For music lovers, the optional Tech Package includes a great Bose® 10-speaker system that delivers full Centerpoint® Surround Sound with Audiopilot® noise compensation from which you can play your MP3 encoded music from a CD, Bluetooth audio device, or portable MP3 player. You needn’t bother turning the volume up and down as road noise and vehicle speed increase. Audiopilot continually makes minor adjustments to the music to offset unwanted ambient noise.
New for 2010 is onboard navigation system which is included in the Tech Package. The navigation system is very petite and non-obtrusive; neatly tucked away in the center dash near the driver’s natural line of sight. Navigation systems are a luxury not usually available as an option in cars of this class. It’s a simple model, but relatively easy-to-use. Navigation controls are conveniently available to the driver on the steering wheel. The screen might be a little small and distant for some to see, but if that’s your biggest complaint, perhaps some stronger glasses might be in order.
The only tech feature I had difficulty with was the Bluetooth hands-free phone system – which is a standard feature with the GT trim. Compared to some other systems, the one found in the MAZDA3 was less intuitive and finicky. If any mistakes were made in the profile setup, the voice-recognition program would shoot back to the beginning start menu. Definitely a little irritating, but once the profile was setup, it was okay when connected. But that leads to another issue, the Bluetooth system had difficulty acquiring my wireless signal. So my phone would be connected only occasionally. It could have been a glitch in the tested model, but something to be aware of when test driving.
My absolute favorite part of this car was the optional keyless remote and push-button ignition. This feature is similarly found on Audis, Infinitis, BMWs, and the like but definitely not a feature found in other cars within the MAZDA3 class. Ladies, tuck those keys deep in your purse and never again worry about frantically fishing for them. As long as your keys are on your person, you can get into the car without ever taking the key out of your purse! Just push the handy little door open button and the car door opens (this is true for the 2 front doors and the hatchback door on our tested model). And then press the start/stop ignition button and you’re on your way. It was so simple and made my driving experience that much easier. After being spoiled by this feature, it’ll be something I include on my “wish-list” for my next car.
Overall, Mazda seems to have done it again. They seemed to have struck a perfect harmony between utility, luxury and fun and cost. Our Grand Touring test model, with Tech Package and optional Crystal White Pearl Mica paint, was just over $25k. A great value, but no longer considered inexpensive. For the budget conscious who don’t need all the fancy features, delete a couple of options or choose the Sport model with a base price of $20,290 and you can get one of the best valued cars on the market. Smiles all around!
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|Official website for Mazda cars, trucks, and SUVs – www.mazdausa.com|
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