2014 Mazda 3: Rear Cross-Traffic Alert Comes In Handy
July 22, 2014
The 2014 Mazda 3 is unusual in the small car class by offering a large amount of available safety features. Specifically, these are optional driver assistance features: a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, forward collision warning and automatic braking for low-speed collision mitigation.
Many small cars offer one or two of these features, but it's rare to have this much available. Our long-term Mazda 3 has all of them except the frontal collision warning and automatic braking. Yet in daily use, the one I appreciate most is the rear cross-traffic alert feature.
Rear cross-traffic alert is part of the blind-spot monitoring system. It uses the same sensors for vehicle detection but activates instead when you put the Mazda 3 in reverse. Its purpose is to detect vehicles that might be crossing your rearward path, such as when you're backing out of a parking space. When an oncoming vehicle is detected, the system beeps at you.
It works. There have been a few times when I've been backing out of a space in a parking lot only to have the cross-traffic alert system notify me of an oncoming car. This isn't to say that I didn't see the cars coming down the parking lane, but I find it to be a welcome layer of safety that nicely complements the rearview camera. Cross-traffic alert is especially useful if the Mazda is bracketed in its parking space by bulky SUVs or trucks on one or both sides that limit your own view of what's coming.
You receive this feature standard when you pick a Mazda 3i Touring trim level or above. Along with the Touring's other extra features, it's a worthwhile upgrade in my opinion.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 10,128 miles