The head-up display: it’s fighter-plane tech for your car. Here’s how it’ll change the way you drive.
13 November 2014

The all-new Mazda3's huge range of advanced on-board tech offers drivers a highly sophisticated ownership experience.

However, while it’s been raising the level of interactivity and connectivity in the small compact car segment to new heights, Mazda has never lost sight of the potential pitfalls such a wealth of technology can create. Information overload can be distracting, stressful and, if diverting your attention from the road ahead for more than a split second, downright dangerous. 

That's why the cockpit of the all-new Mazda3 features an innovative set of displays and controls that have been carefully crafted to help drivers easily digest this increased input – making the new technology as safe to use as possible.

One such example is the new Active Driving Display featured as standard on all Mazda3 Sport Nav models. It's one of the first vehicles in its segment to be equipped with a head-up system, which is perfect for ensuring the driver's eyes spend the maximum amount of time focused on the road.

Rising silently from the surface of the dashboard, the system's transparent screen provides drivers with real-time driving information. This includes vehicle speed; chosen cruise-control speed; information from the sat-nav system (including turn-by-turn directions, distance and lane guidance); as well as the operational status of the Mazda3's active safety systems such as Smart City Brake Support.

The Active Driving Display’s height can be adjusted via the vehicle's touch-screen or rotary dial-operated multimedia system, which means it projects information at a focal point around 1.5 metres ahead of the driver's eyes, minimising focal adjustment and eye movement between the display and the road ahead.

To avoid confusion, only three items of information appear simultaneously on the Active Driving Display at any time. The most important piece of data is always at the top, changing according to priority. For example, an urgent active safety warning will immediately displace current leading information, then change back again once the danger has passed.

Moreover, because no-one wants the distraction of a display brighter than the sun when driving at five o'clock on a February evening, the cool-blue display automatically adjusts to ambient light, or can be manually adjusted.

All other driver-related information can be found within the driver's instrument panel, which was completely redesigned for the all-new model and features a centred analogue tachometer with digital speedometer#. 

Mazda is offering zero deposit, 0% APR* Representative on Mazda Personal Contract Purchase for the all-new Mazda3. It’s available at participating dealers on vehicles registered between October 1st and December 31st, 2014, and you can pay the amount off over 24, 30, 36 or 42 months.

#Digital speedometer features on all-new Mazda3 Sport Nav models only.

For more information on the all-new Mazda3, visit

See our latest offers here: 

Retail sales only, subject to vehicle availability for vehicles registered between 01.10.14 and 31.12.14 at participating dealers. T&Cs apply. *0% finance available on all all-new Mazda3 models. You will not own the vehicle until all payments are made. Finance subject to status, 18s or over. Guarantee/indemnity may be required. Mazda Financial Services RH1 1SR.

Our Verdict

Mazda 3
The SkyActiv platform used in the 3 features more high and ultra-high-strength steel, offering greater strength and less weight

Mazda's SkyActiv revolution hits the family hatchback class

Join the debate


14 November 2014
What a shameless rehash of a press release! Is a single word of that written by Autocar?!?! This plastic screen HUD has been present in many a Peugeot for years now so this eulogising about a stupid plastic screen as the next best invention after the wheel really comes across as silly I have to say. Really guys cutting and pasting rubbish like this does not become a title like Autocar.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Dallara Stradale
    The Stradale is the first road-legel car from Italian motorsport constructor Dallara
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    The motorsport constructor's first road car is inspired by Lotus minimalism. Does it thrill on road and track?
  • Hyundai i30 N
    Standard spec is good so paint colour is our car’s only option
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    What’s Hyundai’s first hot hatch and N-brand debutant really like? Let’s find out
  • Porsche Boxster GTS
    This is the new GTS version of the Porsche Boxster
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The 718-generation Boxster is our favourite roadster of the moment – so is this new GTS variant worth the extra outlay?
  • BMW 5 Series
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The BMW 5 Series is top of the mid-exec pack, but is there still room for a diesel saloon in everyday family life?
  • Audi A7 front
    First Drive
    14 March 2018
    The new Audi A7 Sportback looks the part, but how does the new Mercedes-Benz CLS rival cope on UK roads? We find out