2014 Mazda 3: More Should Do This
August 22, 2014
Not only should more automakers adopt the dial-controller interface forward of the armrest, but they should include the volume knob along with it. Every time I drive the 2014 Mazda 3 I'm reminded of this little feature's genius. It's either a testament to advanced ergonomic thinking or just plain laziness (no more needing to reach out and extend for the volume knob). I'm with the former.
I constantly tweak the volume knob or steering wheel switch when cruising. Probably a bad habit, but some songs are louder than others, as are the levels of different voices on talk radio programs. Some patches of road are rougher and noisier than others. I've also neglected to protect my hearing much of my life. It all adds up to keeping me busy on the audio levels in the car.
The volume control in the Human Machine Interface (or HMI, Mazda's name for its iDrive-like system) is almost perfectly placed. Drop your hand from the wheel, slide it over, twist. Skip the first step for cruisey open interstate travel when you're already leaning on the armrest. Perfect.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor