I bought my Civic new in 1998 and kept it for nearly 11 years. In that time I had to make only two unscheduled repairs: first to replace the muffler and then the power window regulator. Overall it's been a great car - reliable, fuel efficient, and pretty fun to drive, especially with the manual transmission.
Stellar reliability - these cars easily hit 200K miles with minimal repairs; fuel efficiency - I routinely get around 34 mpg.
Reduce road/engine noise; improve exterior paint (wears easily especially if exposed to a lot of sun)... that's about it.