Well, it's been 5 years since I purchased this car used, with 32k on the clock. It now has 145k on it, and I'm expecting to own it another 3 years and 60k. So that right there should tell you something about it. This gen of Civic is, quite simply put, the ideal commuter and city car. The engine is reasonably smooth and peppy. Very low road noise with Goodyear Affinity Triple-treads. Steering is nicely weighted for city driving. Ride quality is sportier than it's American counterparts, and build quailty is far and above the class leader. 5 adults will fit if needed. Sunroof and power gizmos abound. Repairs are infrequent and cheap. 36 highway, 30 city. How can you go wrong?
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).
I've owned six cars in my life: two Chryslers, one Chevrolet, two Volkswagens, and this is my second Honda Civic. My first Civic, a 1996, made me a Honda fan for life. I'm actually embarrassed for having bought into the "German engineering" hype, because neither of my VWs was that great of a car, and as for the Chev and Chryslers, well... we all make mistakes. My wife and I have two other vehicles, but because my Civic (past and present) has comfortable front seats, lots of room for the kids, tons of trunk space, a decent stereo, phenomenal fuel economy and bulletproof reliability, we always seem to take it everywhere. The 1.7L VTEC engine is a perfect blend of economy and performance.
This model is a good used choice car for those looking for basic transportation. Replacement parts availability is excellent. Heads-up - this car has a timing belt which requires replacement at 105,000 miles (not a chain). I would only buy a used civic that has less then 55,000 miles. Back in 2004 my 80 year old mother needed a new car and demanded the CIVIC with manual windows so I got her a brand new 2004 VIP. The car cost $15,000 OTD with no trade-in. It is a very basic car but that's what she wanted. Since then she has put only 12,000 miles on it and the only time it was in the shop was for the airbag recall. It runs and drives like new after 11 years. This car feels quite "tinny" although it's fit and finish are flawless. The designers clearly focused on interior room, fuel efficiency, reliability and the driver's outward visibility. The designers sacrificed suspension, breaking, acceleration, cornering/steering, cabin soundproofing and the overall fun driving experience. The rear suspension, in particular, has been crammed into a small space to make the trunk bigger, yielding an oddly bouncy ride. The rear brakes are drum which make for very poor stopping capability and the single overhead cam engine is quite pathetic. That said, it's amazingly reliable, economical, well assembled, easy to drive with excellent outward visibility and boring - which is, apparently, what must drivers demand judging from this car's popularity.
I bought this car in 2006 with 30,000 miles on it. I did not get a carfax and after I bought it, I found out that it had been in a front ender. I now have over 140,000 miles on it, and it has been through ONE set of brakes, and TWO sets of tires. Nothing else, ever. I have not been very kind to this car. I forget to get oil changes, and I have wrecked it six times. You cannot kill this car if you tried. I am finally buying a new car for better looks, but I am passing this car on to another family member who can easily get another 100,000 miles out of it. BEST CAR EVER!