This car was mostly the result of an impulse buy. When I walked into the dealer, I originally wanted to purchase a Fit, as in my opinion it was much more versatile and easier to park. After a test drive, I decided that being the smallest car in the Honda lineup, it really wouldn't be as safe as a larger model (according to my mom, who tagged along with me to the dealer).
That's when I started looking at the Civic. I came back a few days later and test drove a brand-new, just-shipped 2008 model EX with leather interior and navigation.
Overall my first impressions were positive. The car feels incredibly smooth, the navigation system is easy to operate once you get the hang of how to use it, and the acceleration is modest at best, but perfect for the Civic's "ecobox" purpose. Frankly, the dealer was lucky that I didn't steal the car off the lot.
The dealer was pretty strict on price, but didn't waste my time selling me options or gimmicks I didn't need. At the same time he did pressure me somewhat into buying the car immediately, even when I told him I needed a few more days to comparison shop. At the end of it all, I decided they had the best price and took the keys (and more importantly, the car) home.
IMPORTANT: If you ever buy a car, bring a copy of the vehicle's actual MSRP from an unbiased source. I printed out and brought in a copy of the Civic's retail value from Edmunds website's "True Market Value", and must have saved at least a couple thousand off sticker since he was asking more than the market value. If you don't have facts like this, the dealer has the opportunity to take advantage of you and jack up the price by thousands since you don't have any actual proof of what the car is really worth.
Overall, the quality of the car was good, but with one problem so far. I noticed was a few small interior rattles, especially at low speed on rough roads. This had me worried about the car's future durability. I drove it a few more hundred miles and the rattles curiously disappeared. The car now runs as smooth as cream (when heard from the interior anyway).
I really like the factory leather interior (now for 2008). The seat heaters really work well on a cold day, and the leather feels very soft and high-quality. I've ridden in my mom's Lexus IS250, and this Civic's interior felt just as plush.
The best part for me is the navigation system. I have somewhat poor directional sense and can't find my way out of an empty room. The factory navi has helped me out of a lot of spots, where I would otherwise have to fuss with a map or hound strangers for directions to God knows where.
I've passed the 600 mile break in point, and the car now gets about 34 mpg... with a lot of highway driving no less. I've had 2 fill-ups in the month I've owned the car so far. Although I expected more initially, I have a feeling fuel economy will improve after the first few thousand miles are done and the engine is fully broken in.
The performance is better than I thought, but like I said it's modest at best. My biggest problem is merging or accelerating to freeway speeds. I'm a cautious driver so I don't floor it like most people in my area going onto the freeway. So I get tailgated... a lot (or it's probably also haters jealous of my new car, heehee).
I intend to be the ONLY driver of this car until the engine falls onto the ground, so I'm not overly worried about resale value. That said, some mods are definitely in order to bring out performance that will at least allow this car to keep up with traffic. None that will void my extended warranty, of course.