Before I got this car I had a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 which I love(d). But once I started grad school and began driving close to 400 miles per week, I needed something more economical but because I'm a car nut and feel that my car is a strong reflection of myself the list of cars I could afford, actually wanted and would save me enough money was veeeeery small.
I was about to get a Mini cooper when the owners bailed and then I came across a gold 2002 Civic Si on craigslist. Owner was asking $5000 which I felt was a bit high but because it was so clean and very stock I really didn't want to pass it up so I shelled out the money.
Being my first stick shift, it took me a few days to be able to drive the car proficiently and really enjoy what an awesome machine it is. Coming from my Jeep which was basically a 4wd muscle car (big engine, crude suspension and really only good in a straight line) to this car was like going from a hovercraft to a go-cart. This thing handles phenomenally well. (My car has lower, stiffer springs on it mind you). The seats hold you in tight and so far the car has only asked me to push it harder. Where my jeep was happiest at 1/3 to 3/4 throttle, the Civic Si is happiest when you're revving the nuts off of it. The car is a bit sluggish from a stop and 1st gear is really short but from then on it is just a blast. Surprisingly it does have some torque steer. I would highly recommend a cold air intake on this car if nothing else just for the induction noise. At about 3k rpm you get the start of a great engine growl what just gets bigger an louder especially once the vtec kicks in. But (on the stock exhaust) it's quiet enough for me to finally enjoy some classical music on the highway (when you aren't driving like Paul Walker of course).
The clutch is nice and light but very squeeky and bites in the upper half/upper third of the travel. The shifter could be notchier and have less play but the car does have 92000 miles on it.
It isn't the fastest thing in the world, in fact my old jeep is probably faster, but that is not at all why I bought the civic. I'd already had a car that was fast but I found that I rarely ever got to use all the power and because it was an automatic, the only time I really ever enjoyed the car was when I was flooring it (which was almost never). The 2002 civic si is fast enough where giving it the full berries is just as much fun as it was in the jeep but I'm not breaking the speed limit...as much. This is going to sound really odd but because the civic si is a bit slower, I can savor the sensation of acceleration and that wonderful induction noise for longer before I need to stamp on the brakes. Not to mention that every time you turn the wheel it's like carving a hole in the laws of physics. The trade off of course is ride quality. I would not say it is uncomfortable but you are going to know exactly where the town didn't do such a good job paving the roads.
If you value getting to 60 in under 6 seconds, going on road trips with 3 of your friends or being whisked to your destination surrounded by Egyptian cotton and duck down don't buy this car.
But if you are someone who says "I GET to drive an hour each way to...", who wants a car that will reward you when you push it and encourage you to push it harder while doing 30 mpg highway and being as reliable as a sun dial on a clear summer day then you really need look no further. If you can find one that hasn't been modded up the yin yang and thrashed by...well me.
My '02 Civic LX Sedan is the most reliable car I have had. Got it for free from my father with 145,XXX miles, since my other car broke down. It does FANTASTIC on gas mileage. I can go to eastern Washington and back on less than 1/2 a tank. I have had no needed repairs. I wish I would have gotten this as my first car.
I love the manual. Very responsive. The sound system in it is phenomenal for a factory sound system. Everything is set up for driver convenience.
The only improvements I could think of would be the road noise.
I've had this car longer than any other by far (over 8 years now). It handles predictably, and has held up pretty well over the years. It's not a common model, so people look at it and kind of scratch their heads. The clutch lasted 90,000 miles, and was a little over a $1,000 to replace at an independent shop. Other than that, it's been mostly routine maintenance. Unlike earlier models, this engine has a timing chain instead of a timing belt, which is a great benefit on upkeep and the little 2.0 seems pretty much bulletproof. The shifter is different than most cars, but I'm not sure why other cars don't have it there in the center. Typical Honda, carefully laid out, and it all still works.
It's disappointing that Honda isn't still building a fun hatch like this. This is the most practical layout for me, like a little minivan. I've hauled home a full-sized desk in the back. We've shuttled kids around in it, and the idea of having a huge car or SUV to transport a couple of little kids seems like overkill.
This is the best car I have ever owned, and I have owned several. I bought it due to the gas mileage and reliability and it has held up its end of the deal. I continually get low 40s MPG. I now have 315,000 miles on it and I have only had to replace an alternator (@ 250k). It still has its original clutch! The only thing I have had to do for this car, besides the alternator, is routine maintenance and put gas in it. I still trust it to get me anywhere.... long or short distance. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this car!
large trunk; roomy passenger area; driver's seat arm rest; excellent gas mileage; handles well
Not a single thing can be improved. The car is absolute perfection.
2002 Honda Civic EX 2dr Coupe w/Side Airbags (1.7L 4cyl 4A)
I bought this car with 130k on it and it now has 144k(second car). Now that I gave my sister my car, this will be driven a lot more. I really like the exterior and interior design of the coupe. It's sleek and has a crazy amount of room for a coupe. The only complaint is that it doesn't have an armrest, with the storage compartment.
I have replaced the A/C compressor, oxygen sensor, front rotors and brakes, ball joints, control arms, swaybar links, and battery.
All parts were cheap because it's a Honda. I don't hold the repairs against the car because these are all parts expected to go after 11 years. It drives very nice and is comfortable.
My cousin has the same one, with over 230k.