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The Closest Thing to a Perfect Used Car: the 2006-11 Honda Civic by Owner since new and until it dies on 10/10/2012. Trim: 2009 Honda Civic EX-L Sedan 5-Spd AT, Owned 3 years.
Pros: Very well built and reliable. I have owned my 2009 Honda Civic EX-L Sedan since new and I have 25K miles so far. The ride and handling is much better than the 1989 Acura Legend it replaced and is also better than the new 2012 Honda Civic (a huge disappointment and several steps back for Honda). The seats are confortable on even the longest drives (longest was 14 hours this past summer) and the heated seats are a treat in the winter. Visibility all around is a strength with minimal blind spots with the larger side mirrors. The cabin air filter has been a lifesaver during allergy season.
Cons: This is my 5th Honda and it always seems like they are 10-15% underpowered. This Civic is no exception. Wish I bought the Si model but I'm the only one among the drivers who can operate a manual transmission so oh well. The fuel economy has never lived up to the EPA estimates and I drive very conservatively. The city fuel economy has been particularly disappointing -- around 20-22 mpg even with the AC off. The factory tires (Bridgestone Turanzas) are treacherous in snow/icy conditions so I purchased a set of Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60s which is one of the best snow tires for the money. The noses of these cars are flexible and after a slow 'bump', I crushed the top of my radiator! Be careful!
Overall review: The 2006-11 Civics are unsurpassed by any other generation of Civic (and their peers) and has the best combination of quality, durability, reliability, safety, and amenities. After trading in my old Acura Legend under the "Cash for Clunkers" program and getting a really good deal on my Civic, I will drive this one until it falls apart. I hope to get past 250K miles at least. The new (2012) Civics are too junky -- Honda cut way too many corners and turned off a lot of loyal Honda owners. This generation Civic is a lot quieter than the new Civic and rides a lot better. The size of this Civic is comparable to my late 80s Accord and can seat four comfortably (five is tough unless the three in the back seat are pretty small/thin). The price for excellent visibility is a lot of glass and on the hottest days (high temps/humidity), the A/C system gets overwhelmed easily and the cabin is rather warm. The omission of AC+heater vents for the back seat passengers is a crime. <cue clenched fist>
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