The Mazda3 is the most popular car sold in the US sold by Mazda, by an impressive margin. The company sells three Mazda3s for every Mazda6 sold, the company’s second best seller. Having enjoyed the thrill of the Mazdaspeed3 last December, it was time to sample the 3 in a package the majority of Mazda3 owners live with. My request to Mazda’s press fleet was for the four door model, since I was already familiar with the five-door. I was given two choices-the base engine 3i with a 5-speed manual, or the more desirable, more powerful 3s with a 5-speed automatic. As you can see, I opted for the less powerful 3i. Sure, I am a sucker for a car with three pedals, but wanted to learn more about the 3i.
You see, the Mazda3 is hailed as a fantastic little sports sedan by the press, and rightfully so. But the car the press drives most often is the Mazda3s. The base Mazda3i is generally overlooked by the glossy magazines. Having experienced the Mazda3 in its most powerful, outrageous form, the only logical step was to go the other extreme. Would the Mazda3i bore me to death, or does it maintain the company’s promise of “zoom zoom” in every car it builds? Read on to find out!