I bought my 1996 civic 3 years ago. I've put the work into it that it needed replacing cv axles, ball joints, control arms etc... I attribute these things to previous owner errors. This has been the best car! It's small but not cramped. I have 3 kids and we all fit. Mine is a 5 speed standard transmission and I routinely get 37-39 combined MPG! I HAVE ~240,000 miles on this car with the original transmission, clutch and engine. She's still running strong and is well worth every penny I have into her. If taken care of properly, this car will go forever! Buying seals from auto parts stores will not fix any leakage problem; buy direct from dealer.
I bought my civic in 1999 with 37,000 miles on it. We're in 2009 and it has 180,000 miles now. I have had no issues with it whatsoever, just the normal maintenance. It has been so reliable and dependable. Gas mileage is great! Honda knows what they're doing!
The moon roof is nice during hot days. Sound system is exceptional! Use to be able to fill up for $12 dollars and now with a little higher gas prices it's around $17 dollars.
Why did they stop making cars like this? Underpowered fuel-sippers with lots of passenger and trunk space. Who cares if you can't take off fast? I'm getting 38mpg. This Honda is 13 years old and it's better than any car I've ever owned. Sure, it's got a few dings and scratches, and there's a little surface rust on the fenders, but that's to be expected when salt is sprayed on the roads all winter. The transmission's still tight and smooth, everything works, and it's the most reliable vehicle in my driveway. On a few occasions this winter it's been used to jumpstart two much newer vehicles on really cold mornings. This is definitely not my last Honda. It has 125,000 miles on it and runs great.
Smooth manual transmission, great fuel economy, stable and predictable handling, light weight, big trunk, good rear legroom and headroom, remote trunk and fuel door release.
I have owned my car for about ten years. It has been from New england to Florida a few times. It's been so reliable that I would recommend this car to anyone who wants very little headaches and does not obsess over transportation. In ten years of ownership It's been in the shop for CV joints, for an electrical malfunction in gas tank and for power window regulators, all 3+ years apart! What more can you say about that? Oh yes, tires and brakes are inexpensive. The car is so simple to work on that you can 80% of the repairs yourself, if handy. Car has 163K on it, bought it with 30K. I've waxed the car, so rust is just now starting on fender.
The car is easy to park and easy on fuel-15 bucks to fill at 1.80. I love the split folding seats and excellent fit and finish. Auto tranny is smooth. It's unbelievable in the snow, get good tires.
Car is bit small for me, 6 feet tall, but doable. The engine on this year model is not very powerful, so you really have to step on it to merge with traffic. That's all been fixed in newer models. It needs fog lights.
I recently bought a '96 Civic EX for commuting back and forth to and from work. For a 13-year-old car, I was surprised to find that all of the little extras (power windows, A/C, remote trunk/gas door releases, cruise, etc.) still worked great. I took the car to a friend's place (he's a mechanic by trade) and put it up on his hoist, and for a car that's been subjected to Canadian winters all its life, there's surprisingly little rust. I had a few things to change, such as the gas tank, fuel lines, a shifter assembly bushing and a CV boot, but these are all fairly common things for a car this age in Canada to need. It has no guts whatsoever, but it's comfortable, cheap on gas and looks great
Everything you need is comfortably within reach; gas tank is on driver's side; trunk is surprisingly roomy; 60/40 rear seat; separate radio/cassette allows you to upgrade the cassette to CD/MP3 without removing factory head unit, illuminated Honda logo on trunk lid (might be aftermarket).
Cruise control fluctuates as much as 20 Km/h, and you have to let it drop your speed by ~10 Km/h before it takes over and brings it back up to where you set it. Really, that's it.