I bought this car as an upgrade from my 1996 hatch and it was a definite change. There is definitely more power and throwing in power steering doesn't hurt the situation. The power in the car won't put you pack in your seat (maybe at the higher end of first gear), but it's a nice change from the paltry 106 hp of the lower end models. The car has done nothing but run great for me. The only problems I've had are that the alignment of my driver's side window motor turned bad, but I fix all things myself and it was quite easy. The other problem was that the exhaust pipe rusted through, which was also a problem on my other Honda. Again, not much of a problem and an easy fix.
To me the overall look is great and it still has the compact feel that got lost in later designs. The engine is peppy enough to provide for some fun and the handling only helps for coming fast out of turns... legally. All power options also helped turn me to the car.
Adding more power would have been nice, but that was addressed in later Si models, though torque is still a problem. Maybe offer a better looking interior, luxury wise, even though it is at heart an economy car. As with all older Hondas, better rust protection couldn't hurt either.
Bought it as a new car in 2000 (first Honda car), with the idea to keep it for about 5 years. After 8 1/2 yrs and 100K I still cannot convince myself to give it away. As other people have mentioned, it only needs gas besides scheduled maintenance. I did not have to change as much as a light bulb outside maintenance. Great mileage 30-32 in suburban traffic, 36 on the hwy. Drove it 2500 miles across US during moving in only 3 days: no problem. Incredibly stable and agile considering it's a small car with 106 hp. Next one will be a Honda for sure ...
Gas mileage, stability at any speed, agile handling.
CD/MP3 player should have been standard, same for keyless entry.
I love my civic! It is spunky and has great torque for being a 4 cyl. I always get compliments for the sharpness of the gas and the incredible feel of the brake system. Wonderful car! Only major problem was with exhaust manifold, but a great dealership replaced it for free because it was a recall on many civics (you can look up the vin to see if it qualifies).
Perfect size! Large trunk with fold down back seats! Gas mileage decent. I get 35-37 hwy, 28-29 city.
Make the cup holders not underneath the dash so that taller cups fit. The only "bad" thing about this car is that it is so great, I have no valid excuses to upgrade to a newer model....hahaha.
Driven the car to San Diego from Bayarea and to Reno. Gas mileage 33- 37 MPG is comparable to Civic Hybrid 41 MPG (had 04'Hybrid). Do not bother to purchase Civic hybrid cos it will not get even close to 45 MPG let alone 50 MPG. Sold it and bought yr 2000 for the better power and better driving experience than my other 4-dr 01' EX. Not sure bout Civic EX 2002-2008 version of Civic.
EX power & heavier/smooth handling feel than 01' EX. Interior design superior than 01' except it doesn't have an immobilizer.
Poor noise-insulation from road/exterior. May 1 2 consider anther car for long distance drive. Careful w/ seat belt. Was faulty due to faulty unable-to-release-retractor while driving in the desert;had to cut the belt as it tighten. Paid $300 to replace; should have been taken care by Honda manufacturer