What can I not say about this car. It's the best car I have owned. This is coming from a Camry owner two times over. I feel like I stole this car from Honda for $16K. There are better cars out there, but you will have to spend at least twice as much on Price and cost of maintenance.
I "feel" like I own a $20K+ car with the features it has: Side-Curtain airbags, remote locks, power everything, cruise. These are standard on most cars today, but for $16K is unheard of.
The best feature is the gas mileage. It gets 34MPG combined (75/25)% City/Hwy. I have gotten 42MPG going 65MPH steadily from LA to Fresno and back until fill-up. I actually went 450miles before filling up, but I stayed at 65MPH the whole time. If you want excitement, this car can go 100MPH, but mileage drops to 30MPG. On the flip of this great gas mileage is the power, or lack thereof. All is forgotten when I visit the gas pump though. Hey, it beats a hybrid in power, and is close enough to a hybrid in fuel efficiency.
One of the main drawbacks is that this is not a beginner's car, especially the manual version. The lack of torque makes shifting through the gears somewhat difficult. The clutch is easiest clutch in the world: Like a hot knife through butter. However, you must be able to select the right gears at the right speed - Some people don't do this correctly. The Civic's 1.8L engine will make you pay for this.
This car is nimble like a BMW, but not as refined as a BMW. It requires some skill to drive the vehicle well. My friends that owns a 325 and a G35, like the handling, but feel that it's raw. It handles like their cars, but it's not dampened.
Yeah, it would be nice to have a 3 series, C-Class, or G35. However, you have a certain level of expectation with these cars. The price reflects that expectation. With the Civic, it delivers a lot more than you ever expect from it. Same can be said about the Corolla, but the Civic does it with a lot more style at the same price point.
Bottom-line, this is a car with HIGH value. It may not best car in the world. However, it delivers the HIGHEST VALUE for your money. I have to hand it to Honda, when they make a good car, they really nail it.