After selling my Golf TDI 16 months ago, I bought the Astra with the intention of keeping it for just a couple of weeks to get me down to Cornwall and back for my holiday, then resell it once I'd replaced the VW.
Since that time I've clocked up nearly 35,000 miles and it's never let me down, although it had a spate of faults that caused erratic idling and acceleration until I worked out what the cause was.
This car has cost me less to run (including buying 5 tyres, water pump, cam belt, brake pads and oxygen sensor) than a single major service on the Golf would have done, and it's still worth more than I paid for it.
The bodywork has kept amazingly well, and there's no rust even where it's stone chipped.
It averages over 45 mpg and is comfortable enough to undertake journeys of 250+ miles with ease.
As a 1.4 single point injection engine, it has very poor acceleration, but once wound up will cruise happily all day at or well above the legal limit!
Handling on wet roads requires extreme care - it's like the front end is on ice at times.
Part are incredibly cheap and mostly easy to fit, and there's a ready supplier of 2nd hand bits from the breakers yard. E. G a replacement ECU for a tenner.
There's no power steering, ABS, electric windows, trip computer, aircon or any other goodies, but then on a car this age it's just less to go wrong.