I purchased my Civic with it's small 127HP 1.7L for my excessive commuting and the need for a gas economy car. After installing a cold-air intake, strut tower brace, stage 1 clutch, lightweight racing flywheel, iridium plugs, and gator belts it flies like a rocket and has an improved gas economy of 30CTY/43HWY. Although the cabin noise is very loud, it is well worth the 400-500 miles per $24 tank of gas. Plus, besides the mods I have only had to change fluids in this car and the periodic check over under the hood. The only exception was an O2 sensor. It is extremely LOW maintenance. Overall, it's modern styling and economy are the best I have experienced between Honda/Acura over the years.
I enjoy that this vehicle can be easily modified with performance parts under the hood. Gas economy too!!!! 40+ MPG is really hard to beat. I researched many newer compact cars that offer a lot less for more money. The 04-05 Civic EX is where you are going to get the most bang for your buck!
Cabin noise is very loud compared to most cars. Especially on the highway. It is like the difference of when you ride on one of those loud commuter planes with propellers (Civic) vs. a large passenger jet (most other cars). A consumer fix might be to install dynamat on the floors and inside the hood
Before buying my 04 Honda ex I owned a 2002 Mazda Protege. The Mazda was much funner to drive, faster, sporty and gas mileage wasn't that different. This Honda is gutless I cant believe how slow it is. I hate the automatic downshift while breaking down hills. There are so many rattles in this car I don't know where to start. Road noise is really loud, same with the engine sounds like its working to hard. I think this is a good commuter car but not much past that. It looks pretty good but the build quality is not up to par for what a Honda should be. I would rate value to cost at a 5-6 with 10 being greatest value.
Road noise, engine noise, more power, fix the rattles.
We bought my civic a year used from friends who were moving on to a Prius. It was a great first car, everything just worked. I never had a problem outside of a flat tire. I only filled it up once or twice a month, and with its 12 gallon tank that was really amazing. It has a really fun ride and did a great job getting me through high school. My sister is now driving it, and there still is yet to be a mechanical issue!
Steering Wheel- It sounds weird, but I have never found a car with a more comfortable steering wheel. Also for an economy car the sound system is remarkable.
Road noise can be loud when you get on the highway, though it is far from the worst you'll find.
Bought the car used, only 16k...Had the gas tank filled up twice, and both times I averaged 49.6 mpg. It probably would have worse gas mileage if driven harder, but I cannot complain about what I get (is a 5 speed one). It would be nice if would have a little more oomph, but...then no mileage. Nice piece of machinery and technology, I enjoy getting almost 600 miles per tank, happy with the residual value down the road...
Nice and simple interior, slightly more pad than a regular civic, safety features, and NO TIMING belt.
What you should know. First the car is a blast to drive. I have driven RSXs, Mazda 3s, and Corollas. The SI is my favorite to drive. It handles well and the rally shifter helps make you feel like you are in control on your car. The SI transmission is touchy so you have to master it but when you do driving it becomes even better. Acceleration is moderate, although when you hit about 40mph then the car goes. It's roomy for a small car, people sit back there and always tell me how comfy and how much leg space is back there. Plus the seats in the back come down for when you want to transport a lot of your junk. And trust me I have done that a lot. All in all a great car almost about to hit 60000.