Even though I swore never again would I spend $$$$ on a "nice" winter car only to see it decay before my very eyes at a VERY rapid rate, I decided to try it out again, but this time with a car I could trust. After my previous beater got tired of getting beaten to death (ie. died), I received a call about a 1998 Civic EX (fully loaded) that had just gotten traded in for a newer one.
I made sure the car was checked over 100% by our trusted Honda master mechanic family friend (who worked at the same dealership, thankfully). The car received extremely high marks on everything right down to the individual cylinder compression, and whatever was slightly under perfection was promptly replaced at the dealer's cost (ie. no change to original asking price).
Unfortunately that means I'll actually have to start paying attention to stuff like oil changes and where/how I park in snowy conditions (ie. can't just plow into a snow bank like I used to with the '85) and I can't just throw dirty old junk into the interior like I used to.
But the car does scoot nicely, and so far has thrown up tankfuls of 30+ mpg consumption without even trying. If I try a little harder to keep speeds sedate, I may see as high as the 38 mpg my decomposing '85 was capable of extracting.
According to my mechanic friend, this car is good for another problem-free decade. I hope so... with the 7-year/160000 mile warranty that may just leave with enough spare cash for a 1st gen F-body? (shhhh, don't let my wife hear us talk about that!)