Mazda is one of the few Japanese car companies which even seems to know about the 'lane-change' turn signal.
You know the deal - a light touch on the turn signal lever gives you three flashes, just what you need to indicate a lane change on the highway.
Seems like a tiny little thing, until you drive with it for a while.
Then it becomes what I call a 'forehead-slapper':
[SMACK!] "Why didn't I think of that?!?"
And when you subsequently get into a car that doesn't have it, you ask - why not? It makes so much sense.
As far as I know, it started where most clever engineering tricks do: in Germany. I had to buy an added piece of wiring harness to fit it to my 2003 VW Jetta - it was standard in Germany at the time, but for whatever reason, not here. I bought my conversion kit from ECS Tuning in the States; I didn't know you can get it from any VW dealer.
Anyway, most domestic cars now also have the 'lane-change' turn signal, thanks in no small part to the degree of German engineering in all of them: General Motors - Opel; Ford - Ford of Europe; Chrysler - (formerly) Mercedes.
Virtually all Korean cars have adopted it.
But the Japanese?
Not so much.
Seems to me it was standard on Mazdas of recent vintage - certainly, some of them had it.
But I have just gone through a string of 2012 Mazda models - CX-5, Mazda3 SkyActiv, Mazda6, MX-5 - and not one of them had it.
So, to the Owners Manuals (which must be the fattest in the industry).
Only to discover than in three of the four cars, this feature is 'programmable' - but only by your dealer!
What? Where's the sense in that? Surely (a) it should be standard anyway, and (b) if for whatever reason someone did not want it, it should be programmable by the driver.
After all, you can disable the damnably irritating automatic door locks yourself, as you should be able to do - why can't you program the 'lane-change' turn signal to your personal preference? Why restrict this to the dealer?
The strangest thing about all this is that Mazda itself labels this feature 'Smart Turn', with the clear implication being that anything else is 'Stupid'.
Which of course it is.
So, why do they make the 'Stupid' option the default option? Surely, they should give drivers the benefit of the doubt - about being 'smart' I mean - and force the 'stupid' ones to get the dealer to make the change.
BTW, I mentioned that this feature is programmable in three out of the four cars I mentioned above.
According to the Owners Manual for the MX-5, this otherwise delightful car does not even allow your dealer to enable this.
Maybe when they dropped the 'Miata' name they started getting stupid elsewhere too.
Anyone from Mazda got an answer?