This is my first car and I could not ask for any better.
It feels solid and well built, much like a more expensive model.
Small size and short turning radius makes for easy parking and emergency maneuvering.
Gas mileage is phenomenal; sometimes as much as 38 Miles Per Gallon. Average around 32.
Very practical. Surprisingly large trunk and rear seat for a car of its size.
Handling is almost BMW-esque. I drive frequently on winding roads and steep hills, and it turns corners quite smoothly, but the standard tires squeal easily during hard cornering.
Standard 1.7 Liter 4 Cylinder with Automatic transmission feels very lively around town, but requires a heavier throttle foot at freeway speeds and on steep hills. This car won't win the Le Mans, but it has plenty of get-up-and-go for nearly any driving circumstance, given that you are used to driving small 4 cylinder engines.
Automatic transmission shifts fairly smoothly, but feels odd at first and takes getting used to. It downshifts fairly promptly for passing, unlike most automatics in 4 cylinder economy cars. Unfortunately, It cannot be shifted into first gear. It only has shift positions for D3 (Locks out 4th gear), and 2nd. A disadvantage when driving on steep downgrades.
As in all recent Civics, the seats are very firm. They provide good support, but can get tiring on long road trips.
Controls and displays; generally clear and logical. The air conditioner is adequate, but could be better. Front and rear defoggers work efficiently. Low fuel warning light does not come on until the last gallon or so.
Engine noise is low to moderate and is louder during cold weather or hard acceleration.
Road feel is excellent and the ride is firm, but not overly so.
Steering wheel feels somewhat loose, but steering is crisp and responsive regardless.
A practical, affordable, reliable, and exciting car, if such a combination ever existed. This car is a joy to drive and is inexpensive to buy and maintain.
As a paycheck-to-paycheck college student, I find that this car meets all my transportation needs and is practical and low maintenance. A fun and sensible alternative to a sports car or SUV. Ideal for the student, new driver, senior, commuter, single, or childless couple seeking reliable and inexpensive transportation with driving fun, and low ecological impact.
I have driven this car in urban rush hour traffic, on winding mountain roads and everywhere in between at all times of day in all weather conditions. The car drives well no matter where you are.
I plan to own this car for as long as I am financially capable of keeping it running. When I do replace it, which won't be anytime soon, the replacement will most definitely be another Honda.