Young driver advice about the Honda Civic

I'm 19 and currently considering buying an 05-Reg Honda Civic Sport. I like the model, and from my research they are reliable and well built considering they've been looked after. My current approach is to find one which has a mileage which is slightly under average for its age (so around 50-60K on the clock). Would you say this is the correct approach? or would you advise to get one with more miles in to benefit from a lower price because of the longevity of the cars?

Also could you tell me anything about the fuel economy of the 2005 Civics? They're supposed to fetch anywhere between 33-53mpg but I can imagine that this decreases with age. Have you any idea how much this decrease may be?

Finally the most relevant question is: is this the right decision. Insurance isn't an issue (which I can imagine would be the first problem because of my age) but I'm currently looking for a car which looks good, is reliable, will return good mpg for daily commuting and monthly 60 miles trips to university over the next four years with little problems. Not too fussy about little things which may need changing, but I'm switching from a Vauxhall Corsa which commonly has issues and so would like not to have to fork out regularly because of faults.

Asked on 2 December 2012 by Adam93

Answered by Honest John
The best of this age of Civic was the 2.0 litre Type S that had a detuned 160PS chain cam motor from the Type R. Best bought on 15-inch or 16-inch wheels rather than 17s or 18s. 30-35mpg the likely range. The smaller 1.6 and 1.4 engines were belt cam and it's always a worry that the belt will need replacing.
Similar questions
I'm looking to buy a small/medium hatchback, which I need to transport large dog. Which has biggest boot space?
I'm looking at buying a 55-reg Volkswagen Polo 1.4 diesel with 110k miles on the clock. I've noticed that Volkswagen has dropped the 1.4 for a 1.2 and 1.6. Do we know the reason for this? Was it for reliability...
I'm learning to drive and looking at cars. I would prefer a 5 door, but apart from that I don't know much else. I would probably buy a secondhand car. Any ideas on makes of cars which would be best?
Related models
Roomy and practical interior, tidy looks, refined petrol engines, rear seats fold flat to add to usefulness, well built and reliable.

Value my car