2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Buttons, Ride Quality and Guns
February 25, 2010
After 967 miles in our 2010 Mazdaspeed 3, I have reached several conclusions. The ride quality is very good for a hot hatch -- it's composed, rarely harsh and completely acceptable for long-haul trips. The 225/40R18 Dunlop SP Sport 2050 tires are on the noisy side, but really, road noise in the MS3 isn't any worse than a WRX, Lancer Ralliart or Evo.
Driver seat comfort was also better than I expected. You see, I find the seating position in the Mazdaspeed 3 slightly awkward. The steering wheel doesn't telescope quite far out enough for me to grasp it perfectly comfortably at 9-and-3. But in all those hours of driving, this wasn't a problem. Using cruise control helped, undoubtedly, but the seat itself gets some credit, too. It's well cushioned and supportive without being confining.
One thing I couldn't get used to, though, is all the buttons on the steering wheel. They're nicely organized with navigation stuff on the right, audio controls on the left and cruise buttons at the bottom, but it's just too many. Despite the texturing on the buttons, I never progressed to no-look cruise operation.
I'd much prefer a cruise stalk at the 4 o'clock position. And, no, I don't need separate on/off buttons.
Above is the last of my photos taken on a side road off California Highway 16. This bridge is near a marked picnic site in Yolo County. I thought I might take a walk into those green hills after lunch, but turns out they are the property of the local gun club.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 8,251 miles