Check with Carmax. They don’t sell junk. It will have been completely checked out and serviced and comes with a warranty.
Best advice here was to take it to a mechanic if you don’t feel comfortable doing an inspection yourself. Personally I have a '97 Civic (so 6th generation) owned from new and still used as a daily driver. The generations are useful to know in terms of when redesigns occurred. The 6th went from 96-2000, so when I shop for used parts any one of those years are in play. Not sure if the generation thing is more to do with Japanese cars. Anyway, my experience with my car doesn’t really translate to your situation. Have someone go over it and as someone said make sure to keep up with the change schedule on the timing belt. The car you are looking at has a so-called “interference” engine where the valves and pistons occupy the same space at different times. If the belt breaks you will be looking at a minimum of an engine rebuild.
Best advice. Hands down.
Always get a used car inspected by a mechanic. Always. Many shops offer a pre-purchase inspection that will let you know most everything that needs to be done to a car, and then you can judge if that specific car is the one for you. Purchasing a used car is a gamble anyway, a pre-purchase inspection helps tip the odds in your favor a bit.
As others have said, the best advice is to have any used car you’re thinking of buying inspected by a good independent mechanic - always do this. This might become even more important as cars get older as they will be much more affected by the nature of their previous usage, service history, corrosion, and in how far along they are toward wearing out.
If it doesn’t come with trustworthy documentation of the last timing belt change, factor in the cost of that (and a water pump at the same time).
You might consider learning how to pre-inspect a car yourself, rejecting anything with obvious or suspected problems and taking only those that seem really good in for an inspection - this may cost an hour’s labor, but can save your thousands, it’s likely that only a small percentage of those remaining on the road will be worthy of consideration, so be prepared to reject many and have patience. The annual (print) edition of Consumers Reports car guide used to contain comprehensive self-check suggestions, and this information is available on the net.
You might consider the next generation of Civic. My understanding is it contained significant safety improvements over the 7th gen. and it has a timing chain - we purchased a 2006 new and at ~ 150kmi it’s going strong - unscheduled maintenance has been only an engine temp. sensor, a few light bulbs.
The generation label actually does make a difference. Vehicles of the same generation are of the same design and components. There might be some minor differences from different years in the same generation and sometimes they have a mid-cycle refresh…but they are still the same basic design. You see major differences between generations.
My 2005 Toyota 4runner had a front brake caliper design flaw. This design flaw only showed up in 4th gen 4runners.
Also if you ever joined a forum for your specific vehicle they are usually broken down by the Generation.
Ok, but the actual year is more specific. I have a 4th, 5th and 7th generation Camry, but would anyone not familiar with a particular car know what year they are?
Why would they want to? I’m fairly familiar with Toyota’s SUV’s so I do know the different generations and years. I’m not that familiar with Ford’s SUV’s and have no need to know.
No, but the question was directed at people who had bought a 7th gen Civic. Odds are if you don’t both own a Civic and know what generation it is, you lack sufficient specific knowledge about the car OP was looking at to answer anyway.
Heck, I can’t follow the generations of Corvettes or Mustangs, and I have owned three different generations of Mustangs. But I do desire a second or third generation T-Bird!