Bought my automatic 98 civic hatchback in '99 because they had great reviews in terms of reliability. It was fun to drive and got great mileage. Looked good and was small and nimble. I did not wash often enough, but body held up well. I drove about 13000 miles/yr. Lousy stereo. My AC compressor and transmission both died when it was 5 yrs old. The interior felt cheap, rattled, and wore out quickly. Tail lights leaked water and got inside the spare tire area. My manifold cracked after 6 years and had to be replaced. Driver side manual window crank broke after 6 years. Engine lacked power, uphills it dogged.
Small and easy to park, zipped around city streets, great mileage, consistent 27-32mpg held up in accidents. Plenty of cargo with rear seats down, stylish.
Lots of road noise, silence it! Improve the interior quality, more power with same mileage, improve stereo quality.