I test drove a 2008 model before the 2009, and the feel and acceleration is much smoother and noticeably more responsive in the 2009 vs. 2008. I did not want to rate reliability, as I have only had the car for a couple weeks now. But for the two weeks I will just say 10. The Civic Hybrid is rated better in crash test than the Prius, and gets comparable fuel economy. I truly believe the Honda Civic Hybrid is a far better value than any other small or mid-sized hybrid vehicle on the market.
It's safe! Gas mileage is excellent. The built-in USB cable/connector in the middle armrest compartment is great! You can charge many devices from it, it keeps iPods out of the way and hidden from thieves. The car is loaded with features which you often expect in "luxury" class vehicle
I get the impression that electric motor is often doing less than it is capable when assisting from a dead stop. Perhaps increasing power output to the electric motor when getting the vehicle moving from a dead stop would help. However, this will likely require a larger battery.