Best Knobs in the Segment - 2014 Mazda Mazda3 S Long-Term Road Test
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2014 Mazda Mazda3 S Long-Term Road Test

2014 Mazda 3 S: Best Knobs in the Segment

January 28, 2014

2014 Mazda 3 S

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the 2014 Mazda 3's control knobs — the multi-function control and temperature controls — are the most precise knobs in any compact car built today.

Seriously, these knobs have minimal lateral play, offer solid indexing, have a grippy, knurled surface. They look and feel expensive.

2014 Mazda 3 S

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor


Comments

  • My first car was a Mazda Protege (the 3's Grandpa) and all the controls had a very high quality feel. Better than Toyota and Honda and they were supposed to be the best of the best at the time. All switches and levers (remember the old Japanese 4 lever HVAC system) engaged with a solid click. Sounds weird but even the turn signal nice click clack sound. It sounded just like my aunt's BMW 3 Series. I picked it because compare to the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic it didn't feel like the econobox that it was. Mazda seemed to pay attention to the small details better. Things like having a back light (and the green light was pretty nice wonder why the don't still use this color) for the gauges instead of flood lighting like the others. The shifter had a positive feel from gear to gear and the clutch was just right. The steering had a good feel. And the best part is that it stayed that way years later and with over 100,000 miles on it.

  • smudge12 smudge12 Posts:

    allthingshonda: I drive a Protege and love the thing. And yes, everything does have a solid click and the materials were pretty nice for a '02 econobox. But of course, the best thing about it is the great steering feel. It's still running strong so far (*no jinx*), but if it does die, I'll definitely be looking at the new 3.

  • gloss gloss Posts:

    I had the same observation when I test-drove the 3. The controls feel fantastic.

  • yutach_ yutach_ Posts:

    Just got to check out this system at a local auto show. Partly because of the knobs, this is the first infotainment system I would actually want in my car. It felt exquisite to use.

  • vvk vvk Posts:

    Looks like Mazda keeps copying BMW interior controls. That looks exactly like CIC version of iDrive.

  • pezzy669 pezzy669 Posts:

    I have a '14 3 sGT sedan and came from a '10 3 sGT. I have to say interior quality has jumped dramatically from the 2nd to 3rd gen. On the downside the infotainment system is riddled with bugs and have the features Mazda touts don't work or don't work properly. Even with the up to date software the system is garbage. Unlike Ford MyTouch you have to go to the Mazda dealership for updates. Great car, severely flawed infotainment software.

  • pezzy669 pezzy669 Posts:

    I have a '14 3 sGT sedan and came from a '10 3 sGT. I have to say interior quality has jumped dramatically from the 2nd to 3rd gen. On the downside the infotainment system is riddled with bugs and have the features Mazda touts don't work or don't work properly. Even with the up to date software the system is garbage. Unlike Ford MyTouch you have to go to the Mazda dealership for updates. Great car, severely flawed infotainment software.

  • Arguably the most important aspect beyond driving feel is haptic feedback from knobs, switches, and buttons inside of a car. It is what connects you to your vehicle. Give them about 30,000 miles and then see how smooth the clicks are. My Mazda3 (2011) automatic AC switches now turn as if they are missing every other click. Except for possibly luxury vehicles, Honda makes the best knobs in the segment that still have smooth and tactile feel at 100,000 miles plus.

  • Arguably the most important aspect beyond driving feel is haptic feedback from knobs, switches, and buttons inside of a car. It is what connects you to your vehicle. Give them about 30,000 miles and then see how smooth the clicks are. My Mazda3 (2011) automatic AC switches now turn as if they are missing every other click. Except for possibly luxury vehicles, Honda makes the best knobs in the segment that still have smooth and tactile feel at 100,000 miles plus.

  • darex darex Posts:

    Wow! I had the complete opposite impression of them! To me, they felt like cheap chromed plastic and it was a major turn-off of the car for me! How can that be?!

  • darex darex Posts:

    Wow! I had the complete opposite impression of them! To me, they felt like cheap chromed plastic and it was a major turn-off of the car for me! How can that be?!

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