Mazda's Touchscreen-Free Infotainment System Is The Best

Technology / 16 Comments

A new study has shown that the Mazda 3 is the safest and most ergonomic to use.

The Mazda 3 is known for many things. It's stylish, economical, surprisingly premium, and outstanding to drive. And now, it has been recognized for being class-leading in another way. Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (ADAC) in Germany is Europe's largest motoring association and decided to undertake a study in collaboration with the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences to determine which compact cars have the safest infotainment systems.

The Mazda 3 turned out to be the clear winner, because of the fact that the infotainment, navigation, and other vehicle systems are controlled via an ergonomically placed rotary dial, much like that which characterizes BMW's iDrive system.

2021-2022 Mazda 3 Hatchback Dashboard CarBuzz

In addition, the test noted that the air conditioning system is operated using buttons and rotary controls below the infotainment display, which makes it easy to adjust the climate control without taking your eyes off the road. The availability of a head-up display further enhances its appeal because the test noted that this system is displayed in the driver's natural field of vision. Clearly, the trend of fitting larger screens to cars could prove to be unsafe. There's no doubt that it's distracting, at the very least. But in a Mazda, the touch function is disabled while driving to bolster safety.

Interestingly, Stellantis-owned French automaker DS made news recently when its design boss, Thierry Metroz, said that touchscreens are ugly and silly and that the automaker is researching the viability of new tech that may one day replace screens.

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Similarly, Matthias Junghanns, Head of BMW i Interior Design, has gone on record saying that we will eventually get over this obsession with enormous screens. But when? For the time being, the trend for automakers from Kia to Ford to Mercedes is focused on bigger and more capable screens. Sadly, it will be some time before this trend is reversed.

For a start, huge screens act as symbols of high tech, and the younger generations of car buyers have grown up around screens, thanks to smartphones, iPads, gaming consoles, and other gadgets. These large screens are certainly more Instagrammable than something that is defined by physical buttons and knobs. That said, we wouldn't bet against the NHTSA someday proclaiming that car interior screens can't be bigger than a certain size, can't operate under certain conditions, or something similar. Until then, Mazda appears to provide the safest way to interact with a car.

2019-2022 Mazda 3 Sedan Central Control Panel CarBuzz

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2019-2022 Mazda 3 Sedan Central Control Panel
2021-2022 Mazda 3 Hatchback Dashboard
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