I've often thought about doing the same thing, but never driven a 2. How does it compare to your 3? Does it feel "cheaper" at all? I'm sure it's a fun car, being so light.
Its basically a clown car. A ridiculously fun to drive clown car.
It feels very minimalistic(mine has no cruise, no center console arm rest), but a very high quality and solid interior, just like the 3 IMO.
The steering feels amazing, you get feedback a lot more than the 3, though the steering is lighter.
It is slow, the 1-2 shift is disappointing if you're trying to go full speed ahead due to the rpm drop and low redline(6000). An ECU tune will help that some in the future. I don't find it a problem daily driving when you're not full throttle everywhere.
Handling is where it shines. This is the only FWD car I've ever driven that scared me on the street... the damn thing oversteered on me when I was hot dogging around a corner. DSC kicked in and actually worked well to keep from spinning.
Braking: again holy shit this little car can stop something ridiculous. My Mazda3 could stop pretty well, but it didn't wow me at high speeds(remember I had the "I" sedan with small rotors). This car is pretty impressive stopping. When it comes time to do brakes I'll just get all OEM parts for it. Pedal feel is excellent.
As for the back seat, not for tall people(say 5'11 and up) or for seating 3 adults back there(not enough side to side room). Works great for a car seat and a little one in the center. Its actually easier to get my son in/out of this than my 3 sedan.
I only ever really have my wife and kid with me, and normally its in the Ford Fusion, this car is seldom used for all of us, I need a back seat for the occasion that I need to get my son from daycare or drop him off.
Front seats are really very similar to the 3. Great bolstering.
Clutch pedal is very light. Little weird to get used to but I'm getting there. Biggest thing is its so damn quiet, so its hard to rev match and take off initially.
Not having cruise is a bit of a bummer, but the 2 throttle pedal/leg positioning/area of the console that I rest my leg against is nicer than the 3 so my foot doesn't get fatigued like in the 3(in the 3 I HAD to drive with my thumbs everywhere if speed was constant for more than 15 seconds).
If there is anything else you want to know about just ask.
On a side note if you see an 09 3i burgundy with yellow fogs at Carmax, its got a filled OEM motor mount and is ready for a dynotronics tune if you PM me.