Figuring the Mazda 3 is your typical intermediate car, I was surprised by the complexity involved finding good places to mount a phone or GPS. You can completely forget about a tablet, not enough space in this smaller vehicle.
A photo of the interior of a Mazda 3 accompanies this article. A surprisingly long reach to the windshield complicated by a strange console popping up from the dash. This popup console complicates a lot of mounting possibilities and completely voids the potential to mount anything to the dashboard.
Equally as difficult will be using a CD player mount. Why? Because there isn’t one. This is a trend we are seeing in more vehicles as manufacturers are removing these to reduce their cost.
The cup holder is another of our go to locations especially for tablets. However, the cup holders are set too far back to be of any use as a mount location. With the seat all the way back, the cup holder location is still a bit too far back so we need to recommend against using this location for a Mazda 3.
The windshield is probably the best place to mount a phone or GPS. Be certain to mount it with enough clearance over that popup console so that the device (if it’s a phone) can easily rotate from landscape to portrait without hitting the console.
The mount you see in the photo with this article is the Arkon MegaGrip Suction Cup Windshield and Dash Mount. The mount deploys a vacuum locked suction assembly which is attached to a pivoting arm. The phone can swivel into landscape or portrait (remember to avoid the popup console).
Similar to the windshield mount but for a Garmin GPS is the Arkon Windshield Dash Garmin Nuvi Suction Mount. We have recommended this one for a long time in various vehicles. It’s an excellent mount that comes with a 2-year warranty. It’s more rugged and longer than the Garmin mount you received in the box. Can’t go wrong with this windshield mount.
The vent will work well in the Mazda 3. Nice basic horizontal vent slats. Consider the Square Jellyfish Jelly-Grip Car Air Vent Mount. The Square Jellyfish Jelly-Grip mount can be used to hold most smartphones or a Garmin GPS. You see, all Garmin vehicle GPS devices made over the past ten years include a custom cradle that has a 17mm socket on the back. Remove the cradle from the Jelly-Grip mount and you have a 17mm ball. Just snap the Garmin cradle onto the Jelly-Grip mount sans cradle and your GPS can be mounted to air vent.
The vent is probably the best location for states where windshield mounts might be illegal.
The seat bolt location may actually work on the Mazda 3. The trick is going to be getting a screwdriver head that will fit the unusual pattern on the seat bolt. Why can’t they use a normal pattern? It looks like the seat rail slot is wide enough for any conventional seat bolt attachment. The seat bolt is a good location for a phone if not using it as a GPS. This location isn’t near eye level, so use it for situations where you don’t need to refer to it in a driving situation. So this will rule out the seat bolt as a GPS location as well.
Consider the Arkon Car Seat Bolt Floor Mount for Smartphones. The flexible mount stem is 18 inches high tip to tip. The accompanying cradle expands to 3.4 inches with the push of a button. It swivels into portrait or landscape.
So in summary, thumbs up to the windshield and vent. The seat bolt gets a sideways thumb. Thumbs down to the cup holder, CD player and dash.