2014 Mazda 3 S: Heads-Up Display
January 27, 2014
The "s" versions of the 2014 Mazda 3 sedan and hatchback are distinguished from their "i" counterparts by a more-powerful 184-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine instead of the 155-horsepower 2.0-liter motor.
There's no obvious external badging that sets them apart. One sure way to tell at a glance is to look at the top of the dash for a heads-up display; the Mazda 3 S comes standard with one, the Mazda 3 i does not. It can't be added as an option, either, so this method can be used to positively identify the engine under the hood of a given 2014 Mazda 3 sedan or hatch you might be looking at.
Mazda calls their heads-up display by the name Active Driving Display, and it's a pretty slick piece. Fire the engine and it pivots into position from its dash-top recess and begins displaying a digital speed readout. The numerals are easy to see (they appear larger in real life than they do in these photos) but they don't intrude on the view ahead one bit.
And when the navigation system is actively providing guidance, next-turn direction and distance-to-turn information appears alongside speed when such changes in direction are coming soon.
Folks of different heights will need to tweak the angle of the reflective screen for optimum viewing, of course. This adjustment is quite easily accomplished in the settings menu via the Mazda Connect system's central control knob.
As you may have surmised, the Mazda Connect system and navigation are necessary elements here, and these features are also standard on the Mazda 3 S sedan and hatchback. But the lack of a heads-up display on the Mazda 3 i versions does not mean you're out of luck if you want to pair navigation and the Mazda Connect system with the thriftier 2.0-liter engine. You can get that stuff, but you won't get the Active Driving Display that comes on the 2014 Mazda 3 S, is all.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 2,153 miles