If you own or have read our many reviews of Mazda products, then you know that the entire human-machine interface is unlike most other cars on the road today, which are built around some sort of touchscreen. And the multimedia system that powers the center display isn’t the most inspiring, nor the easiest to use.
Still, there are those who will tell you that this is the best interface in the industry.
Recently, the German automobile association Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (ADAC), the largest of its kind in all of Europe, conducted a study in collaboration with the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences to determine which compact cars have the safest infotainment systems.
The Mazda3 came out on top as experts praised the fact that infotainment, navigation and other vehicle functions are controlled via an ergonomically placed rotary knob, similar to those found in BMW cars. They said this setup reduces distraction while driving compared to repeatedly tapping a touchscreen in another vehicle.
To be clear, Mazda does have touchscreens, but they can only be used when parked. The touch function is disabled while driving to increase safety.
The ADAC also noted how the Mazda3’s screen is mounted close to the windshield and in the driver’s field of vision, how the available head-up display provides key information at a glance and how the simple HVAC controls below the screen make it easy. to adjust the temperature and ventilation without taking your eyes off the road.
Do you think Mazda’s HMI approach is really the best and should be followed by other car companies? When you look at all these new models arriving with major digital interfaces, from Tesla to Kia to startups like VinFast and Fisker, it doesn’t seem to be.
If you ask Matthias Junghanns, head of BMW i Interior Design, he’ll tell you that the auto industry’s obsession with giant screens will eventually subside – even as younger car buyers see them as extensions of their smartphones, tablets, game consoles and other gadgets.