You've been turned off by Honda ever since owning an '83 Civic? They have improved them just a bit since then. I had a '79 Civic, and I had the same cold weather issues with mine. I walked the two miles to school on the coldest days! I even drove around with the choke lever pulled out at one point as it would stall right out if I pushed it in. I didn't give up on Honda though. Once they went to fuel injection in cars, Honda's were very reliable and they last forever. Don't base your entire opinion of a car company on 30 year old technology.
Your friend was lucky with their Chevette too. Those were the sorriest excuse of a car in those days.
I am aware that Honda has improved, but the memory just stuck with me. I haven't been living in a cave for twenty years. I can't help but be turned off by Honda. I owned it for University, and walking wasn't on option, especially in -35 Canada winter weather. We put my buddy's Chevette through hell, and it just kept on going. I would have traded my Civic for it in a heartbeat. No manual choke, or HondaMatic in the Chevette. Somewhat primitive, but far simpler, and much tougher.
Today's Hondas are overpriced. I loved my next car, which was a 98 Suzuki Swift/Chevrolet Metro. A very solid little car. Would have bought another, but GM and Suzuki replaced it with the Daewoo Aveo. I'm a Toyota guy now. I like my Toyota Echo, and would take a Yaris or Corolla if I could. No overpriced and overrated Fit or Civic for me.
Had a 1976 Honda Civic, 5 speed, in Wisconsin, drove the wheels off of it in the winter of 1978-'79, one of the worst winters for snow fall in WI. in 30+ years! Got me to work, 90 miles away without a single problem. Put a total of 350,000 miles on it. Still mechanically sound, but the body didn't hold up in the salt. A family member put the engine in his '75 Civic.
Have had an '89 Toyota Corolla Wagon, also a good runner, but a real "rust bucket" too.
Bought a 1992 Honda Accord Wagon 10 years ago, and love this little car. Wish Honda hadn't discontinued the Accord Wagon. Paid $1,200 for it. It still runs great. I can maintain and do most repairs myself. Very weekend mechanic friendly (I am a woman). It doesn't owe me a nickel and has made me a forever Honda person! Have had it out of the winter weather since 2006, but am returning to WI., so don't want to expose it to the winter salt. Hope to get a second generation Odyssey, so I can continue to maintain and repair it myself, but they are hard to find with less than 150,000 miles on them. Have had GM, Ford and VW makes over the years, but won't go back! It's HONDA from now on!