2014 Mazda Mazda3 S Long-Term Road Test


2014 Mazda 3 S: Heads-Up Display

January 27, 2014

2014 Mazda 3 S

The "s" versions of the 2014 Mazda 3 sedan and hatchback are distinguished from their "i" counterparts by a more-powerful 184-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine instead of the 155-horsepower 2.0-liter motor.

There's no obvious external badging that sets them apart. One sure way to tell at a glance is to look at the top of the dash for a heads-up display; the Mazda3 S comes standard with one, the Mazda3 i does not. It can't be added as an option, either, so this method can be used to positively identify the engine under the hood of a given 2014 Mazda 3 sedan or hatch you might be looking at.

Mazda calls their heads-up display by the name Active Driving Display, and it's a pretty slick piece. Fire the engine and it pivots into position from its dash-top recess and begins displaying a digital speed readout. The numerals are easy to see (they appear larger in real life than they do in these photos) but they don't intrude on the view ahead one bit.

And when the navigation system is actively providing guidance, next-turn direction and distance-to-turn information appears alongside speed when such changes in direction are coming soon.

Folks of different heights will need to tweak the angle of the reflective screen for optimum viewing, of course. This adjustment is quite easily accomplished in the settings menu via the Mazda Connect system's central control knob.

As you may have surmised, the Mazda Connect system and navigation are necessary elements here, and these features are also standard on the Mazda 3 S sedan and hatchback. But the lack of a heads-up display on the Mazda 3 i versions does not mean you're out of luck if you want to pair navigation and the Mazda Connect system with the thriftier 2.0-liter engine. You can get that stuff, but you won't get the Active Driving Display that comes on the 2014 Mazda 3 S, is all.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 2,153 miles

Comments

  • seppoboy seppoboy Posts:

    So the only speedometer on the Mazda 3 is a digital display on the dash, and the HUD? That's disappointing, I really dislike digital speedometers, analog is much easier for me to easily interpret. Then again, manual transmission not available with the 2.5 and more upscale content, but that's becoming nearly universal these days, if stick is offered at all. Nice car in many ways, though. Still waiting for somebody to put together the complete package that aligns with my own preferences.

  • robs249_ robs249_ Posts:

    Then get the i Grand Touring which has the 2.0 engine and an analog speedometer with a digital tach to the left.

  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    good thing its standard equipemnt because that is a waste of money to pay extra for

  • pezzy669 pezzy669 Posts:

    I have had my '14 sGT since Nov and it took me a few days to get used to the HUD but now I miss it when I drive a car without. Lane and distance guidance for the next turn readouts are incredibly helpful, yes the display can display 9 lanes (that I have witnessed) and which lanes you need to be in with 100% accuracy. Be warned my infotainment has been riddled with bugs and the one update I had done made my system worse. Also Mazda is refusing to pull a Ford and send updates out via USB stick, instead its a 1.5 hour dealer visit for every update. I love my '14 3 and my previous '10 3, however the infotainment system in my '14 is souring my loyalty to Mazda at an increasingly rapid pace.

  • guy1974 guy1974 Posts:

    Sorry the updates are souring you on Mazda. There shouldn`t need to be too many, then you can enjoy many years of fun driving. So relax with the inconvenience which sometimes comes from buying a first model year car.

  • I'm surprised the screen is motorized intead of in a fixed position. Seems to make it overly complex.

  • hank39 hank39 Posts:

    Is there an option to not have the HUD screen fold up if desired?

  • legacygt legacygt Posts:

    I wonder why they have it fold down at all. Unless there's an option to keep it down while driving. Otherwise seems like a good implementation with the adjustable position. And I really like the navigation and lane information option. However, I prefer an analog speedometer.

  • The HUD is a great idea but why isn't it projected on the windshield instead of the fold down thingy? I like digital speedos and I think that the all digital IP (think Tesla and other luxury cars) are the best and probably the future. And all the people who say that analog is easier to read how do you know the exact speed when most analog systems are in 5 or 10 mph increments? You may know you are between 70 and 75 but with digital it will say exactly how fast you are going.

  • gloss gloss Posts:

    @allthingshonda It's for repair purposes, I believe. No special windshield needed, which reduces windshield replacement costs.

  • jlh3 jlh3 Posts:

    Yeah I don't think just any windshield can display a HUD projection. THe glass needs to meet a certain clarity and brightness standard if I recall. The way mazda did it probably makes it cheaper.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Analog gauges and digital readouts both can display speed, but analog gauges with a needle sweeping across a dial show RATE of increase and decrease in speed in a way that's much easier for the brain to understand than a bunch of digits flashing by in a window.

  • actualsize actualsize Posts:

    The HUD-equipped cars have a big central tachometer with a digital speed readout inside. The HUD is a supplement, not the primary speedo. In fact, the speed numeral temporarily disappear to make way for certain navigation cues, particularly those that show which lanes you can be in (and which to avoid) to make a successful freeway transmission.

  • legacygt legacygt Posts:

    Just saw some interior photos of a manual equipped Mazda 3. Lower trim level so no HUD. But, the large center tach is replaced by a large center speedometer (analog only) with a small simulated tach on the screen to the left. What's the rationale here? If any version is going to have a large center tach it should be the manual. And why do lower trim levels get an one analog speedometer while higher trim levels get two digital speedometers. It seems like there wasn't a lot of though put in here other than the idea that higher trim levels get the fancier tech. Fine, but there should be some logic behind it as well.

  • jrsf jrsf Posts:

    My partner has a 2010 Mazda 3 GT, and the rear suspension noises are about to drive me insane (nobody can find the rear stabilizer bar rattle I have read a LOT about). Too soon to find out if this model is similarly plagued? I like this upgraded model, but there seems to be a lot of wasted space in the IP, regardless of trim level. Are those side screens really that blank all the time? I also wish Mazda would standardize its interior displays--the center "tablet" thing looks like it has small pixel displays (nice), but the IP and HVAC look like they're the same digital clock readouts from 1981 that they refuse to relinquish. Can we get a screen shot of the HUD showing a nav command? I can't find that anywhere.

  • @fordson1, the brain calculates rate of acceleration and deceleration better by feel, sound and sight. If you have kids you know that even they know when you're driving aggressively and fast because they think it's fun (and it is). And you'll need some

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Never mentioned accelerating hard. It's easier for example if you decide to accelerate to 60 mph (say you're in a 55 mph zone) to ease the needle up to the 60 mark on a dial speedo than to get the numbers zipping by to slow down the rate at which they zip by on a digital speedo, so that you ease up smoothly to your chosen speed. Or down to your chosen speed. The cognitive process is so much simpler.

  • Gimicky. I'm all for a good instrument panel in order to help keep your eyes on the road, but rather than have a traditional speedometer/tachometer duo they opted for a flip up plastic screen? What will happen in time when the motor starts to grind or the heat from the sun causes it to warp? Wouldn't it have been far more cost-effective to just incorporate the digital speedometer from the bottom right of the tachometer toward the top section? Or better yet, do as before mentioned and make a traditional instrument panel consisting of both analog displays?

  • Gimicky. I'm all for a good instrument panel in order to help keep your eyes on the road, but rather than have a traditional speedometer/tachometer duo they opted for a flip up plastic screen? What will happen in time when the motor starts to grind or the heat from the sun causes it to warp? Wouldn't it have been far more cost-effective to just incorporate the digital speedometer from the bottom right of the tachometer toward the top section? Or better yet, do as before mentioned and make a traditional instrument panel consisting of both analog displays?

  • One more thing... the angle of view for the heads-up display is horrible. You have to constantly adjust it if you shift yourself in your seat in order to see it correctly.

  • One more thing... the angle of view for the heads-up display is horrible. You have to constantly adjust it if you shift yourself in your seat in order to see it correctly.

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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2014 Mazda Mazda3 in VA is:

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