I sold my 97 Accord EX coupe due to its weight, and bulkiness, but the fuel economy and reliablilty always amazed me. I chose the 2000 Civic Si over the 05 Mazda3, 03 Civic Si, 05 Corolla XRS, Cobalt, RSX-s, Sentra SE-R V, and the 04 Lancer evo (not enough $$). After owning it for over a year, i've noticed how much of a gas saver this car can be if one is easy with the pedals. I've actually documented 30city/34hwy mpg several times after a tuneup was done. It's also very easy and inexpensive to maintain. So far I have had no problems at all. I'm literally in love with this car! I highly recommend a (92-present year) civic (any model) for a High School/College student or a first time buyer!
Si package, red interior lighting, appealing style, sunroof, SULEV greencar status (environment friendly), its near perfect handling, reliablilty, easy and inexpensive to maintain, fuel economy, very roomy for a coupe (which is good because I'm a college student that hauls many books and papers).
Internal antenna, bigger/wider rims and wheels for better handling, a sporty black on red interior cloth like the Mazda3, 3 spoke steering wheel with mounted stereo buttons (for safety purposes), 6th gear, more low end torque, better fuel economy (it's great as it is, but I know it's possible).