I was expecting this car to last for many miles without major problems. It just recently reached 97,000 miles and the automatic transmission was making noise. It turns out the final drive (aka differential) bearings are shot. Since this is deep in the transmission, the transmission essentially will need to be rebuilt at a cost of approximately $2600 if the final drive itself is not damaged. This car was conservatively driven and maintained meticulously and it is really upsetting that it now needs a major repair like this at a relatively moderate mileage. There is no replaceable fluid filter in the transmission and therefore no way to give it proper maintenance short of changing the fluid. I feel this is a major flaw and is a guarantee for failure.
There has been no help from the dealer nor Honda. The dealer and Honda refused to put in any effort to see if there is any remedy for me and gave me the impression they don't care.
The other issue is the front brakes on this car do not last more than 12K miles. There is nothing apparently wrong with the braking system yet the brake pads wear out prematurely.
This would be a great car if it would have lasted longer but it seems I could have done better with a less expensive car.
Based on my experience, this model is highly overrated. I'll never buy another Honda again.
I have since sold the car and have my sights set on a Toyota.
Annoyances but not necessary to fix: brake pedal pops, creaking noise from transmission when clutch pressed (difficult to lubricate), drivers seat has a little play when rocked back and forth, brake pads shift in calipers and "pop" when braking forward after braking reverse.
Major problems: Head gasket replaced at dealer for $950 @ around 115,000 miles. (If you heat goes out while idling and bubbles are coming from your coolant reservoir while idling you need a head gasket).
Other things: Front pads at 90k, oxygen sensor around 90k, fluids, filters tires.
The good: no electrical/accessory problems, drives pretty good and smooth with the manual. Solid and reliable despite head gasket.
Great MPG (38-40 consistently), seems to allow the driver and passengers to sit higher than in other cars, which, in addition to the large windows (something I did not appreciate until driving other cars) make the car comfortable and easy to drive.
I bought this car with 106,000 Miles 3 years ago it now has 206,000 and haven't had one problem yet! I just drove it from Fl to Ma. A 1500 mile trip and got 42 mpg! My wife bought a 2003 civic brand new and has 137,000 miles on hers and hasn't been back to the dealer, EVER! The dumbest thing we did when we bought hers was buy an extended warranty. LOL I will buy these civics for the rest of my life. I am now looking for one for my mom.