I purchase this car new based on the reliability and gas mileage reports and have not been disappointed in the least. In the 6+ years that I have owned it I have put on 144,000 miles, mostly commuting (86 miles round trip) to and from work. I regularly get 43-45 mpg. Granted, I am gas mileage conscious and try not to drive over 60 mph, avoid "jack rabbit" starts and constant braking and maintain the tires a little over-inflated. All I have spent on this car in the 6+ years I have owned it, besides gas and regular oil changes, has been to replace the front brakes and, at 125,000 miles, replacing the original Bridgestone tires (which provided good gas mileage but were mediocre in the snow).
Reliability, reliability, reliability, Gas mileage, gas mileage. The body style of the 2004 model is similar to the BMW of the same year which I could not afford. The fold-down rear seats have come in handy on many occasions to transport things like 8' lumber and other items.
The seat backs are a little small. the previous car I owned (Mazda 626) had seats which just "wrapped around" you. That was the one thing I missed when I started driving the Civic.