I purely bought this car because I wanted this Civic. What one should be looking for when buying a Civic is, 5 year warranty, a very sporty looking sedan (one of the best looking sedans made till date), smooth revving nature of the engine, reliability, good handling and efficiency.
I do agree that the low down torque is not great but that is the way Honda engines are, you need to rev them to get the best out of it.
Performance can be bettered by using 98 Octane fuel. That harshness is mainly due to the Dunlop types IMO; Michelins would make the ride much better.
Space found in this car is way more than the Euro or the European entry level sedans. The Civic manual weighs about 1210kg for the manual whereas the Euro weighs 1580 odd. So there is this lightness which can be felt while driving.
With regards to long drives I drove from Brisbane to Sydney in 11 hrs and back 2 days later, absolutely no problem.
Honda cars are not expensive any more than the competition.
I love my Civic and would certainly recommend anyone to buy one.