2010 Mazda Mazdaspeed3 Long-Term Road Test

2010 Mazdaspeed 3: Design Critique

April 06, 2010


I appreciate a well-designed interior, with a dash that flows from one form to another with a modern look and feel that makes me realize we are indeed in the 21st Century. Our Mazdaspeed has a lot going for it, but I don't think the interior design is one of them. Here's why.

It's busy. In design-speak, that means there's a lot going on here that could probably be simplified. And simple usually leads to elegant. On basic shapes alone, there is room for improvement - take the dash top display cowl for example. It's got a nice arching shape that connects with the center stack. Not bad. But then there's a rectangular color display and a backlit LCD next to it. These shapes represent the proverbial square peg in a round hole. In addition to that, the displays do not fill the cowl very well and sometimes show redundant information.

Then there's the vents - a mix of round and rectangular. I like round vent, personally, and think that Mazda could've dropped two of them in the center of the dash - like Audi does. But really, the big sticking point for me was the choice of textile pattern that is also echoed in the plastic dash trim. It's a black background with a red gradated , coarse dotted effect. All that comes to mind when I see this is a Nike workout shirt from the mid-1990's. I think some that in a sporting car, such as the Mazdaspeed 3, Alcantara or some fake microfiber suede would've have been an infinitely better choice. But keep the red stitching, that's always tasty.

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 9,769 miles

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