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2020 Mazda3 Long-Term Update 1: Sights and Sounds

I’ve come to appreciate a few things in our long-term Mazda3 that set it apart from its main rivals, the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. For starters, the optional head-up display (Active Driving Display in Mazdaspeak) is well executed, and Mazda gets bonus points for including its brightness and screen height in the programming of the Driving Position Memory buttons (another rare feature in the segment).

The display is fairly sharp and includes a comprehensive list of info, including vehicle speed, active cruise control settings, cross-traffic alerts, and lane keep assist warnings. I’m also a fan of the blind-spot indicators, which flash on the left or right side of the screen. One downside? Head-up displays are notorious for “disappearing” when you’re wearing polarized sunglasses, and unfortunately the Mazda’s screen does appear dimmer through the lenses of my Ray-Bans.






















































The Mazda3’s Bose sound system is another standout in the compact hatch. It puts the Civic’s and Corolla’s premium audio offerings to shame and isn’t far off from more expensive setups, like the Bowers & Wilkins systems used in Volvos. The Mazda’s audio magic consists of 12 speakers. Most notable are the bass speakers housed within the front footwells, just under the A-pillar. The location is considered the corner of the cabin, which is ideal for low-frequency amplification (and frees up storage on the door where these speakers are typically located). There’s also a subwoofer housed within the spare tire in the trunk. Tweeters in the A-pillar and midrange speakers in the doors point directly toward passengers. The result is clear and powerful sound that’s satisfying to the ears. The audio system also supports high-definition lossless audio files, including FLAC.

Audio controls are learnable, and the menus are mostly intuitive, but it’s not perfect. I’ll save those details for another update when I get more familiar with the system.

Read more about our long-term 2020 Mazda3:

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