2012 Mazda MAZDA3: Light Pollution
October 19, 2012
Every car with a navigation/infotainment display should offer a means to turn it off. Many do, but if I recall correctly, the Explorer/MyFord Touch did not. You could reduce the display brightness down to almost nothing, but never fully eliminate the glow. Often at night, driving home, I don't want glow. I want a dark cave illuminated only by instrument lighting. I want to unwind to the extent that one can while still doing 65 down the highway, and sometimes - most times - that doesn't include a three-, five- or seven-inch display staring back at me.
You can never fully defeat the Mazda 3's twin displays, but the multi-information display (left) has a weird quirk. If you're listening to CD or an Aux source, you can almost get a blank screen by cycling through the Info button on the steering wheel. The display will simply list the selected source at the top. But no luck if you're jamming some terrestrial radio; in place of the blank screen, you get a menu of presets.
Acceptable solution, to me anyway: whether you're listening to right-wing demagoguery or socialist propaganda on the AM dial, or wondering why Garth Trinidad tries so unbearably hard to sound hip and laconic, you can call up the little compass icon and long/lat coordinates to replace the presets menu.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor