This was a nicely-equipped car for the day and the price, with double-wishbone suspension, a three-speed automatic transmission and Honda's famous high-revving in-line four cylinder engine. The car was eager, roomy (I'm 6' 3") and very light on its feet. I didn't check-off a lot of option boxes; the car had air conditioning, an AM/FM radio, tilt wheel, power steering and brakes and not much else. But the car did exactly what the brochure said it would do, which was to provide reliable, durable and low-cost transportation. The sophisticated engineering was one hell of a bonus. The Japanese are fond of saying age reveals essence, and that holds true for my Civic. Twenty years later, the drive train has functioned perfectly and the car remains as reliable as sunrise. But the paint oxidized way too soon, and curious problems with the signal and wiper stalks and crank window assembly were minor but expensive fixes. But in the end, there's no doubt I'd buy it again.
This is the best car I've ever owned and first Honda! Bought it on a whim in 1996 and still own it today. The only mechanical work I've had done is general maintenance. The radiator and transmission both lasted over 200K miles. wow! I have about 240K miles on it now and expect to drive it another 240K at least. Just keep up with regular maintenance and it will pay you back many times over. Great fuel efficiency too. Gets 35 mpg in town and has gotten well over 40 mpg highway. I've driven this car in high elevations, coastal areas, snow, rain, you name it. It's always held its own with traction. Never gotten stuck. Great little car. If I could say one thing that I don't like about this car is that the front seats are very uncomfortable on road trips.
I bought my 96 civic DX 5M when I was 19 with 130,xxx miles, it was the first car I bought and I am now 26 and the car is just about to role over to 200,000, it is still my daily driver, all in all its been the best investment Ive made, now there are a lot of little things that have gone wrong with the car over the years but nothing catastrophic (nothing over $500) and considering that I have ran the s*#t out of it ie driving fast,hard accelerations, burnouts, E-brake turns, just having fun, it has held up and still gets great mileage. I have drove it to Michigan twice and both time clocked my mileage and averaged 40-41MPG with two people and the car fully loaded for a camping trip.
I bought my '96 Civic EX in '04 with 60k miles on it, and have been driving it ever since. It now has 160k miles and they have been really hard miles. I will admit that I was young when I bought it and did not take care of this car the way I should have. 10k miles between oil changes, and really no regular maintenance. I have horses and I use this little car like a truck. It has never let me down. Besides tires, the only things I have had to replace on it are tie rods, belts and a starter. I really can't believe I didn't kill this car!
This was my first car in high school, and I loved it. I now drive a 2001 Acura CL, which has a LOT more cool features than the Civic; however, I often find myself missing the Civic. It did not have any modern features like power locks, power windows, or a CD player. However, the car ran unbelievably well considering it was 15 years old and had about 220,000 miles when we sold it! If I did not switch to my sister's Acura when she bought a company car, I would probably still be driving the Civic today. Also the MPGs on this car are phenomenal! If you accelerate conservatively you can get 35-40 MPG easily.
Fantastic car for a first-time driver
Great MPGs- for someone on a small budget, this car gets you where you need to go for less money
Simple engine design, which leads to very few mechanical/ technical problems if properly maintained
Bare-bones interior- when I drove it in high school and college, I especially liked not having to worry about the possibility of ruining the car by getting it dirty
Fold-down rear seat- this car has a surprisingly large amount of storage space, and is great for a single person traveling to and from college (The Acura I now use does not have a fold-down rear seat, which makes packing for college more difficult)
Not much horsepower- If you are looking for a fast car, this is not what you want. This Civic has basically a sewing machine for a motor- I didn't mind because the lack of horsepower is more than made up for in MPGs.