The list of things that have gone wrong may put you off, but I can honestly say this car has never let me down. A lot of the problems I have had are due to neglect by previous owners.
Even though it's 11 years old now, it still drives like a new car and is very comfortable. Interior is just starting to show signs of wear on the seat edges where you rub against them to get in and out. The body is just starting to fail and is in need of tidying up on the rear wheel arches and a spot of rust on the hatch. The paint comes up nice with a T-Cut and wax.
Fuel economy is around 30 mpg around town and 45 mpg on a run. Although I do have mine regularly to the garage to check the emissions and be serviced, which helps.
Servicing and parts are extremly cheap and easy to obtain both new and second hand. Working on the car yourself is very easy too with easy access to most components. No strange tools needed either.
Just gone through an M.O.T. with only £100 spent on a small patch of welding, rear wheel bearings and front to rear copper brake pipes.
For a 1.6, the performance is quite good, although nowhere near the same as my previous car! (SRi 130).
A nice feature of Cavaliers is the central locking, which also locks the petrol cap and incorporates a dead locking system.
The boot space is brilliant and easily takes a pram and the weekly shopping.
The only thing I wished my car had is Power Steering and Electric Windows.
I'm a very happy chappy with my Cav and would recommend them to anyone, just be careful of neglected examples. These cars have the potential to run forever with the proper care.