Behind the Wheel: 2012 Mazda 3i Review

I recently had the pleasure of driving around Raleigh, NC in a 2012 Mazda 3i Grand Touring 4-Door sedan. I currently drive a minivan and I love it. But I was intrigued by the promise of high gas mileage and a smaller footprint. I also wanted to put this car through the “mom test” to see if it could hold up to lugging two kids around.

This is a sweet car. Everything is digital from the radio to the in dash GPS and all can be controlled from the steering wheel. The car also comes with blue-tooth capability which I sadly couldn’t seem to figure out. However, if I owned this car I would have tried harder so I could chat on the phone hands-free or listen to Pandora via my iPhone!

The cup holders were a bit lacking. The picture above is the only place I found to store drinks. As a mom who constantly has some kind of caffeinated drink or water in hand and two boys with sippy cups, this is already one cup holder short. Couple that with the fact that the little door takes up some of the space and I found that most of our sippy cups were too big to fit.

I loved driving the car though and truth be told, if we were to purchase a car like the Mazda 3, it would be the second car and not the work horse that I am used to driving around. The gas mileage is AMAZING. The car gets upwards of 500 miles to the tank and I was completely skeptical of this. However, after driving it for a week we didn’t even crack half the tank. That would add up to a huge savings on gas!

Just for fun, we took a day trip about 40 minutes away to see how the boys fared in the back seat. The two pictures are of their car seats  installed and them about to go for a ride. I wanted to include this to say that while we felt cramped as a family of four in this car, it CAN be done – and it wasn’t awful by any stretch. My husband is 6 foot 6 and I am 5 foot 7 so we are not small people. This definitely contributed to the overall fit for us (my husband’s head touched the ceiling).

All around, this was a really fun car and would be absolutely perfect for single people or as a “city car”. I was completely impressed with the mileage and overall quality of the drive. In fact, if it were just me and the boys, I would be totally comfortable in this car. Adding the 4th person was what cancelled it out as an option for our family. But since we are shopping for a second car, I am so grateful that we had the chance to check out the Mazda 3i!

What do you look for when car shopping?


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