by Nigel Rowand
Date Added: Saturday 12 September, 2020
Big improvement! It's a lot of money but so convenient and really enhances the usability of the roof. The ability to simply flick the button and have the roof be auto closing as I manouvre into my driveway is very nice (OK, not exactly essential, but then either is a sports car (or so they tell me)). I have mine set to one-touch operation and enabled up to 50km/h (31mph) and already I've seen the benefits of these settings.
Fitting is easy.
I plugged the unit into my computer and checked that the firmware was up to date using the m4connect program (link is in the instruction PDF). The firmware was indeed up to date.
Then I configured the unit in the way that I wanted also using m4connect. All the options can be configured by pressing various combinations of the roof control button in the car but the point-and-click interface of the program is easier.
Fitting itself was straight forward and pretty easy: remove some plastic trim from the sill and behind the seats, remove some electrical plugs, plug in the new harness for the unit, plug the unit in to the harness and reassemble everything. It probably only takes about half an hour.
It's a bit fiddly working under/behind a semi-removed propped up plastic trim panel behind the seat but you only need to access one nut and two plugs under there so it's not that big a deal.
The instructions are very clear. The only thing that I wasn't sure about was that the instructions show a picture of a LHD car and mine is RHD. I suspected things would be the same in either layout but, just to confirm - they are (i.e. you need to access the left side in both car configurations - in LHD the unit goes behind the driver's seat, in RHD behind the passenger).
Removal (should I need/want to do it) will also be easy (just a reversal of fitting). Once removed, the car will be exactly as it was - there is no cutting, drilling, soldering, Scotchblocks or anything like that involved during fitting.
Rather than use the double-sided sticky pad provided to fix the unit in place, I used a bit of sticky velcro to attach the unit to the carpet behind the trim panels. That was just a personal preference and it will make removal even easier.
Any downsides? Kind of, but not really (or probably not really possible to address). It would be nice if the unit could somehow have some software that allows it to be configured using the Mazda Connect screen. I understand why that simply might not be possible (i.e. a third party device hacking into the car's system). However, perhaps a 'phone app (possibly even Andoid Auto enabled) that could somehow interface with the unit (bluetooth?) could be something for future development for these kinds of units?
As it is, unless you plug a laptop or something into the unit in the car (possible via the USB cable provided with the unit that you can leave poking out from the trim behind the seat), you have to rely on using different combinations and durations of presses of the roof control button and listening to combinations of beeps from the car warning buzzer to tell you the state of the various options for the unit. It's a little clumsy.
Ultimately, better configuration control is just a "nice to have" and once you have your preferences set, you will have little reason to change them. However, the instructions do recommend disabling the unit before you put the car into a garage for servicing etc. so some sort of off-switch that is easier than disabling via the roof-button configuration combinations would have been nice.
I'm also not really sure why so many options for speed limits exist (0, 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 km/h) but that's hardly a drawback. I just picked 50 (31mph) but I guess if someone wants the other values, they are available to them.
Short version of the above: pricey, easy to fit, can be removed cleanly, enhances the roof operation significantly, configuration via computer is straightforward, configuration using in-car buttons is clumsier but will rarely be needed. A worthwhile enhancement in my opinion.