. If they were one button the car wouldn't know if you wanted to make a call or find the nearest ATM. The mute button would be an extra button for nothing. The power button does the same function or simply holding volume down. And if you got rid of the info button how would you access the information system?

    I always thought the Japanese use of the turn signal stalk for lights was better the the American and European use of the dash switch. Easy to reach, cleans up the dash and better than having the wiper controls there. The wiper stalk on the right allows you to turn the wiper on just by moving a few fingers like the turn signal.

  • emajoremajor Member Posts: 332

    Crappy cruise control interface there. The button arrangement is unintuitive and you shouldn't need separate on/off toggle directions. Toyota has this nailed, their cruise stalk keeps buttons off the spokes and is placed right where your fingers can reach it without looking.

  • nsbio1nsbio1 Member Posts: 75
    edited August 2014

    Re: Cruise on/off: No, these are two separate buttons, not one button, for all intents and purposes. Different parts of a button makes two separate buttons. There should be a simple, one button, ON/OFF.

    Re: infotainment, call pickup. One button will do all of it and the car will know to make a call, initiate navigation, etc. based on your voice command.

    Re: mute button. I personally would trade all other stuff on the wheel for a mute button because sometimes I need to turn the music off quickly and then quickly resume. Fiddling with the volume is very inconvenient.

    The problem with current designs is that they are done by committees to satisfy a list of specs. This results in garbage that encompasses everything but satisfies no one. I am not saying that we need Apple to design this, because that have produced their share of crap, but having someone design this not to be approved by a committee, but to be used by an actual human will help.

  • allthingshondaallthingshonda Member Posts: 878


    The cruise on/off is not two separate buttons, it's one rocker switch. By your interpretation the driver's door has 10 buttons for windows and door locks instead of 5 since they are also rocker switches.

    The separate buttons for the phone and vehicle functions allow you to control navigation and other functions while you are also on a call, answer call waiting or end a call without having to speak a menu command. It is also very logical since it mirrors the function of cell phones.

    The audio off button with immediately turn off the music and audio on will immediately continue playback where you left off.

  • nsbio1nsbio1 Member Posts: 75

    Which of these buttons is audio off?

  • nsbio1nsbio1 Member Posts: 75
    edited August 2014

    By the way, BMW actually comes close to doing this right, so it can be done. Mazda is still among the best non-luxury brands for controls layout, but my 2012 Mazda is much worse in this regard than my 2008 one. I really do not want to buy a luxury brand vehicle just to have usable controls, but I would be willing to do so if things continue to get more bloated.

  • mlin32mlin32 Member Posts: 35

    Mine will have the Active Cruise Control so that shoves the Cruise on/off switch (which does not need to be a rocker switch) below the right spoke.

    The fake carbon fibre trim annoys me the most, to be honest. Would be better if it was just a soft-touch plastic film or covering. The Germans still do interiors better but its not like there's a lot of hatchback choices in the US.

  • glossgloss Member Posts: 150

    While having single buttons for some of these functions would reduce clutter, they would also make it more difficult to operate the buttons entirely by feel - you'd have to look for a light or listen for an audio prompt to be sure what state the system was in.

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