by Paul Jackson
I’d been following the pre-release media on the Next-Gen Mazda 3 for a few weeks, so the invitation to drive one for the day was something I couldn’t pass by. The feature list is far too long to include in an article like this and you can get all that info from the Mazda website (www.brownsplainsmazda.com.au), so let me focus on the experience.
I’m coming from a ten year old Kia Rio (not much tech) so when the sales guy started explaining that there was no key and that you can lock and unlock the doors with a swipe of your hand on the handle, I was bracing myself for a technical overload when I entered the ‘cockpit’. While I do enjoy technology, I’m not a digital native and I’m often left starring at screens trying to figure out where to find things. Not so in the Next-Gen Mazda 3. I was pleasantly surprised that controls and buttons were where I expected them to be and labels and symbols made sense. And that one time I was stuck in a carpark trying to reverse but not able to move, the screen told me that the automatic park brake was active. A quick look around for a button with a ‘P’ on it and I was released to go.
It drives as beautifully as you would expect from a modern car and for the long list of whizz-bangery included, the controls and screens are clean, simple and intuitive. You aren’t bombarded with unnecessary information, nor are there buttons and knobs everywhere. Unlike your mother when you were learning to drive, the feedback you get is relevant and gentle, keeping you informed of the local surroundings and driving conditions without distracting you with flashing lights and buzzing alarms – or screams of ’STOP!’ – I love you mum.
If you’re in the market for a new small car, you’ll want to arrange a test drive of the Next-Gen Mazda 3.
Paul’s Favourite Features
1. Speed Alerts – there are reminders of the speed limit for the road you are on alongside the speed you’re actually doing.
2. Bose Sound System – well balanced, high quality sound with all controls at your finger-tips.
3. 360 Degree View – a live image of the surrounding ground.