The more I read and hear about the MK3 the more I am pleased I decided keep my MK2 and not to change to the newer one, most of the problems appear minor and niggling but unfortunately do nothing for Honda's reputation, I think it will be back to a Civic or I am considering the Toyota Auris.
Having had Mk1 and Mk2 before the Mk3 (all CVT) I have no hesitation in saying that the Mk3 is a big improvement. Not perfect and some evidence of quality drop but not as much as implied in this forum. (Some of it is weight reduction).
I appreciate the much maligned Infotainment system which has been mostly trouble free for me (two updates required).
The different driving characteristics are result the dual cycle and are what give the extra economy.
Biggest benefits for me are economy, steering and rear leg room. I still believe there is not another car with the same big inside-small outside capability. I have no qualms about taking adult passengers in the back for long journeys, and have fitted eight dining chairs in the car (not at the same time!).
Choosing with head instead of heart I don't think it has a serious rival for my priorities.