2014 Mazda CX-5: Hot Seat
September 9, 2013
I recently drove our 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring for a few days that bookended my recent trip to Germany. As I pulled into the garage on the final day I noticed the passenger side seat heater was on full blast. But it hadn't been me. I hadn't had a passenger ride shotgun at any point in the last few days.
How long had the seat heater been on like that? It had to date back to the previous driver, at least.
I'm not one that uses seat heaters much, and I dislike the ones that do not reset to OFF when the car is shut off and restarted at a later time. Our 2014 Mazda CX-5 could operate like that. Its seat heater button is a momentary switch. It does not latch on in any mechanical sense. It could work the way I prefer if it were programmed to operate that way.
My wife, who is an ardent seat heater fan and frequent user, actually agrees with me on this point. (Imagine that.) She hates climbing in to an already-hot seat in the full light of day. And leastways the CX-5's own owner's manual warns against the continued use of the seat heater in the hottest setting.
All I know is the Clif bar I had on the passenger seat was all melty. The water bottle I had there was too warm to drink. Our CX-5 was running current through its seat heater array for no good reason for hours on end.
Yes, I know that Minnesotans and Canadians disagree. I know you want them to stay on for six straight months. You're probably screaming at me via your keyboards telling me to shut up already so I don't ruin it for you.
But we could all be happy. Cars have all sorts of customization capabilities nowadays. It is technically possible to offer a setting in the menus that would allow us to set the seat heater default mode either way. After all, it takes some sort of seat heater ECU for one button to offer three heat levels, for the system to remember the previous setting when the key is switched off. This car is most of the way there.
Or the seat heaters could be tired into the seatbelt receptacle. No seatbelt, no occupant, no heat.
Yes, there's a light I could have seen, but there are many useless lights competing for attention in cars these days (I'm talking to you, Passenger Airbag Off) that I tend to ignore. And in any case these are low down and don't look very bright when the cabin is flooded with sunlight. I pulled into a dark garage to make them stand out for the above photograph.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 16,465 miles