The wife and I bought a 2004 civic new, and love it. Fit and finish are excellent. Fuel economy is great I have averaged 37mpg (better than window sticker). I have put 58k on it in 18 months and only had to change the oil and buy a set of tires. This is the best car for the money. We bought it new for around 16K. Reliable and comfortable, and safe to, I was in two accidents and both times walked away fine (not fender benders were talking serous crumple zone work-6K in damage). The civic is a great commuter car.
Fun to drive, manual Trans is smooth, gauges are easy to read, sound system is good, and sunroof is nice. The styling is sporty and fresh.
Only improvement would be less road noise, and less engine noise. Add day time running lights. Audio controls on steering wheel, leather steering wheel, more power .Add a 2.4L option. Also needs a 6th gear in manual gear box