Bought one new in ’04, a 5-speed manual. It needed to be a 6-speed. 5th gear on the highway was … a lot. Handled and steered much nicer than the similar-era CR-V in my opinion. Never got used to the faraway windshield that blocked stoplights from view, the way the body creaked against the doors, or the way the wind tossed it around on the highway. When a dealer gave us $14K on trade a year or so later we were thrilled.
Best of luck with your project!