Reliable, spartan, and economic
Mechanically, nothing has gone wrong in the first year of ownership.
I purchased this car for economy and reliability a little over a year ago, thanks to the 167,000 miles on the vehicle I had at the time (a '96 Pontiac Grand Am), and the 1.9% financing they were offering on the new '03 Civics. I picked it over a new Toyota Corolla for the sole reason that the local Toyota dealerships didn't have any stick shifts with the right options available.
After driving my shiny new Honda for a week, and being almost scared of the handling of the car, I happened to check the tire pressure, and found that all four tires were at 42psi from the dealership. I dropped them all to the recommended 30psi and received a pretty radical improvement in handling. CHECK YOUR TIRE PRESSURE OFTEN.
Compared to the 1996 4-cylinder Grand Am I traded in, this car is a total DOG, performance wise. It'll get you around and do what you need to do, but it won't excite you, either.
Little details: The driver's floor mat is intended to be held in place by little hooks that screw into the floor. They came loose within weeks of purchase, and have at this point become ridiculous. They don't stay in place, and your floor mat rides up to your clutch pedal in no time flat. Be prepared to constantly tuck it down where it belongs.
Little details #2: This car is the most badly-sealed vehicle I've ever owned... last winter I scraped the INSIDE of the windows as much as I did the outside. If it fogs up on the outside, it'll fog up on the inside.
With all that said, the car now has 25,500 miles on it, and the only repair of any kind that I've had to do was to patch the right rear tire when it picked up a screw and started leaking.
It has lived up to expectations, but at the same time has me missing the Grand Am. We'll talk again after I've had it FOUR years. :)
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 6th September, 2004