Head-Up Display Stubbornness - 2014 Mazda Mazda3 S Long-Term Road Test

2014 Mazda Mazda3 S Long-Term Road Test

2014 Mazda 3: Head-Up Display Stubbornness

February 25, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

For those people who find head-up displays distracting, redundant or just plain dumb (or all of the above (*raises hand*), you won't find solace in our long-term 2014 Mazda 3.

Mazda calls its head-up display an "Active Driving Display." ADD. I kid you not. Dan Edmunds doesn't seem to mind it. Me, the first thing I'm looking for when I get into a head-up display-equipped car is the "off" button.

2014 Mazda 3

The Mazda 3 indeed has an "off" button for its head-up display, but there are a couple of caveats. First, the head-up display screen atop the instrument cluster remains deployed after you switch off ADD in the Settings menu of its touchscreen as shown above. The display screen remains vigilantly present in your field of view like a business card stuck under the wiper, standing at attention for absolutely no reason at all. Keen readers will correctly conclude that the only time the ADD stows away is when the car is shut off. What, exactly, is the point of that?

More insidious is the second caveat: the ADD defaults to "on" after a key cycle. Yes, you have to re-switch it off every single time you start the car. This is just maddening.

My only recourse is a combination of scrolling the digits as far down as possible and turning the brightness of the ADD display all the way down. This banishes the hovering digits during daylight hours, at least.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 2,666 miles


  • boff_ boff_ Posts:

    I wonder if the motor to flip the thing up is on its own circuit? I'd pull the fuse if it is.

  • blueprint1 blueprint1 Posts:

    I would avoid this car only for the screen that looks duct-taped to the IP, and the ADD is just the cherry on the lame sundae.

  • It probably defaults to on after key cycle so somebody new to the car doesn't get in and think it's broken.

  • shindig4 shindig4 Posts:

    Could the dealer change this setting to default to off?

  • metalmania metalmania Posts:

    The fact that it's available is fine with me, but not being able to control whether the display is up or down or be able to turn it off permanently if I want to would piss me off in a hurry. And I know that it works better than the touch screen in the CX-5 and Mazda6, but I HATE the way it looks like a small tablet that's just stuck on top of the center stack. I know other brands, even luxury brands, are starting to do this, and I hate them there too. Seems like it's just asking to be broken, and looks like an afterthought. If they do the same thing in the CX-5 and 6, it could take them out of contention for my next car. I tend to keep my cars for 7-10 years and I couldn't stand looking at that every day. Why can't they just make it look like it's still integrated into the dashboard, but just work better?

  • legacygt legacygt Posts:

    We can debate the merits of having the system turn on every time you start the car. I would prefer it retain the setting but others may not. Having the thing motorized but not go down when you turn the system is simply silly. Having it move up and down when you turn the car on and off is pointless. It's a gimmick. But it would be redeemed if they used the motor to move the thing down when you shut it off.

  • I hate when things are done half assed. The 3's HUD on the plastic thing instead of directly on the windshield is half assed and so is the touch screen nav unit on top of the dash. I bet a lot of those tacked on nav units are going to be ripped off when a purse or back pack strap catches it as some one exits the car. If you're not going to display HUD info on the windshield then don't even bother. I like HUD's and I think they will project a lot more info on the windshield as self driving cars are rolled out. Imagine having a Skype phone call as the car drives you home.

  • arktctr arktctr Posts:

    This is about the worst implementation of a heads up display I can recall...I currently drive a 2014 Mazda 6 and although I am jealous that the new Mazda 3 has a FAR superior nav/radio interface I am completely thankful it doesn't have this horrible heads-up display piece that will no doubt fail at some point down the line...

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