When released in 2006, Honda Civic was streets ahead of the competition.
In terms of design, it still holds its own. the dash features a large digital speedo and other essential gauges split away from less important ones such that the driver can keep his eyes on the road and still read the speedo (without a head-up display). All other controls fall conveniently to hand - cruise control, stereo, HVAC etc.
The car market has become more competitive and integrated new technology over the last 6 years. Accordingly, Honda has incrementally added spec in line with market expectations. Hence, Bluetooth on the A-pillar. Yes it's an afterthought but at least it's included. Stability Control and additional airbags were added along the way too. Limited Edition adds rear parking sensors, alloy wheels and a few other niceties.
Performance is a Honda strong point. Manual transmission is smooth. Civic was among the first cars in its class to offer a 5sp auto - some others still make do with a 4sp.The 1.8L engine is quiet, smooth and economical. It loves to rev. The iVTec kicks in at 3500rpm.
With Honda's signature double wishbone (rear) suspension, handling is sporty. I would prefer a double wishbone front suspension too. The car can corner at speed without feeling like a boat.
I don't understand the popularity of Mazdas when Hondas are better designed, better built, better equipped, better performing, and better value. Sure they may cost a little more, but one gets what one pays for.
Honda had a stroke of bad luck last year with natural disasters in Japan and Thailand. They are doing some fantastic deals at the moment.