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.