Like any older diesel, you need to be sure that a Civic oil-burner has been well maintained. The Accord-based unit really does fly along and you will see 55-60mpg at a steady 70mph in 6th gear, although urban fuel economy is not that great. There’s a chance you will have issues with the turbo or the odd injector, but while rival diesels often wipe out any fuel savings with a repair bill, the Civic is one of the better ones.
The gearboxes and clutches are fine, but we’ve heard that the clutch on the 2.2 model lets go if it’s not driven well. Early examples could have had a few minor faults – creaking plastics, seized fuel filler caps and minor electrical glitches – sorted under warranty, but the Civic doesn’t suffer the often catastrophic reliability issues of its rivals.