Center-Mounted Tachometer - 2014 Mazda Mazda3 S Long-Term Road Test
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2014 Mazda Mazda3 S Long-Term Road Test

2014 Mazda 3: Center-Mounted Tachometer

February 7, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

Mazda mounted the 3's tachometer (on "S" trim levels) in the middle. Lesser "i" trim levels use this location for the speedometer. Here, however, there are redundant digital speedometers, one tucked in the bottom right corner of the tach and another on the heads-up display. I prefer engine speed getting priority on any car with sporting intentions.

What do you think? Good idea?

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor


Comments

  • hank39 hank39 Posts:

    I think I would get used to having the tach in the middle and having the speed in digital form. I've never really experienced digital speedometers other than test driving a '07 Civic Si and a friend's S2000. Both seemed fine to me on the drives. As an aside, the tach and numbers seem so crisp, clean, and easy to read on this new Mazda3. Really diggin' it!

  • Agreed, the tach should take priority (or at least it doesn't bother me if that's the case). But I don't like the red ring around this particular one -- it makes the actual redline not stand out as much.

  • hank39 hank39 Posts:

    @misterfusion - overlooked the redline/red ring scenario. In that case, they should've went with the blue hues they had in the previous gen.

  • pumaman1 pumaman1 Posts:

    Since you have nice flappy paddle shifters for when you are exercising your car, the tach makes sense, but only as much as the speedo is very quick about updating its speed. I do not like when numbers just a few at a time becuase you are accelerating. If it cant keep up with real time, give me a regular speedo.

  • 7driver 7driver Posts:

    In my Seven, the tachometer is in front of the driver and the speedometer is in front of the navigator. Er... I mean passenger. I judge speed by feel and by looking outside so yeah, I could probably get used to the Mazda's arrangement pretty quickly. Then again driving my Seven is... um.. how should I put this... a more visceral experience. The sights and the sounds figure more prominently than in most other road cars.

  • socaldrvr socaldrvr Posts:

    Tach probably more relevant to a car with manual transmission - in this case only available on 'i' trim level. So, I think they got it exactly wrong.

  • bc1960 bc1960 Posts:

    The space enclosed by that hood has plenty of room for a proper 2 or 3 binnacle cluster. Leave the tach in the center. Leave the postage-stamp-sized redundant speedometer on the head-up. Give me an analog speedometer below. But the i is even worse, because the analog speedometer is smaller in diameter than the tach in the s, and it's numbered to 160 mph, so the useful 0-80mph range is crammed into the left half-circle. I doubt this car with any engine it's sold with will get past 120, if that. The tachometer is analog, but represented graphically, and quite small. In 30+ years of owning Mazdas, this is the worst-designed instrument cluster I have seen in one. But the car is still at the top of my list because everything else I'm comparing it to also has some major defect in the instrument and control layout.

  • barich1 barich1 Posts:

    I think this is strictly a cost cutting measure. A 7-segment LED display most likely costs a lot less than a stepper motor and whatever else you need for an analog meter. I could deal with a digital speedometer but I don't care for the digital tach on the 3i at all.

  • yeach yeach Posts:

    I love the RX-8 styled digital speedometer and tach. Best used with manual transmission. All that is left is a beep when you hit redline.

  • yeach yeach Posts:

    Digital speedometer is also useful if you want to import or cross the border. Simple switch to kph or mph instead of looking at the 2nd set of smaller speed numbers. (this assumes that there is a button to switch like in the RX-8)

  • whobodym whobodym Posts:

    does the SkyActiv 2.5L have as abrupt of a rev-limiter as my 2010 non-SA 2.5L Mazda3? It's like hitting a wall at 6200 rpm, 78 mph in 3rd gear, right where you might like to be doing a high-speed pass on an MT or NV 2-lane road where the limit is 70mph. I'm glad to see the SA revs to 6500 -- or does it?

  • whobodym whobodym Posts:

    by the way, when is the rumored return of the MT 2.5L going to happen?

  • jrsf jrsf Posts:

    I don't mind the central tach, but not having two TFT type displays flanking it when they spent money on the center high mounted screen is just weird. There are way too many different fonts composing those Mazda displays (central, IP, and HVAC all look different).

  • I was told up at my local Mazda dealer that the heads up display was so distracting, according to buyers, that the service department was able to deactivate it for free. Regardless, no unification of the instrument panel from the i series to the s series is a shame, as the i series is the one with the manual transmission and needs the larger tachometer.

  • legacygt legacygt Posts:

    I have no problem with this setup for a manual equipped car (although I'd still like an analog gauge for speed as well). I don't understand why Mazda ties the center tach setup to trim level rather than transmission. That an S with an auto gets this setup but an i with a manual gets the center speedo makes little sense.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    You should get the tach with the manual transmission. In which case it's perfect, front and center. I don't have any issues with a digital speedo, at least with Honda's implementation in the Civic it's way more useful than distracting as it's in the bottom corner of your vision- Mazda should keept it in the HUD.

  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    agreed for a car with an automatic transmission it wastes space. i guess it would be good for selling on test drives with the paddle shifters that most people never use about a week after they purchase that car? i would like to see more of a digital tach take up less space like the honda S2k and use the space for more pertinent information like navigation screen or something like that.

  • Not very ergonomic.

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