Mazda 3 - First Journey

  • We take the Mazda 3 on its first journey
  • Sat-nav and comfort levels impress
  • Traffic notifications get annoying when stuck on the M25

There is little worse than being stuck in a traffic jam on the M25 for three hours on a Friday afternoon.

But I was at least glad to be sat in our new long termer, the Mazda 3, as it gave me the perfect opportunity to assess the kit and controls around the car, discover what really helps make life easier on the road and find out which features may be a little style over substance.

The seats for a start are comfortable and there is plenty of leg and headroom available so I was able to stretch out while I waited. The heated seats, even this time of year, are a welcomed feature and the centre armrest is especially useful for long motorway journeys.

Dual-zone air-con is a worthwhile feature, especially when travelling with someone who feels the cold more than you and has a habit of turning your car into their own personal sauna.

Sitting behind the wheel for the first time I was surprised at how effortless the cabin is to navigate around. You have all the information you need when sat behind the wheel and the controls and functions are easy to find. All except the latch for the petrol filler cap which is very close to the lever to pop the bonnet - which caused a bit of an embarrassing incident at the petrol station on my way home.

It is important that a car has plenty of storage space. I’m not one for travelling light and every long drive is broken up by a trip to the services to grab a coffee. Thankfully the Mazda more than delivers on this front with big cupholders, useful drink compartments in the doors, a large centre cubbie and a decent-sized glovebox.

Although it’s not exactly rare, the fact that the Mazda 3 has two USB ports is a much added bonus – everything needs charging these days and two USB ports mean I can charge my iPad while having my phone connected too.

Keyless entry is one of my favourite features as I have one of those bags where once something goes in, it is virtually impossible to find again. With this bit of kit I can enter and start the car without actually needing the key – very useful.

Another of my favourite systems is the sat-nav which is actually one of the best I have used to date, the screen is clear and shows the instructions in good detail and very timely, it also displays how close you are to services so you don’t need to worry if running low on fuel.

Traffic notifications can be useful too; that said, I find them a little annoying and they didn’t prevent me heading into the traffic jam on the M25 so have been turned off for now.  

Another feature I’m not too keen on is the head-up display which projects the car's speed plus navigation instructions (if in use) onto a strip of plastic in front of the windscreen. Firstly, if you are using the sat-nav the speed information becomes miniscule and secondly, I can't work out how to adjust it! Because I am so short I need to reposition my seat to see the display clearly which ended up being a little uncomfortable. Also the plastic looks a little on the cheap side.

All in all the Mazda 3 did well on it's first long journey, comfort levels impress and there are some features that will really make a difference on the road especially if you, like me, end up stuck in a traffic jam.

Tune in next time when we explore just how good the Mazda’s Park Assist system is.