I test drove the Civic and the Corolla, and the Corolla was faster, tighter and got better mileage. I still wanted something quicker and tried the XRS. It was WELL worth the extra money. I LOVE driving this car! That said, the power curve is not at all smooth and I've adjusted how I drive to compensate. You almost have to plan ahead. I put a graphite gear shifter knob on it which really improved my ability to "feel" the gears and shift with accuracy. The car pushes a little around corners, but I guess that's safer than the alternative. I didn't know it only took premium until after two tanks of regular. I don't like paying more for gas, but it's still worth it.
Exciting power jump at 7K RPM, decent cornering, 6 disk CD changer, sport seats with side supports, 4 doors, remote power locks.
Fix the power band. It's very peaky and it waits too long to kick in so there is a totally stupid power gap between 65 and 75 MPH - right were I want it most. So you wind up passing in 2nd gear on the freeway!!! What I wouldn't do for an aftermarket ECU.