Looked around at new 2006 Civics and stumbled across a nice loaded 2001 EX coupe with low mileage (34k), Honda certified, for less than half of the price of a new 2006 coupe (<$10k). Very spacious, smooth, nice features, ergonomic interior. You'll have to pry this car out of my hands in 10 years - unless you can find me something else that gets good mpg, is comfortable and fun to own, is extremely safe, and holds its value as well as the 7th gen Civic. I'm waiting, meanwhile I'll be cruising in my Honda getting 38 worry-free miles per gallon.
Comfortable seats and tilt wheel - easy to fit and good visibility. Gas mileage. Safety. Reliability. Sliding passenger seat makes easy back-seat access. "Progressive" suspension - low body roll but compliant ride.
Make a hatch available, or make the suicide doors like the Saturn ION. Better "pitch" adjustment on the seat. I think this year was the first for the variable-assist power steering - there is a discrete step between low-speed high power and medium-speed low power.