Compared to some of my previous daily drivers (cough! -- Lancer Evo -- cough!) the STI is extremely easy to live with. Even with the relatively hard-core Cusco coilovers, the ride is comfortable enough. And I had forgotten how useful and practical the hatchback layout is. Open hatch, pop down one seat, slide in a cat-back exhaust, box and all, and still have room for two passengers. It's quieter than older STI models, too. Talking with passengers doesn't require raising my voice.
I've come to appreciate the lighted steering wheel controls -- cruise control and audio functions are illuminated for easy identification at night.
The other part of STI ownership that I didn't expect is all the compliments and attention. At one gas stop I got three different people coming over and commenting on the car. I get thumbs up from random other drivers. One guy followed me to where I was going to ask about the car. Non-car people say things like, "I love your car! It's cool looking! What is it?" Not even the Evo got this kind of positive reaction.