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October 6, 2019

The Mazda3 Owner's Manual Teaches You How to Unlock Jinba-Ittai

For those of us who test drive cars regularly, seeing the owner’s manual is a luxury. Carmakers often remove anything that isn’t bolted down (SD cards, power point covers, owner’s manual) for fear that these little things might end up on eBay or Carousell (yes, there are some journos that do this). Mazda though has trusted us with the owner’s manual for the all-new Mazda3 (full review soon), and this is what we found.

It’s a thick boy, measuring around 30 millimeters (1.18 inches) and that’s not including the separate leaflet on some updated iStop features. The “quick guide” is already 46 pages long while the rest of the detailed manual clocks in at 676 pages.

For car geeks, it makes for an interesting Sunday read and brings out even more hidden features of the Mazda3 like how its power memory seats can be tied to the key fobs (press and hold “set” while holding the key’s “unlock” button), or how despite the lack of an L mode in its shifter, it actually has an L mode (shift the gearlever to the plus ‘+’ mode at speeds less than 10 km/h; a second toggle of the plus ‘+’ or minus ‘-’ disengages it).

However, the most intriguing part of the manual and one that can be used on any other Mazda, or likely any other vehicle, is how to get the proper driving position. This six-step method is prescribed by Mazda for anyone who wants to unlock the full Jinba-Ittai experience of their car.

Step 1 – Adjust the Seatback Angle Recline

With your posture slightly slouched, move the seatback forward to the angle where your waist feels slightly cramped.

Then, move the seatback backward to a comfortable seated posture without any feeling of cramping in your waist.

Step 2 – Adjust the Seat Position Forward and Back

Place your left foot on the footrest, your right foot between the accelerator and brake pedals, and position your heel to the position allowing easy switching between the pedals.

With your heel set on the floor, set your right foot on the brake pedal and move the seat forward as far as possible until you feel a slight cramping in your ankle.

With your right foot set on the brake pedal, move the seat back until you no longer feel cramping in your ankle.

With your heel set on the floor, make sure you can move your foot between the brake and accelerator pedal smoothly.

Depress the accelerator pedal completely with your heel set on the floor and make sure that your ankle does not feel over-stretched.

Step 3 – Adjust the Seat Height

With your back resting against the seatback, raise the seat to a height where you can see the rear edge area of the hood surface from the windshield.

Step 4 – Adjust the Front Edge Seat Height

With your foot set on the accelerator pedal, adjust the height on the front edge of the seat bottom so that the back of your knees lightly contacts the front edge of the seat bottom.

Depress the accelerator pedal and make sure that you no longer feel cramping in the back of your knees.

Step 5 – Adjust the Steering Wheel

With your back resting against the seatback, extend both arms, place them on the top of the steering wheel, and pull the steering wheel towards you to the position of your wrists.

Adjust the steering wheel height so that the gauges can be viewed easily.

Step 6 – Adjust the Head Restraint

Adjust the head restraint so that the center is even with the top of the ears.

We’re pretty sure there’s still lots of little nuggets to be discovered in the owner’s manual, but that’s perhaps something best left for another day. But great as having a Bible-like geek book in the glovebox, the days of the owner’s manual might be numbered, at least for Mazda. It’s been announced previously that the carmaker is working on integrating it into future versions of the Mazda Connect system.


  1. Replies
    1. L or "Low" mode keeps the gears to the first gear. Normally used for increased traction/power in certain situations.


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