Cheres guys, you are trying to influence me towards the 1.8 with success I would say. I just have to remember that the wife will be driving it every now and then, the 138 bhp of the 1.8 might be too much for her, but the 80 bhp of the 1.4dsi will be definitely too less for me, so the 98bhp of the 1.4 ivtec would be a perfect compromise...
Regarding visibility: I don't think parking is an issue, but what about take over, changing lanes?
What about reliability? Any typical issues?
What should I look out for on/in the car when the right one comes up?
Trust me 138 bhp isn't a lot. The Torque is low, so you don't get the power until the revs kick in a bit. Have your missus test drive a 1.8 and you'll see that it's manageable. When I first drove it, I thought it felt slow, like the sensation of speed was decreased. Not until you go pass around 3K revs does it really start to pull and move. Try it, it's really fun!
Changing Lanes isn't too bad, the wing mirrors are really big, and the right hand wing mirror has an extra convex section, that helps with overtaking.
Reliability with Jap cars isn't really too much of an issue, especially the 1.8's. They don't really have the clutch issues of the 2.2 diesels.
Typical Issues include A/C Relay, so I'd check the A/C works as the relay was a big problem for a lot of cars, including mine. Other than that, service history is probably the other big thing. Honda's are generally bulletproof.
The other thing you should look out for is the Rusty Roof around the top of the windscreen, links are below:
Pottsy has a link to what you should look for also:
Other than that, a test drive to see it's comfortable is the only other thing.
Good luck with finding your new car!