What I like about C++ is an extension of what I like about C. C has been described as structured assembly language. C was designed so that no feature extracted a runtime penalty that wasn't fairly small, and relatively obvious. Additionally C was designed so that you could describe almost anything that was happening on the machine's lowest level.
C++ shares many of these features. Yes, there are features that extract a runtime penalty that is a bit higher and not quite so obvious. Virtual functions and exceptions being good examples. But mostly it's the same idea as C.
I want a language like that. I want few or no hidden runtime costs for anything I express in the language. And I want the language to be complete enough that I can talk about things that happen at the level of reading and writing individual bits and bytes in specific locations in memory.
There are no languages I know of that give those features aside from C, C++ and possibly Ada. I think those are crucial to understanding the success of C and C++.
I definitely think there is room for a language in this niche. C++ has many features that are constrained by its history and way more complex than they need to be. The problem is that anybody who has ever aimed to replace it has misunderstood the fundamental attraction and made features like garbage collection be fundamental to the language when they have inobvious runtime costs and can significantly interfere with controlling what happens at the very lowest level.