The clutch cable was stretched when I bought the car, but was only GBP£8 to fix DIY though.
Seized water pump threw the cambelt off at 98,000 miles. It needed a replacement engine as two pistons were smashed by the valves.
Anti-roll bar bush needed replacing at 100,000 miles (nearside wheel).
Wishbone came apart (nut fell off!) on the nearside, CV boot joint end, at 103,000 miles. This was fixed at the roadside, just about, to get me home.
The strut on that same side also went before I sold the car for spares or repairs. It banged heavily when driving over uneven roads, but soldiered on.
Typically for an Astra, the bulbs on the heater controls (all of them) had gone and are a pain to get to sometimes. I just left them.
Despite the above seemingly unending faults, this car really did provide excellent value for money, and economy.
It covered over 10,000 miles inside three months - over country lanes, off road (!), motorway and around town. It never let me down on the road bar once, and was soon fixed again for the cost of one 19mm nut.
Very good workhorse, with a generally reliable, start-first-time engine which covers motorway miles easily at speed and still returns well over 110 miles for every GBP£10 of petrol (about 12 litres).
It does, however, struggle uphill to the extreme. I had to drop into 2nd gear for simple uphill stretches of motorway sometimes! Maybe the single-point injection needed re-jetting?
Has very decent cabin space and intuitive layout. Even the three door hatch model has decent room for four adults and a child, with a roomy boot capable of holding a large dog.
Didn't seem to have any problems with rusting, except small patches around the wheel arches where there were vandalism scratches. Even these took ages for rust to set in.
Handled very well and provided ample pickup from the lights - albeit noisily.
All around a decent reliable workhorse, but must be kept serviced to remain in roadworthy condition.
Keep an eye on those wishbones, struts and anti-roll bar bushes!
I would definitely own another one of these - for the outlay of a second hand Astra (about GBP£400) you get a very hardy, economical, almost bullet proof family runaround and/or workhorse.
If and when things do go wrong, they're inevitably cheap and simple to fix. You can't ask more than that for a 12 year old car.