Mazda MX-5 2018 rf

2019 Mazda MX-5 RF long-term review: Infotainment

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In this update, we put the spotlight on the MX-5's infotainment system.
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MZD Connect has been around locally since 2014 and is a relatively easy unit to operate, but it’s starting to show its age, as we have found in our long-termer, the 2019 Mazda MX-5 RF.

However, to keep up with growing technology trends, Mazda announced last year Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can be retrofitted for $494.98, but, at the time of writing, our MX-5 was on the waiting list to receive the update, so we cannot report on that for the time being. (Although you can see our Facebook video here, using both in the updated Mazda 6.)

The system is a simplistic design. While it doesn’t have entirely crisp graphics, it is still easy to read, and the screen itself is fixed high on the dash for easy vision. It becomes a touchscreen when the car is stationary, but once moving, it can only be operated via the rotary control dial in the centre console.

Placed in the centre console are shortcut buttons for Home, Favourites, Entertainment, Nav, and Back. They are designed to be used while on the move and are cleverly placed, with one of the most used buttons, ‘Back’ in an accessible place for the thumb.

You can customise the ‘favourites’ button to any radio station, contact, or navigation destination, which saves a stack of time and is quite handy. A volume knob is also amongst the cluster for access for the passenger. Meanwhile, the main menu comprises of five icons; Applications, Entertainment, Communication, Navigation, and Settings.

If you enjoy drive-in movies or listening to music with the ignition turned on, the unit will turn itself off in 20 minutes. It also takes 13-seconds for a phone to reconnect itself after its initial first connection, and a further five seconds for contacts to import, which isn’t too bad.

The rear-view camera has a single fisheye view and is a little obstructed by the bodywork around the border, but the quality is much clearer than the likes of the CX-9.

Voice command can be operated via one of the steering wheel buttons and can be a bit hit and miss. It is very accurate when it comes to making calls, but not so much with setting satellite navigation destinations, misunderstanding addresses even when they are clearly spoken.

The driver information screen has all the basic info a sports car needs, including fuel gauge, economy, and range, along with two trip meters, a maintenance monitor, and outside temperature. The instrument cluster has the tachometer placed in the middle, and depending if you’re not really confident with manual shifting, a gear change guide is there to help. There is no digital speedo.

The MX-5’s infotainment is now five years old, but it is easy for anyone to use, and has all the basic features you need in an affordable sports car.

2019 Mazda MX-5 RF

  • Odometer reading: 1867kms
  • Travel since previous update: 833kms
  • Fuel consumption since previous update: 7.0L/100kms