I didn't do a dealer swap, simply because the only 2 cars in the state that I could find that matched what I wanted were 500 miles away. I can't imagine any dealer willing to do a swap with another dealer so far away, because they'd have to transport/drive their car there, transport/drive your car back, and essentially pay an employee a day's wage to do that, all while not being able to make anything extra off the effort (A dealer swap should not cost extra, as some dealers might have you believe). Instead, I used some frequent flyer miles for a one-way flight to the dealer, bought the car there myself, and drove it home.
I did do a dealer swap on my last car. It didn't cost anything extra, just some extra miles on the odo when my local dealer sent someone to bring the car back. Dealers will commonly do swaps with other dealers within a more reasonable radius. They rather get the car for you and have you buy from them, than for you to find the car yourself at the other dealer and buy it from that other dealer.
If you are looking at dealers in another state, there might be other considerations, such as out of state licensing, emissions compliance (e.g. Bringing a car into California), etc. that could add to your cost. You'll have to judge whether it's worth the effort.
When you say that the only local Sport HB that you found is overpriced, do you mean the advertised price? If so, I wouldn't worry about it because it's negotiable. In my experience, about 1 in 10 Civics is a manual, and dealers can have a hard time moving them, which is leverage for you during negotiations. For example, you can say that you're undecided between an auto and manual, so if they can give you a good deal on the manual, you'd take it off their hands. In my case, I tracked the car that I wanted and realized that it sat at the dealer for 6 months and had only 1 test drive. A car sitting on the lot is a car not making money. If I had walked away, the dealer might not get another sniff.
Yes, I bought my 2018 Civic LX HB manual new (In July 2018) for under $21000 out the door ($18700 for the car + approx. $2000 tax/lic/reg). I could have done better but the dealer realized that I came a long way and had a very specific configuration in mind so I wasn't likely to walk away. So the lesson is, don't show your hand or let the dealer know that you want the car.
One other thing: Call around and see if any of your local dealers take factory orders. Ones that do can get you the exact car you want, but may take a couple of months. Again, it shouldn't cost more to do a factory order because your order would just be part of their regularly batch of orders. In fact, such an order would have a guaranteed buyer already lined up. Ask them about APEX to let them know you've done your research:
(I can't post links, but Google "honda ordering system" and look for a 2014 article from autonews)
Last edited by wwmisc; 09-12-2019 at 01:30 PM.
Reason: Additional info