Same here, although I didn't have a CVT 'box I had a 1.0 three cylinder SE. It was terrible to live with, literally sounded like half a V6 and I didn't see great returns in terms of MPG. 6 months on I cleared the finance and went for the Sport (manual). On initial test drive I came across the current Focus ST on the road and after some spirited driving, it held it's own. After that, I decided to take the plunge.
180-190 bhp is warm hatch territory and go back ten years or so it would have definitely been a hot hatch. After reading into the L15B I found out that Honda have an in built turbo lag, which for me became slightly annoying when having to waiting for something to happen when booting it, sometimes up to 2 seconds.
I found that Hondata had released the Flashpro for the 10th gen civic sport. No brainer. It's a completely different beast and it now hangs with the likes of the (pre-face lift) current manual Audi S3.
With the deletion of rev hang, addition of flat foot shifting and almost minimal turbo lag (plus more booooost) it's a proper sleeper and I couldn't be happier with it.
I've had no issues with the car at all in my ownership since December 17. Nothing mechanical anyway. Honda's renowned thin and soft paint is a bug bear, especially as a hobbiest detailer. Anti-glare coating on the screen scratches too easily and sends my OCD through the roof on a sunny day. Speaking of the entertainment system, I would recommend the use of the honda hack app. It's a bit of a faff getting it on there, but with the likes of Netflix and youtube for the kids it's a win win. Kids love the car, it's quiet, plenty of space in the back. Put the car side by side to the current BMW 3 series and you'd be hard pressed to call it. It's a big car as Chris Harris said in his review of the Type R. I would have liked to see the US Civic SI seats in there seeing as it's supposed to be a mid range car between to 1 litre triple and Type R. But alas, we only make the bloody thing in the UK, not like we contribute much in any way is it.
Great car. love it.