I previously owned a 1.8 Turbo Volkswagen Jetta that had some serious pep for a 4cyl engine. However, the thing was falling apart and overall my experience was poor. I was drawn to the Civic because of its reputation for reliability, fuel economy, and its nice design. After nearly 3,000 miles on the car, I'm happy with my purchase. It's not as much fun to drive as the Jetta, but the 5 speed manual offers some excitement and better all-around control over the car. I ended up going with the EX-L because on the 2009's it's the only version that offers stability control (VSA). Also, it's worth noting that I'm relatively tall (6'4"), and I fit very comfortably in the driver's seat.
Steering wheel audio controls, USB port for iphone/ipod, stability control, sunroof, digital split speedometer, remote trunk release, fuel economy (not really a feature, but I'm averaging about 32 mpg in 50-50 city/highway driving).
Trying to control 5,000+ songs on my ipod is difficult through the car's audio controls (you have to slowly scroll if you want to change artists), but that's really nitpicking. Maybe a little bit more power, though I realize that would compromise mpg's.