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I have an '08 model and have experienced the hard shifting from 1st to 2nd and occasionally (but to a much lesser degree) 2nd to 3rd.
I've flushed the transmission fluid when I got my 50,000 mile tune-up but after a while the issue resurfaced.
Since then I've done some driving and experimenting during my trips back from work (I only drive using the sport shifter) and I've found two decent (though not perfect) workarounds for the situation... Of course, none of this is scientifically based and your mileage may vary (I take no responsibility if you try out what I said, but it would be cool if you did so I can verify it's not my own imagination) but this is just an account of what worked for me. :P
I originally noticed the severity of this issue was heavily dependent on the timing of the reapplication of the accelerator upon release of the gas pedal prior to shifting. I've had some extremely hard shifts because I had applied the gas too early. I don't know if it's just my car but the engine tends to hang for a 1/4-1/2 second or so before the next gear kicks in, especially on the low gears. What I originally did to mitigate this issue was to leave my foot on the gas at a constant pressure when I shifted from 1st to 2nd and then shift as I normally did after that. This worked reasonably well, but I felt that there had to be a better way to get around this issue so I kept experimenting.
What I found worked even better was right before changing gears, to let go of the gas, upshift and then immediately reapply pressure to the accelerator (the same amount of pressure to the accelerator before you had lifted off your foot). I found that the faster you do it, the shifts tend to be a lot smoother. Likewise, the longer the delay, the shift tends to crunch harder. Because of this tendency, execution of this method seems easier when you want to accelerate quickly because you're focused on making quick shifts but when you're just normally accelerating (e.g. moving along in bumper-to-bumper traffic) it's harder only because you're at a much relaxed level and the car requires a quick shift (in other words, it seems like too much effort on the part of the driver to continually make quick shifts when you're just cruising along). In any case, to help with the timing, I usually tap the dead pedal with my left foot as if it were some sort of clutch and match my upshift at the same time as the tap. The downside to this is, it works better when you have room to accelerate as you'll be hitting the gas pedal twice. If you're in traffic, it might save you more gas to just wait for the next gear to engage without leaving your foot on the gas.
On a side note, the smoothest shifts I've had were a variation of the above method where you smoothly ease up on the gas until it's almost off and then smoothly reapply it. I've done it accidentally a few times but you feel only a very subtle nudge because of the weight of the car but you don't hear nor feel anything from the gearbox. It's very rewarding feeling but my pedalwork isn't good so I usually just stick to the above method. :P