2012 Mazda 3: That Shouldn't Be Red
February 17, 2012
I don't know how many times I've been behind the wheel of a Mazda 3 -- a lot, I presume; I owned one -- but each and every time I drive one, I'm tricked by the bright red information in the instrument cluster.
On this one it's the D for drive, on the last one it was the trip and odo. When parked it looks nice. Red's a cool color. But every. single. time. I pass a spoke of the wheel over the IP and see a quick flash of red, I panic and think that there's a dummy warning light.
I've been trained that things flashing red are bad and this one, a big red light smack in the middle of everything, sets off my warning alarms every time. This phenomenon is doubly true at night. Triply so if you're hustling down a dark canyon miles from anything.
I can't think of another car that gets me to think it's broken every time I pass the wheel over the gauges. Even our Juke, which has a bunch of red information up there, doesn't illicit the same response. Maybe it's the size or the fact that it's just a big, simple letter. Either way, if I'm not used to it now, I probably never will be.
Mike Magrath, Features Editor, Inside Line @ 5,178 miles
FWIW, here are the actual warning lights.