I have driven my civic for 330,000km and it still drives like the day I bought it. That is a testament to Honda.
The 1996 Civic did have some major design flaws though. The worst is the tendency for the exhaust manifold to crack around 150,000km. I have been through 2 already. Very expensive repair. My 7 year old civic also tends to use up oil quickly so that by the recommended 6000km oil change it can be below the dipstick. No evidence it leaks or "burns oil" though. Top up frequently and use "Engine Restore" to handle this. Seat belts don't retract properly after a very short time. No headbrace in back seat of CX (What were they thinking!) . Manual window cranks hard to turn. CV boots tear easily. Antenna easily seizes and broken. Bottom support in cargo potion of the CX hatchback almost non-existent. Climate control hard to operate.
The good news: none of the dreaded 3000$ transmission repairs that prematurely end the life of many compacts. No real loss in driving quality even after 330,000km.
Total repair/maintaince costs to keep it in top shape for 7 years was about 10,000$CDN for 330,000km at the dealership.
Amount Paid (US$):
1996Model and Options:
Civic CX hatch